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Travel

Steal These Deals: Travel Sleuth

He scours the web for packages and last-minute deals.

Working on a book of interviews with Hollywood screenwriters and Broadway playwrights over the past four years, Kevin Hylton often played the part of distressed coast-to-coast traveler. And he reprised the role a few times a year for leisure trips and business travel for his day job as an attorney. Now, along with his book release in August, he can boast a collection of travel tricks he’s learned to score some big savings. “I’ve become more aggressive looking for deals,” says Hylton. “It’s a lot easier now because you have so many options online and everything’s so much cheaper with the economy gone south.”

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Hylton’s favorite travel Web site is Travel­ocity, where he’s found package deals for less than the cost of the flight alone. For example, in January, he found a flight from New York City, where he lives, to Washington, D.C., for a pricey $429. But he was able to book a bundled trip he found on the site that included a round-trip flight and three-day car rental for just $199.

E-mails from various sites help Hylton watch for the best bargains. Last year, an alert from Kayak.com let him know that the fare for an American Airlines flight to Los Angeles that he had booked on Travelocity for $429 had dropped to $289. After a call to Travelocity, he was refunded the difference. He also receives weekly e-mails with deals from TravelZoo.com, which bagged him a $99-a-night stay, including two 60-minute massages, at a resort in Vermont.

Top Tips

Package a flight with a car rental or hotel stay for the best vacation bargains. Set up alerts at Kayak.com and other travel sites. Check Craigslist for cheap weekend apartment rentals.