Online city breaks cheaper if you go it aloneBut cheaper deals can be more risky
28 June 2012
Booking flights and accommodation direct with airlines and hotels is likely to be cheaper than booking a package with an online retailer, Which? Travel research has found.
We looked at 40 city breaks and in only six cases was it cheaper to buy the same flight and hotel as a package from an online agent as it was to go direct.
City break prices
In most cases the difference in price was less than £30, but it could be more substantial. For example when we looked at city breaks to Amsterdam, the difference between the package price on Lastminute.com and the direct price was £132.
We compared package prices on four websites - Citybreak1.co.uk, Expedia, Lastminute and Thomas Cook - with the cost of booking with the airline and hotel for four-day breaks in September. As well as Amsterdam, the cities were Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Istanbul (pictured), Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, Prague and Rome.
Packages can be safer
Although it may be cheaper to book your city break separately with the airline and the hotel, it's important to consider what financial protection you are getting.
If you book separately you will not have the protection of the Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (Atol) scheme. The scheme guarantees you would be refunded if your travel company goes bust before you travel, and brought home if the airline fails while you are away.
Atol protection must be included when you buy a flight with accommodation and/or car hire from one travel company. For more about how .