Five #TravelHacks to stretch dollars farther

Maximizing value by booking through an OTA

Travelers always are asking how they can get the most bang for their travel bucks. Our answer is pretty simple: Book with an online travel agency (OTA) website. Preferably Expedia.com.

We come to this answer with tons of data. Twenty years of it, to be exact (in case you didn’t know, this year is our 20th anniversary). We’ve used that data to learn that consumers typically conduct an average of 50 searches across 12 websites before booking flights or hotels. We also have put together insider tips that can help travelers feel confident that they’re getting the most value from their booking. We call these tips #TravelHacks, and have compiled a whole bunch of them here. Don’t want to read them all at once? Here are the ones that we believe to be our top five.

Tip 1: OTAs offer ‘packaged’ booking options, and using them can save hundreds.

The term “packages” refers to bookings that feature two booked together. One package might be a hotel and an airline. Another might be a hotel and a rental car. The simple act of packaging these travel products can yield dramatic savings in the hundreds of dollars and more. In many instances, the savings can reach US$600. How is this possible? Industry pricing rules allow for discounted rates on bundled bookings when the price of the hotel or air ticket is opaque, or hidden within the price of the package. Even though bundled bookings feature the exact same flight and the exact same hotel, the savings can disappear if the hotel and airline are booked outside of a package. Expedia analysts have found that package bookings in markets such as Mexico, the Caribbean, and Hawaii can yield package savings as high as US$800-US$1,100. Package savings for travel to London this summer have approached 40 percent off the combined hotel and air value. Test the hotel’s rate and the airline’s fare against the combined savings of an online package booking to see what the package yields, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Tip 2: More choice means more savings.

Across Expedia.com, travelers can find more than 280,000 unique hotel properties, with a deep presence in London, Paris, and Rome. Add to this more than 475 airlines, 1.2 million vacation rentals, 150 car rental companies, and thousands upon thousands of activities, and we’ve got plenty of options. One major advantage of this wealth of choices is the ability to mix and match. Travelers on Expedia.com can choose the flights that fit their schedule, rather than only those offered by a single airline. You can fly out on one airline and fly back on another, in a single booking, with no hassle. For hotels, we can offer five to 10 times more options in top cities than hotels can offer directly. More choice means more opportunity to compare and save on the hotel you really want.

Tip 3: Millions of fellow travelers help you book with real, verified hotel reviews.

Expedia solicits and shares the opinions of millions of travelers. With a click, you can see whether a hotel has impressed your fellow customers or not. Unlike reviews on some other sites, ours are vetted. They’re real. You cannot post a review of a hotel without having stayed there. When you read a review on Expedia, you know the opinion was voiced by a real-world traveler.

Tip 4: Flexible loyalty programs reward you for everything you book.

Expedia loyalty programs were created to give travelers the best value, offering global flexibility. With Expedia, you can “earn and burn” on nearly every kind of travel product. This is unique in the industry; many supplier rewards programs are limiting by design; they work to fence travelers within a single brand. Expedia, on the other hand, offers points no matter which hotel you book, across hundreds of thousands of hotel choices. Membership is free and status accrues as you book, culminating in +VIP Access, which confers a broad range of benefits such as exclusive amenities, room upgrades, and special member-only deals at nearly 3,000 participating hotels around the world. Expedia+ members also can double-dip with their airfare miles, earning both in the airline program and through the Expedia+ program, and can redeem points as they choose, on nearly any travel product, with no blackout dates.

Tip 5: Expedia+ members get special deals without being locked into a specific property or brand.

Expedia+ members have access to insider deals and bonus offers. Travelers simply sign up through Expedia.com, sign into the site, then access exclusive rates and deals that amount to an extra 10 percent off of tens of thousands of hotels worldwide. All Expedia+ members also can peruse “Unreal Deals,” which are the day’s best package deals departing from a traveler’s home airport. The Expedia family of brands also offers exclusive deals through our award-winning mobile apps, including tantalizing last-minute offers. If a traveler decides he or she wants to stay an extra night, we make the booking process simple, reasonable and sweet. And every booking made through the Expedia app yields three times the Expedia+ points.

There you have it: Five tips that prove choice matters and that more options give travelers a better chance to piece together the perfect trip. When you are searching for your next trip, consider searching the world through an OTA. That choice will reward you.

Check out expedia.com/travelhacks to get hotel deals and find out more ways to save!

Expedia compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site, such compensation may include travel and other costs.

Tarran Street

Technology and travel go hand-in-hand in Tarran’s world. Serving as senior public relations manager at Expedia, she focuses on the company’s technology platform and dabbling in adventure travel. After growing up in rural New Hampshire, Tarran caught the wanderer bug and has since lived in Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C.; and most recently in Pensacola, Florida. She keeps up with friends and family in all these places with the help of various devices and gadgets, sharingtech tips, tricks, and travel tidbits along the way.

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