A few weeks ago I mentioned Travelocity's new a la carte activities feature that allows you to book trip activities (tours, shows, etc.) even if you didn't book the trip itself with Travelocity. When I put the program to the test, I found some of the same activities offered by Travelocity available for less elsewhere. Or so I thought.
Turns out I rushed to judgment. Here's where I went wrong. On Travelocity, I searched for Maui-based activities and selected the popular "Haleakala Sunrise Downhill Bike Ride," listed for $134 per person. Then I did an independent search of Maui's Haleakala tour operators and found another that listed for $99.84—about $34 less than Travelocity. The two tours I found are actually not the same, though. The $98.84 price is for the "Classic Sunrise Tour" from the tour operator Maui Downhill, which only goes to the 6,500-foot level of the volcano. The tour that Travelocity offers goes to the summit of Haleakala Crater, and retails for a little less than the base price ($149) of the same tour from Maui Downhill.
But the story doesn't end there, because if you purchase the tour directly from a different provider (Mountain Riders) online with a credit card—just as you would with Travelocity's activities function—Mountain Riders' price is just $125 (or $9 less than Travelocity). Head spinning yet? It should also be noted there are at least four such tour operators on the island, and two or more discounters who may be able to get you a good deal as well.
The moral of the story? Math is not my strong suit. The other moral? Travelocity's prices are more competive than I initially reported, but you should still shop around before booking. Even with that caveat, though, upon further review I give Travelocity's actitivies tab a qualified thumbs up.