The Travel Professor
Join me on a journey across the broad spectrum of interesting travel topics. We’ll discuss destinations domestic and abroad, some familiar and some off the beaten path. We take a look at suppliers like cruise lines, air carriers and tour operators and find their bargains and special offerings. Got questions? Email

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fare shopping Las Vegas via Wrigley Field in Chicago

I’m back from a great yet disappointing weekend road trip to Chicago. Chi'town is a great world class city but the outcomes of the weekend baseball games at Wrigley Field left this Cleveland Indians fan singing the blues(visit the Rush Street Blues clubs).

It was a weekend of discovery but I’ll share this information in later posts. I’d like to get back to my Las Vegas bachelor party research mission that I mentioned in my last post.

To review in my last post I commented on assisting my nephew in planning a getaway to Las Vegas. My approach was to compare booking an air & hotel package versus doing it a la carte-booking the air and hotel separately. I wanted to see which method offered the best price.

I preferred Southwest and USAirways as these carriers offered nonstop service from Columbus to Vegas but I’d go with the least expensive airline. Southwest would make it a bit more difficult as not all search engines offer their fares and availability but wanting the best value for my customer I expanded my search beyond, and My research established the best fare for their dates was $385.00 roundtrip traveling on Southwest.

My hotel choices were 2 to 3 star strip properties the Imperial Palace, Riviera, Circus Circus and the Excalibur. Bypassing any intermediaries I went directly to their websites inputted travel data and received a range of prices. There were some unbelievable rates on Thursday night but the weekend rates for Friday and Saturday greatly added to the cost. Also they had selected a busy weekend so rates were higher than normal. The best rate I found for lodging and taxes was at the Imperial and it broke down to $100.80 per man. Add this to the air of $385.00 and you have built a package of $485.80 a person.

Next step was to check out the tour operators and compare their prices. Again I’d shop Southwest, USAirways and the other carriers. Fortunately there is a travel agent only site that allowed me to shop these firms alongside additional suppliers and airlines.

The same package that I had created piece by piece priced out at $452.15 on Southwest Vacations, a savings of $33.65 a guy. But it (the price) gets better when I input a special vacation code "LVJUN" as this promotion deducts $30.00 a traveler. I’ve now got the price down to $422.15 a piece.

I’ll admit that there are cheap rates and better deals on different travel dates but I feel pretty confident that this was the best deal for the dates these guys want to go. If they were flexible or had planned ahead we might have been able to save them some more bucks.

Anyhow they were delighted with my offer of $422.15. It beat the lowest rate quote finally received from their local agents by $70.00 a person.