Same flight, but four different prices

Last week I booked travel arrangements to Iceland for a story I'll be writing this summer as part of my American Adventurer series. My search for the best flight demonstrates exactly why it makes sense to shop around every time.

I checked each of the three major online agencies (Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity) and the airline itself (Icelandair) and got four different prices for the same flight. Here are the details.

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I needed to fly to Reykjavik on June 30 and return to Boston July 8. Icelandair has the only direct flight on this route, so I first checked Icelandair's website. Total price for two people, after all taxes and fees: $1,802.04.

Next up, Orbitz. Same flight, same everything: $1,779.02 including the site's booking fee. It cost less to book on Orbitz than directly through the airline.

After that I checked Travelocity. There the same flight cost $1,817.20—anywhere from $15 to $40 more than the other sites.

Last up, Expedia. I found the same flight there for a total price of $1,767.04, a savings of $33 to $50 for the same exact flight.

And that, my friends, is why shopping around is the single most important thing you can do as a travel consumer.

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