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58 percent of Americans overlook large travel-saving option

Published: Thursday, Feb. 28 2013 6:40 p.m. MST

With heiress Doris Duke's Islamic-style mansion Shangri-La in the background, a young swimmer leaps off the ledge into a sea-filled water tank July 16, 2006 in Honolulu. Though Hawaii is notoriously expensive, crafty travelers can easily revel in much of what the state has to offer while holding tight to their pennies.

MARCO GARCIA, AP

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Even though 85 percent of Americans consider budgeting for a vacation a priority, only 58 percent use a cheaper way to travel, according to recent data by RetailMeNot.

By choosing a travel package, rather than purchasing a la carte, Trae Bodge saved $200 on her five-day vacation with a family of three.

Americans ranked affordability more important than security of safety, location and family friendliness. So why does half of the nation not use package deals?

“I’ve found this with myself as well (that) I think I don’t want what someone’s offering. I want to choose myself,” Bodge, a senior editor for Retail Me Not said. “Quite often websites like Expedia and Orbitz will give you a lot of choices.”

Bodge said that online traveling companies are evolving to include more options so people who feel the same way as Bodge can have choices. On her trip she had 10 hotels to choose from.

“Travel companies are getting up to speed and offering those options to the traveler but I don’t think the traveler knows that yet.”

Package deals are more popular among a younger demographic as well. Those 55 and older account for 66 percent of booking flights, hotels and car rentals independently.

Travelers who make more than $100,00 are 25 percent less likely to buy package deals than those earning less.

But not all sources agree with packages being the cheaper option. In an article for Mint, Gudrun Enger compared various options when it came to booking individually versus using a package deal. The package only saved her money if she were to fly alone.

Although her data is two years old, Enger said to do the research before booking. In the end Enger was happy with using Expedia, or any other booking site, for its convenience. She plans to keep using travel packages, but booking individually could allow for more opportunities for discounts.

The most flexibility in price comes from hotel costs, Bodge said. In 2011, the average price of a hotel room in North America was $119.7 a night, according to data from Statista.

Airfare doesn’t have much wiggle room in price, but car rental costs do. Bodge offers two points of advice to save money in addition to booking flights: find coupons for traveling costs online and check the weather before you go.

Being aware of the forecast will let you leave the coat home if it’s going to be warm, or the shorts if it is going to snow. Ultimately, it cuts luggage size so you have no checked luggage.

EMAIL: alovell@deseretnews.com

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