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Travelocity etc?

Been searching the Travelocity hotel-air packages for our first trip to London (June 2018). Their prices seem better than what I can put together a la carte, so to speak. What are the downsides to booking through a site like this? Would love some info from people who have done it :.. the good, the bad, and the ugly! TIA!

Posted by
3558 posts

I haven't used them, but I can tell you the downside of using a third party to arrange airfare. If any changes are needed with the ticket, you can't make those changes directly with the airline. Every time there is anything to do with the airline ticket, it must go through the third party.

If nothing changes in your plans and there are no unforeseen issues that come up during travel, then you probably won't notice a difference. That can be a big "if." It is really about your personal cost-benefit analysis. Does the savings in cost outweigh any possible cost in inconvenience in dealing with airlines through a 3rd party.? Only you can decide.

Posted by
12612 posts

If any changes are needed with the ticket, you can't make those
changes directly with the airline. Every time there is anything to do
with the airline ticket, it must go through the third party.

Echoing Carol here. It's OK as long as things go according to plan but if they don't, being able to sort through an unexpected change in, say, departure or connection times directly with the airline is a plus. We've never used a 3rd party website for our plane tickets to Europe for that reason.

Posted by
6763 posts

Book directly with the airline. They offer packages too. When the volcano in Iceland interupted flights to from Europe and USA, those who booked difectly with airlines were taken care of..

Posted by
6082 posts

I think the choices of hotels are limited in size/class to those willing to work deals with these sites. Why not throw out some names & numbers and see what others think?

Posted by
745 posts

I have found the value of sites like Travelocity in giving you a "target price" for your proposed travel. I am in complete agreement regarding the air travel portion - book that directly with the airline you plan to use.

Posted by
1068 posts

Agree with the comments above. About the only time I will use them is when a hotel has no room on the hotel site, but Expedia or someone else shows rooms. To date, when I book a room that way, I do get it (although I much prefer booking directly with the hotel.) I would say I booked rooms through Expedia in "full" hotels 2 or 3 times.

Posted by
3492 posts

I never book anything through third party providers for a couple of reasons. If something goes wrong I want to be able to deal directly with the airline or hotel. In addition, even though some of the work done by third parties is done by people, much of it is computerized and I just don't want to deal with some computerized middle man. In my opinion, using computerized third parties adds to more people being out of work. Many will disagree, and that's ok. Call me a Luddite if you will, but I really feel that technology has become so pervasive that it is using us rather that us using the technology. Look at all the jobs eliminated by "self check out" lanes at many big box stores. Look at all the local businesses that have been put out of business by computerized online sellers of just about everything. The way things are going, at some point there will be very few jobs for people. I simply chose not to contribute to the unemployment rate.

Posted by
3319 posts

I’ll echo the others about booking directly through the airline. Went through Travelocity or Expedia (can’t remember which) and paid extra for a specific flight connection. My reservation was changed to the connection I didn’t want yet I was unable to recover the extra fee I paid. What’s worse is the flight I paid extra for departed on time. Nobody was ever able to explain why the change occurred. Never again. I even book hotels through the hotel site whenever possible.

When going to London we use British Air since it has a direct flight from a nearby airport. It often has airfare and hotel deals offered on its website. On our trip in November we got the airfare and hotel for what we usually pay for airfare, and, at the hotel we normally stay at. We frequently check it’s site for specials.

Posted by
2724 posts

Book directly with the airline.
Book directly with the hotel.
Unless you get a good package deal from British Airways own website.
https://www.britishairways.com/en-us/home#/
Right now on that page, they are showing round trip flights to London plus 5 nights in a hotel for $820.

Or click on the tab upper left, on "Flights and Vacations" to see all offers.
Or click on the box that says "Flights or Holidays".

Posted by
14 posts

Interesting to read the replies from those in north America. From an English point of view we have an established history of travel agents. Thomas Cook being the first in the world 170 years ago. Many have transferred online and others set up online. Which is all well and good.

Last year I booked my vacation through an online agent....only for them to go bust a week later....no flights, transfers or hotel booked but the money taken from my credit card. Thanks god American express sorted things as EU or English travel insurance doesn't cover this event

Moral of the story. Book direct unless you think/find
A) the deal with the third party is so much better than direct you are prepared to gamble and
B) you have thoroughly checked out the third party and are happy and
C) you don't anticipate any changes to your booking

Posted by
12612 posts

We do use booking.com for accommodations and never had a problem but we book direct through airlines for flights.

Posted by
1010 posts

We always find directly booking with an airline and directly booking through a hotel website - is safer. Also, if you book through a third party, you do not earn hotel points on such sites as IHG or Hiilton, etc. It is so easy to communicate with a hotel manager about rooms, food offerings, prices, etc. Plus you know exactly what you are paying for. With a third party, you might be given a not so desirable room. You also don't have to pay for the room, until you arrive. You are able to cancel the hotel within 24 hours and not be charged.

Posted by
2320 posts

The only time I used booking.com, we showed up at the hotel with a printout of our confirmation and the hotel had no record of our reservation. We ended up with a better room at a lower price! That it was it for me. Book directly with airlines and hotels.

Posted by
61 posts

Thank you for all the great feedback! I am sufficiently deterred from booking packages through third-party vendors, but I do plan to look into BA and other airlines’ offers. I’m sure I’ll be back in here with more questions as the planning continues. I’m a huge Anglophile and it’s our first trip to England ... I’m SO EXCITED!!! 😃

Posted by
10075 posts

Realize there are two types of online booking agencies.

Expedia and Travelocity buy the product at a lower price and then sell it to you. You pay them directly. If there is a problem you have to deal with them. Normally the airline and hotel can't help you.

Sites like booking.com act just like a travel agent. They book the flight/hotel/package for you but you pay the airline or hotel. Booking.com get a commission from the supplier. If there is a problem with the flight or hotel, it will be handled by the airline or hotel.

All airlines that from from the U.S. to the UK offer vacation packages of flights and hotels. Look at all of them to see what it offered.

Posted by
3175 posts

Thank you for all the great feedback! I am sufficiently deterred from
booking packages through third-party vendors, but I do plan to look
into BA and other airlines’ offers. I’m sure I’ll be back in here with
more questions as the planning continues. I’m a huge Anglophile and
it’s our first trip to England ... I’m SO EXCITED!!! 😃

I absolutely love your enthusiasm especially about planning -- that's half the fun!! I just know you'll have a FANTASTIC trip!

Posted by
61 posts

Thank you, Continental!! We’ll be celebrating our 20th anniversary, which makes it doubly special. 😍 I teach kindergarten, so I’m excited to spend Christmas break planning our trip!

Posted by
14 posts

LV that's part of the fun with any trip. The internet makes everything so much easier.

Remember you must must must go to at least one English pub and talk to the locals and bar staff. I spent 20 years working all over Britain and its a great way to get the inside track on where to go and where to eat etc. Also look out if churches who serve coffee as they also have people only to willing to chat. Often older folk who have lived somewhere for years.

And we, in the main,love Americans we are raised on us films and TV!!

Posted by
12612 posts

The only time I used booking.com, we showed up at the hotel with a
printout of our confirmation and the hotel had no record of our
reservation

Sorry you've had a negative experience, Trayla. We do book directly when comfortable doing so but to date, all of our accommodations reserved through that site have gone through without issue.

Posted by
3548 posts

I make the majority of my hotel reservations through an agency (hotels.com or booking.com) for the simple reason that the rates are often lower than what the hotels offer on their own sites. Why? Hard to say; maybe the agency has a block of rooms set aside, but that's just a guess. I have never had a reservation go astray, but anything can happen. However, I distrust an agency's claim that a hotel is "almost sold out", having found rooms by dealing directly with the hotel in that instance.
For airlines I agree it is better to book direct, financially and for services such as advance seat selection. The exception is an itinerary involving airlines that do not sell each other's flights; then an agency can be useful.
Flight-and-hotel packages are too inflexible for my kind of travel.

Posted by
5704 posts

Pm’d You.

London is a fabulous city!

Couple of FYI’s...you will be traveling and visiting during the height of the tourist season. It will be like Disneyland on steroids. Take that into account and when possible book entry tickets ( i.e. Westminster Abbey, The Eye, St. Paul’s, Parliament) well in advance/and or get the 2 for 1 deal Vouchers when you are there. That deal has been explained as nauseum on the forum so easy to research.

Same with your flight. Sign up for fare alerts on BA, and Virgin Atlantic. The latter is my preferred airline. I I pay for Premium Economy because I enjoy the comfort, the food, entertainment options and the professionalism of the flight staff. My flight is a red eye from LAX to LHR and it is a great feeling to awake well rested, well feed and raring to go once the plane has arrived at the gate. I travel with carry on only. So much easier. Getting from the gate to immigration will seem liked you’ve walked the length of the Thames.

Know that hotel rooms will be smaller than you are used to in the states. But you aren’t there to spend time in the room other to sleep and shower are you?

I find it a great walking city, others may disagree but meandering in hidden alleys, through the parks, along the Thames provides a great perspective.

Public Transport in London is excellent. First item of purchase when you arrive is an Oyster card.

Lastly, sign up for Timeout London on line. I use it as a reference tool to discover new places, upcoming events, etc for my annual November sojourns.

As I’ve posted before about TimeOut in an October “issue” discovered a blurb about the Royal Albert’s Hall Classical Spectacular. Held in November. Never been inside the hall. The show Sounded interesting, and ideally conincided with my first night in London. Checked out the Hall’s website, there were a few seats left, grabbed a credit card and got a ticket for a seat in the Stalls.

One of the best evenings I’ve ever experienced in numerous London visits!

There are also informative London food blogs to research.

Planning IS part of the fun but don’t over plan. Flexibility is the key to enjoying travel.

Happy Christmas

Posted by
233 posts

I, too, always book directly with the airline and hotel. I used Expedia one year to get a room in a hotel that was "sold out" and got put into the hotel's horribly run-down, cold annex (it was below freezing outside). When I asked to be moved because my husband was sick, they said that they couldn't move us because the remodeled part of the hotel was full and the annex was saved for those booking through Expedia! At least the staff brought us a couple of heaters to make the room bearable.

Posted by
6758 posts

Keep in mind that some of this advice is from folks who have not actually used a third-party for purchasing airfare or lodging or rental cars.

I use both methods - direct and indirect (third-party). My advice is not to write off any alternative in haste, but to consider all your options. Third-party deals can be an acceptable trade-off depending on one's situation. As long as you have your eyes open to the risks and trade-offs, there's nothing wrong with some legitimate third party sites (they exist for a reason, mostly to fill what would be unsold inventory). I used Orbitz for booking airline tickets for years and did not have any issue (granted, I am pretty flexible and have never had to outright cancel a non-refundable ticket). I've used Hotwire.com at least 50 times domestically for hotels and car rentals, same with booking.com (hotels only - domestically and overseas). I saved a lot of money that way and have no regrets. I am not idealogical when it comes to booking platform, it's situation-specific. In my experience, booking a room using a hotel's website for 20-30% more is just throwing money down the drain if I can get a better deal elsewhere for that same room. The key is you need to be flexible and not have any special needs, since those are not really accommodated properly using third-party sites. In the case of airlines, I'd rather book with an airline but if Expedia has a packaged deal, I wouldn't be opposed to it. Everything is worth trying at least once...what's the worst that can happen? As long as you confirm your reservation, you'll have a room and a seat on a flight.

Posted by
16 posts

Last month we booked a plane/hotel package to Paris with Travelocity.
A very good price and far better than the airlines. In the past I have booked directly with the airline and hotel.
That's generally my preference but the difference in cost was just too large this time.

We need two flights to get to Paris.
Just this week the airline changed the timing of our first flight.
We felt that the connecting time was too short and "impossible" if we had any delays with our first flight.
Travelocity informed us of the change and told us to contact the airline if we had problems/questions.
I did so.
Arranged to take an earlier first flight so our connection time is ample.
I made the change in less than five minutes at no cost. Got our seats.
All I can say -so far- is that I have had no problems with using Travelocity and have saved a bundle.

Posted by
970 posts

LV: Don’t forget you can phone hotels with questions, etc., before booking, or to check bookings made with a third-party.

I’ve booked directly with airlines and with Travelocity, etc. I find the latter will offer tickets that combine flights on two airlines. E.g., Airline A going out, Airline B returning. That might be useful in certain cases but otherwise airlines are well aware of prices on these sites and stay competitive. Airlines may also simply not allow these agencies to sell some flights.

Highly recommend getting your airline’s app and signing up for text messsges to be notified of issues, changes, etc.