Don’t Spend $1,000 Too Much On Your Next Vacation

Hopefully you aren’t one of those people that has come to rely on one or two travel sites for all your travel planning needs. If you are, it might be costing you a lot of money, especially when it comes to booking vacation packages.

In this particular investigation, we take a close look at the the differences in prices for Caribbean vacation packages at some of the more popular travel sites on the internet. The differences will shock you.

This should be mandatory reading for anyone planning a vacation or a honeymoon.

Introduction

In our analysis we examined the differences in booking a vacation package (airfare +hotel) to the Caribbean – Barbados to be specific.  We checked the vacation package prices to three different resorts in Barbados at 5 different popular travel websites.

The Sites We Researched:

www.expedia.com

www.travelocity.com

www.orbitz.com

www.bookit.com

www.cheapcaribbean.com

This selection of sites is representative of the market in general. We included the big 3, a relatively new online travel agency – Bookit, and a popular specialty or niche travel agency – Cheap Caribbean.

Package Details:

This rates shown in this example are vacation package rates for 2 adults traveling from Atlanta (ATL) to Barbados (BGI) for the week of May 2nd to May 9th (8 days, 7 nights). We compare the package rates offered by the travel agencies listed above for 3 different destinations in Barbados: Hilton Barbados, The Crane Resort, Almond Beach Club & Spa (all inclusive).

Results

The first thing to note is that at the time of this research, the price of just the airfare to Barbados was $605 per person, or a total of $1210 for the trip. This rate was the same across all sites. All prices shown below are based on airfare for two adults and a 7 night stay in Barbados.

Hilton Barbados:

Cheap Caribbean $2,757

Travelocity – $2,939

Orbitz – $3,432

Priceline – $3,527 (Priceline required an overnight stay on the return)

Expedia -$3,532

BookIt – Hotel not available on BookIt.

Crane Resort:

BookIt – $1,894

Travelocity – $2,241

Expedia – $2,260

Orbitz – $2,584

Cheap Caribbean – $3,295

Priceline – Hotel not available on Priceline

Almond Beach Club & Spa (all inclusive)

Priceline – $2,711 (Priceline required an overnight stay on the return)

BookIt – $3,297

Orbitz – $3,376

Travelocity – $3,512

Expedia – $3,552

Cheap Caribbean – $3,725

Conclusion

As we alluded to in the intro, some of these results are quite surprising, if not staggering. The variance between the highest and lowest prices were $400, $775, and $1000. What is even more interesting is that there was really no consistency to the results. Cheap Caribbean had the lowest price to the Hilton Barbados by almost $200, but had by far the worst price to the other two hotels. Priceline had the cheapest price to Almond Beach Club & Spa by almost $600, but was out-priced by more than that amount at the Crane Resort. Relative newcomer, BookIt was best and second best price at the two hotels for which they had prices.

What is very clear from this is that you cannot count on any one site to deliver the best price, and that shopping around can save hundreds of dollars. We should also remind you that these represent only a sampling of the dozens of online travel agents.

Although this is only one example, these sort of price differences are very common on vacation packages.  What is also a little scary is that some of the more expensive vacation packages are promoted as “vacation deals”.

In a separate article we tell you if you will save money by booking the flight and hotel separately or does booking it as a package saves you money.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy July 1, 2009 at 6:58 am

Travellers should also consider booking direct with airlines and resorts.

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John March 31, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Thanks for the info. Besides, expedia has been scamming people. Source: http://www.expedianews.com

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