Are you sure that vacation package is a good deal?

Flickr photo of Waldorf Astoria
Flickr photo of Waldorf Astoria

Hotels spend a lot of money hiring marketing, advertising, and public relations specialists to sell packages to consumers, and lots of times, they win by getting press. But just because you see a hotel package advertised in a newspaper or a blog doesn't mean the editors of that blog have lifted a finger to figure out of it's really a deal.

From your pocketbook's perspective, there are only two kinds of packages: discount and "value-added." Discount packages truly give you a break, and they end up costing you less money than if you bought all of the components individually. But "value-added" packages are sales tools, and the stuff you get is provided as a convenience so you don't have to assemble them yourself, and possibly at a mark-up.

There's only one way to know if that hotel or vacation package that you're about to buy is a discount package or one designed to put expensive frosting on the same old cupcake. And that's to see what everything costs individually and do the math yourself.