The average vacation expense per person in the United States is $1,145, or $4,580 for a family of four, according to Isar Meitis, President at Last Minute Travel Club, a 10 year veteran of the travel industry.
“Forty-three percent of all travel in the United States is now booked online, with leisure travelers frequently booking their own travel,” said Meitis, “and what they don’t know about booking online can cost them money.”
“Booking vacation travel has definitely become more do-it-yourself because of smart phones, tablets and travel apps,” said Meitis. “Knowledge is definitely power in booking through online travel agencies (OTAs).”
He cautions Do-It-Yourselfers against these five pitfalls:
1. Relying Upon Low Price Guarantees. Shoppers should scrutinize the wording of the guarantee. In most cases, the online travel agency (OTA) guarantees only that the traveler is getting the lowest advertised price. However, many of the best prices for hotel rooms and flights are secured by private agreements, with the stipulation that these discounts cannot be advertised to the public.
2. Assuming OTA Sites are Competitors. Users of online travel agencies have a great many travel sites to choose from, yet most seem to have the same rooms and flights at similar prices. “Most travelers don’t know that the largest two OTA’s control 80 percent of the U.S. market for online travel bookings or that they own many of the other popular online travel agency websites,” said Meitis.
3. Ignoring the Fine Print. Often, the lowest priced plane ticket is non-refundable and the fine print contains details that raise the cost of a flight. For example, some airlines charge extra fees for checked bags or carry on bags that are not included in the ticket price. Be sure to read the fine print and understand how changes and cancellations work before you book.
4. Forgetting to Use a Discount Club Membership. Millions of Americans join retail discount clubs to gain access to member-only rates, and the same is true within the travel industry. Many of the best prices on travel are negotiated with the stipulation that they cannot be advertised. Consider joining a discount travel club to cut vacation travel costs.
- Limiting Lodging Choices. Particularly for larger families, renting a villa or townhome can be less expensive than booking several hotel rooms.
For information about Last Minute Travel Club, go to www.joinlmtclub.com