- Days left
As a sign of just how desperate travel sellers are getting -- or perhaps one of how the Web is turning into a true free-for-all -- the major travel booking sites have been shucking their fees. Last month, Orbitz, Travelocity, CheapTickets, Hotwire, and Expedia all reduced or eliminated the fees they charged for booking airfare through May 31. That eliminates a cost to passengers of about $7 per flight.

Until recently, if you compared a hotel quote on, say, Travelocity and Orbitz, you might see a lower price on Travelocity than on Orbitz, but when you clicked through to make your purchase, suddenly the "taxes and fees" line item that showed up near the end of the process could reverse your good fortune and make the other website the winner. It was time consuming, annoying, and expensive. But the websites make their money out of a portion of those fees (and some analysts think that up to 60% of their income is based off the fees), which can easily mount $25 to $40 on a single night at a standard business class hotel.

But Orbitz will not charge a fee through July 15. Presumably, it will take its profit out of any markups in the hotel rate. In response, Expedia matched the fee cut (I'd expect Travelocity to do it soon, too), but Orbitz says it will still be cheaper than competitors like Travelocity "80% of the time."

Hooray! With the new savings, we can finally afford to check bags and use pool towels again!

Orbitz, though, hasn't ended the changes there. The site, which is clearly trying to remake itself to draw travelers again and stay in business, has started quoting you one price, a what-you-see-is-what-you-get rate. I wish the airlines could try the same thing. I'm sick of combing through airfare sales for $199 that turn out, when I'm ready to plug in my credit card number, to be nearly twice that price because of taxes and fees. Tell me the price, the whole price, and nothing but the price. Then we'll see how you really stack up in the marketplace.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Basics Of The Stock Market

Stock Market 101 - everything you need to know but were afraid to ask!

View Course »

Timing Your Spending

How to pay less by changing when you purchase.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

What is IRS Form 8824: Like-Kind Exchange

Ordinarily, when you sell something for more than what you paid to get it, you have a capital gain; when you sell it for less than what you paid, you have a capital loss. Both can affect your taxes. But if you immediately buy a similar property to replace the one you sold, the tax code calls that a "like-kind exchange," and it lets you delay some or all of the tax effects. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses Form 8824 for like-kind exchanges.

What are ABLE Accounts? Tax Benefits Explained

Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts allow the families of disabled young people to set aside money for their care in a way that earns special tax benefits. ABLE accounts work much like the so-called 529 accounts that families can use to save money for education; in fact, an ABLE account is really a special kind of 529.

What is IRS Form 8829: Expenses for Business Use of Your Home

One of the many benefits of working at home is that you can deduct legitimate expenses from your taxes. The downside is that since home office tax deductions are so easily abused, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tends to scrutinize them more closely than other parts of your tax return. However, if you are able to substantiate your home office deductions, you shouldn't be afraid to claim them. IRS Form 8829 helps you determine what you can and cannot claim.

What is IRS Form 8859: Carryforward of D.C. First-Time Homebuyer Credit

Form 8859 is a tax form that will never be used by the majority of taxpayers. However, if you live in the District of Columbia (D.C.), it could be the key to saving thousands of dollars on your taxes. While many first-time home purchasers in D.C. are entitled to a federal tax credit, Form 8859 calculates the amount of carry-forward credit you can use in future years, not the amount of your initial tax credit.

What is IRS Form 8379: Injured Spouse Allocation

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has the power to seize income tax refunds when a taxpayer owes certain debts, such as unpaid taxes or overdue child support. Sometimes, a married couple's joint tax refund will be seized because of a debt for which only one spouse is responsible. When that happens, the other spouse is said to be "injured" and can file Form 8379 to get at least some of the refund.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum