Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Did You Get a Good Deal??

There are so many blog posts and travel news stories related to “getting the best travel deal” that it becomes a contest to see who can somehow find that magical “lowest price” and then brag to others how they paid far less than others who traveled to the same place. Everyone has an opinion (so many cliches are entering my mind right now). It seems that everyone also knows someone who proclaims they are the “ultimate authority” when it comes to how to get the best travel prices whether it is hotels, airfare, car rentals, cruises etc.

Just watch and see, the next time you plan a vacation, a friend or friends will come out of the woodwork to tell you how they always get the best deal by doing X...Y...or Z and tell you that you better do the same if you don’t want to look like a travel greenhorn or goober. The pressure is then feel like you have to research every travel site, get quotes from every travel agent in the world to somehow be able to proclaim that you got the best deal available.

I see it happen a lot. A client will be about to make a decision and then here comes the call...”a friend just told me that they saw the same vacation $200 lower on XYZ site.” So let’s break down the process and make something abundantly will never know if you got the “lowest deal possible.” In order to know for sure, you would need to interview every traveler at your particular resort or on your cruise to know what they paid and what was included in their price. So unless you are willing to spend every minute of your vacation interrupting other’s vacations, then you will simply never ever know if you got the best deal or not. So throw that nagging question out the window and stay focused on the fact that you are on vacation and you probably paid less than some and more than others.

With that said, let’s breakdown why you will never know so you can have some more travel peace of mind. First, another person may have flown a red-eye flight into your destination which may have made their airfare portion less than yours because you were not willing to operate on 1 hour of sleep at the start of your vacation. You actually preferred to know where you were once you arrived.

Second, the other person may have chosen a transfer service that also hauls chickens round trip from the airport. Some travelers are not adverse to the smell of livestock permeating their luggage if they can save another $10 total off of their vacation price.

Third, the other person may have not read their fine print so they did not realize that their vacation price also included import, export, inter-port, transport and all sorts of other “port” fees and they are not telling you what the actual final price is. I hear that a lot...”hey did you see that my cruise is now advertised at $29.00?” So I have to tell them to hit “select” and then “continue” and then “continue” again so they can get to the actual “final price screen” and low and behold that $29 vacation is $599 once all of the fees are added in etc.

Am I exaggerating? Yes. Am I being a bit facetious? Of course. But I am trying to get you to see that sometimes those “great travel deals” are not that great. To make sure you are getting a GOOD deal and to make sure you are getting what you paid for, you just need to trust those who are in the business who plan travel every day of the week. Trust that they are finding you a good deal and one through a reputable supplier so you can go on a vacation without any worries. A good travel professional will make sure you understand all of the costs and logistics before you ever put your hard earned money down on any vacation package.

There are so many variables that go into travel packages like some of the ones I have mentioned; flight times, number of connecting flights, types of transfers, vacation insurance included or not, location of the hotel room or cruise stateroom and on and on. Those variables make it possible for some online travel sites to offer “price guarantees” because they know that the chances of you finding the same exact deal for the exact same dates with the same exact details etc are slim to none.

So again in those in “the know” and let them help you plan a great vacation and then let the vacating begin. :)

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