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10 things travel sites won’t tell you - MarketWatch

Online booking agencies let you be your own travel agent. But you’ll pay for the privilege.

1. “Don’t assume our prices are the lowest.”

For the past 10 years, so-called online travel agencies, like Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity, have been gaining ground in the booking business. And nowadays, they’re the most popular choice by far, for airfare and hotel-stay shoppers alike: Nearly a third of travelers book a room through third-party sites, while less than a quarter turn to the next most-used option, the hotels’ own sites, according to a January 2012 report by travel market research firm PhoCusWright. When it comes to airfare bookings, online agencies land an even larger share: 37%. More: www.marketwatch.com