Summing up, the trick is not to see cheap airline tickets on their own. See them as part of a package. If you went to the agent for the airline ticket, the insurance company for a policy, a rental agency for the car and the hotel for a room, you have four chances to lose out on the deal. Putting them together gives you the best chance of a maximum discount so long as you know what the guideline prices are to improve on. Cheap airline tickets are available without too many restrictions if you play the negotiating game well.
What to look for in a package deal
To avoid most of the more extreme conditions, it is better to find a consolidator. These businesses buy air tickets in bulk and so get substantial discounts. They act as wholesalers and prefer dealing with the trade rather than customers direct. However, some will sell scheduled tickets direct at big discounts on more liberal terms. As always, do not deal blindly with firms you find over the internet. These are big ticket purchases so you should get some independent verification that the business has been around for a reasonable period of time and appears to be solvent before dealing with it. Now you are looking to put together a package. The components in play are the plane ticket, the hotel room, a car rental and travel insurance. The theory says that the more business to give in one deal, the greater the overall savings you get. But you need to test the market before you do the deal. Get guideline prices for rentals and insurance before you start. When you contact the consolidator, find out which hotels they offer and what room rates they quote. Then take a break and call the hotels to confirm their room rates. If they have a better price, you can mention this when you come back to the consolidator. Never be aggressive. Always be pleasant and calm when pressing for a good deal. Goodwill on both sides gets the best price.
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