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January 30, 2009


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I think for #2 it should be "check and other aggregator sites." They pull from both airline sites and online travel agents (expedia, orbitz,etc) and allow you to do #1 as well.

If you are planning ahead, you can set up email alerts to get the best deal.

For rental cars, if you select the lowest model, many times you can get upgraded for free as these models run out faster.

Pretty good. I am not sure about AAA though: I have AAA, but I found sometimes better hotel deals can be found without it. I find their prices somewhat expensive.

A couple of things I'd like to add about cruising:
1) If you need to stay in a hotel before/after the cruise, don't just take deals offered by your travel agent or the cruise line as a package. I found the hotels reserved by the cruise line or a travel agent in the US are often on the expensive side. You can usually find a better deal on the internet. Same with airfare: while the cruise line often has good price, their connections aren't always convenient. More often than not you can find the same airfare deals if you use the web. It may not always be the case, so investigate.

This was the case with my recent transatlantic cruise (Rome-San Juan): while an agent offered good deals on airfare, the flight San Juan-NY wasn't convenient and as we planned to stay in Rome for two days, if we were to buy the airfare, we had to buy the hotel as a package - over 200 euro a night. Instead, we bought only the cruise but got airfare and hotel ourselves. Our hotel was 80 euro for a single room and around 100 euro for a double. We managed to find better airlines and for better price too ($400 per person NYC-Rome; $140 per person San Juan-NYC).

2) Twice a year there are good deals on transatlantic cruises. In March from Europe to the US and in November-December from the US to Europe. This is when the cruise lines are "repositioning" their ships i.e. moving a ship that was cruising in Europe to the US or vice-versa.

Sometimes it pays reserving in advance, sometimes it doesn't. With this cruise we reserved in March for the following December. The cheapest price was $799 per person (inside cabin, double occupancy). Out of curiosity I checked the prices in October. The same room was $399 per person. But later on in December as it got close, the price jumped to $1000. At any rate, it's difficult to predict and if you wait you may save on a cruise but lose on the airfare.

I second your thought regarding above regarding airports. It's amazing the differences in price that airports charge to the same destination. I'm lucking in that I have access to about 4 major airports that are within about an hour and a half from me. I can usually save about $100 - $200 per ticket searching all four airports

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