Tip #35: Avoid Online Travel Agencies
I travel a lot. In the last year I have flown more than 65,000 miles across North America. I was supposed to go to Africa as well but that is a long story what happened to that trip. But on these travels, including the Africa trip, I learned a hard lesson - don't use online travel agencies.
These are the online travel booking companies that make trips sound perfect and cheaper. But they don't always have the best price, and definitely don't have any ounce of decent customer service.
In particular, I have stopped using Travelocity and Cheap Tickets. I am close to no longer using Expedia as I discovered their fees are some of the highest in the industry.
Yes, these online booking sites make booking convenient but in the long run they don't pay off.
Your better option is to go directly to the airline and hotel websites. Hotels pay markup fees to these online booking companies. By going directly to the hotel you will save a few dollars. Finding hotels in small towns can be difficult. Try the Chamber of Commerce in your destination town for a list of members. By booking directly with the airline you may get more frequent flyer points and find a sale not offered through the online sites.
Of course you could take a look at an online travel agent site to see a list of hotels or to compare airfares with different airlines. But book direct. The airline, hotel and rental car companies have much more vested in you as a customer and will show you that in great customer service.
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