The two most important things to consider when planning a trip are affordability and overall experience. While we usually have to sacrifice one for the other, there are ways to navigate the system to get both. We spoke to Orbitz travel expert Jeanenne Tornatore about the most common mistakes people make when booking, and we have to say we're guilty of them all.
1. Not Knowing the Right Times to Travel
As with anything else in life, timing is everything. Those who have the flexibility should avoid traveling during peak periods when people have time off or when school is out. "Adjusting your timing to save money is a big one," Jeanenne said. "Traveling during those shoulder seasons — late Spring or early Fall — you can get just as beautiful weather but better prices and less crowds at a lot of destinations."
2. Not Doing Your Research
Instead of selecting your accommodations based on what the hotel has to say about itself, read the reviews of travelers who've actually stayed. Their insight will more accurately reflect the experience since the hotel is only trying to convince you to book with them. And use specific reviews to make sure it's right for what you're looking for. Someone who's gone for business will have a different experience than someone who's stayed with family, for example.
3. Being Afraid of Packages
Don't ignore the grouped offers! There's a lot of flexibility with booking through packages these days that will save you more than you'd expect. "I always recommend to people if you're going to need airfare and hotel, and you're generally going to be staying in one city, book it as a package," she said. "Packages used to be this thing where you have to fly out of a certain airline and stay with a certain hotel, but now you can go on sites like Orbitz and it's just like booking a normal trip. You can pick whatever airfare you want, you can choose your hotel, and bundle it together."
Jeanenne shared that some of the best deals she's come across have actually been part of a package, which are also especially the better choice when booking last minute.
4. Not Flying Out of Alternative Airports
We all have our go-to airports, but they're also usually the most expensive. Oftentimes, nearby airports offer much cheaper flights because they're smaller or less traveled. Be sure to look into surrounding options at your destination airport in addition to the home airport you're departing from.