Bundled travel deals promise savings to consumers willing to book their flight and all their accommodations at once. Websites like Expedia, Travelocity, and Cheap Caribbean allow you to shop for a hotel and flight, then book it all in one go. Expedia, for example, says you’ll save up to $603 by booking your flight and hotel at the same time. Cheap Caribbean, which offers mostly all-inclusive resort deals with airfare to the Caribbean, touts savings of up to 60 percent on some bundled deals.
Depending on the package you choose and its individual components, you can save money with packages. If you use a good vacation deal website, booking a package deal is typically less expensive than booking the individual components separately. (See also: 6 Questions to Ask Before You Book a Vacation Package)
Still, some deals are better than others, and there are times when bundled deals may not be your best option. Here are five steps to ensure your package vacation is the stellar deal you hope it is.
1. Price each component of your trip independently
The best way to find out if your bundled vacation package is a true deal or a dud is to price out each component of your trip and compare it to the package price. If you’re booking both airfare and a hotel, for example, find out the cost of airfare on the airline’s website, get a price for your hotel on its own, add those two costs up, and then compare them to the package deal.
As an example, I looked for bundled vacations from Los Angeles to Montego Bay for seven nights in June 2018. A bundled deal with a weeklong stay at the high-end Hyatt Ziva all-inclusive resort rang in at $6,527 for a family of four.
That sounds like a ton of money, and it is, but it’s still a lot less than you’d pay if you booked your airfare and hotel independently. Airfare booked on its own would set you back $688 per person, or $2,752 total. The all-inclusive resort on its own is $462 per night, plus a $184 extra guest fee for the children, which works out to $4,528 for seven nights. If you add up those two components, you could be spending $7,280 for the same trip. By booking the vacation bundle, you would save $752 without any real work on your part.
2. Ask yourself if an all-inclusive resort is worth it
But is $6,527 really a good deal on a vacation? When you search for travel deals, you’ll find pricing that runs the gamut from outrageously expensive to downright cheap. Pricing for Hyatt Ziva is a little on…
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