How tos for understanding travel promotions and other deals

When finding the best travel deals the options can seem overwhelming. Sometimes the math may not add up. A supposed deal isn’t a deal at all.

Linda Zavoral’s article, originally published in San Jose’s Mercury News, outlines the vocabulary of various travel savings to help travelers make better decisions before opening their wallets.

For example, a package does not have to offer savings. All it means is that you’re purchasing more than one service bundled together.

If a hotel is offering a package deal where tickets to an attraction are connected to a room, shop around for cheaper options. Sometimes the package deal is for more expensive rooms in the hotel, and you can find inexpensive tickets to the attractions elsewhere.

When booking a tour package, Zavoral also suggests that you check the deals a travel company may offer against what you might be able to book yourself. In many cases the travel agency’s price may be cheaper because the agency is buying up blocks of airplane seats and accommodations, but check anyway.

Another saving might come from checking out various places for the cheapest hotel room rates. Find out what the cheapest available rates are by looking at the hotel’s website and other travel sites.

If a hotel says its offering a freebie like free breakfast– or some other amenity as part of a package, check to see if this is a regular offering at other times, or truly a for now only deal.

When booking a room, make sure you’re clear if the rate is per person or per room.

Also, check to see if phone booking or online booking is cheaper. Sometimes the person on the phone may not be aware of a deal. In that case, check the website. This holds true whether its a hotel, a cruise line or a tour group.