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Quick Tips to planning your getaway

Before you book a flight, hotel room, or vacation package, check the price on each of the individual vendor’s sites. Oftentimes, cutting out the middle man and booking separately is cheaper than buying a package on sites like Expedia or Orbitz. Furthermore, buying directly from the airline gives you more flexibility to manage your flights, and calling the hotel can result in unadvertised savings (especially during low season and if you are celebrating a special occasion). Remember, third party sites require full payment up front, so do your homework before plunking down the plastic.

Bonus tip: Our favorite site for hotel deals in Europe is Venere.com, which has an incredibly easy user experience, a vast Rolodex of hotels (including smaller boutique properties that you’d never find on many U.S.-based sites), and lots of great deals and discounts. We didn’t include it in our comparison of discount travel sites because its forte is hotels rather than flights, but we’ve booked many European stays through Venere and have never been disappointed. Source: realsimple.com

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