Saving money on holiday travel

Seven On Your Side
December 9, 2010 1:18:31 PM PST
There are great deals out there to get away from this chill. But beward of some sneak travel gotchas that could cost you. And did you know something on your computer could be hiding the lowest prices from you? First tip? Beat the bundle. All travel sites offer package deals but we found it may pay to price air fare, hotel and rental car separately to see if it's really a deal.

Online, we priced out a trip for a family of five to Las Vegas, Nevada for the week between Christmas and New Year's.

Travelocity had the best package at $7500.00. But when we shopped ala carte, the price plummeted saving us, nearly $1600.

"Do a little research," says ShopSmart Magazine's Jody Rohlena. "See what a going rate is for a rental car, a hotel room, maybe start with the air fair and tack on those other extras a little bit later, rather than just jumping right into the package deal, it may not be the cheapest.

And the best time to book travel? By air, a longer lead time saves money. But when booking cruises? The longer you wait the more money you'll save.

"As they get closer to the departure date they want to fill up the cruise ship," says Budget Travel Magazine's JD Rinne. "So they'll often cut rates drastically at the last minute."

For example, we found a cruise to the Florida and the Bahamas leaving out of New York's harbor this Saturday is $1699 per person. The same 7-night cruise a week later jumps up three hundred dollars.

And check out sites like Yapta and Bing. In addition to offering discounted fares, both track air fare trends just like stocks and make recommendations on when to buy and when to wait.

"Let's say you're going from New York City to the Dominican Republic," pointed out JD Rinne. "At Bing Travel you can type in that route and its going to tell you whether that air fare is going up down or stay the same."

But before you book anything on line, delete your "cookies." Those are the online footprint of what sites you've visited. " If you erase all your footprints, suddenly better deals come available," says Jody Rohlena.

It may have to do with tracking, where you shop and what you spend. At ShopSmart Magazine, a cookies experiment saved big-time.

"A difference of $700 dollars," said Jody. "One of the browsers had cookies enabled, the other one didn't. So disable those cookies, it may bring some good deals into your search."

Story by: Nina Pineda

Produced by: Steve Livingstone CONNECT WITH NINA PINEDA AND 7 ON YOUR SIDE