I like to book online travel. Kind of a hobby for me, searching around various sites and finding the best deals. I virtually never book the first airfare, car rental or hotel offering that I find, but use them as a baseline for evaluating other deals. Sometimes it pays very well, in terms of time used and money saved.
I recently booked a rental car over Christmas. The usual travel sites were consistently high- in the $40-60 range per day for a compact to midsize car. Priceline wouldn't bite when I offered $30 per day. I tried one more site- AAA. Using that site, I wound up getting the car for about $20 per day with a AAA discount. Don't know what the glitch was, but I gladly exploited it.
Spend a few hours yesterday checking airfares for an upcoming March trip to visit relatives in the East. Nonstop NWA flights were running around $405. Total for two tickets and car rental? About $950.
As a last resort, having moved to checking 1 stop flights, I went to a site affiliated with Expedia. Found the airfares for $268 each. Arranged for a decent motel near the airport for $89. Car rental? Discounted to $96 for a small SUV- cheaper than other sites were offering economy cars. But the really weird thing was that when I went to book the same flights on the actual airline site- United- the same exact flight itinerary was about $325 per ticket. I went back to the original Expedia linked site and locked in 2 tickets at the original lower price. Wound up getting air, rental car and a motel night for $722, putting $230 of spending money back in our pockets.
Don't know what the hell happened there either, but I'll take it. Moral of the story is to shop around, and if you see a great deal on a legitimate site, take it.