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10 things travel sites won’t tell you - MarketWatch

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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