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Package tours are simply a way to buy the airfare, accommodations, and other elements of your trip (such as airport transfers and some activities) at the same time and often at discounted prices.

One good source of package deals is the airlines themselves. Most major airlines offer air/land packages, including American Airlines Vacations (tel. 800/321-2121; www.aavacations.com), Delta Vacations (tel. 800/654-6559; www.deltavacations.com), Continental Airlines Vacations (tel. 800/829-7777; www.covacations.com), and United Vacations (tel. 888/854-3899; www.unitedvacations.com). Several big online travel agencies -- Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, and Lastminute.com -- also do a brisk business in packages.

Travel packages are also listed in the travel section of your local Sunday newspaper. Or check ads in the national travel magazines such as Budget Travel Magazine, Travel + Leisure, National Geographic Traveler, and Condé Nast Traveler.

Ask Before You Go

Before you invest in a package deal:

  • Always ask about the cancellation policy. Can you get your money back? Is there a deposit required?
  • Ask about the accommodations choices and prices for each. Then look up the hotels' reviews in this guide and check their rates online for your specific dates of travel. Also find out what types of rooms are offered.
  • Finally, look for hidden expenses. Ask whether airport departure fees and taxes, for example, are included in the total cost -- they rarely are.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.