We've got a wedding in the family coming up, and I'm looking at travel accommodations. Unfortunately, the place where the happy couple wants to have their wedding is in a little town 100 miles away from the nearest airport.

This should be really straightforward, but when I went on Orbitz to try and set it up, using the standard workflow (package deal, hotel + car + flight), I cannot for the life of me figure out how to actually set it up!

It only wants to give me hotels that are near the airport. When I'm on the hotel selection page, it offers to let me change the destination, but then when I try to change the destination for the hotel, it tries to change the destination for the entire trip and gives me an error message that there are no airports nearby, which is the entire point of changing the hotel location!

I tried calling Orbitz customer support and got nowhere. The front-line support person turned out to be some sort of idiot who simply could not get it through her head that I was looking for a hotel that is in a town 100 miles away from the airport, no matter how many times I explained it. When I asked to be escalated, I got put on hold and never taken off, even an hour later; it really felt like a "make this customer go away" tactic rather than any good-faith attempt to get me through to someone who could help.

This is ridiculously frustrating, because I cannot possibly be the first person to want to travel to someplace that isn't conveniently close to an airport. It makes no sense for this not to be a scenario that Orbitz has supported for at least 10 years now, but I simply can't figure out how it's done.

I'm just about at my wits' end here over what should be completely straightforward and simple. Does anyone know how to make this work?

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    Umm.. book the flight. Then book the hotel separately. It's really not that hard. (And I'd recommend against calling others "idiots") – Doc Aug 3 '19 at 16:34
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    There are other booking sites in the world besides Orbitz. If you can't easily achieve what you want with Orbitz, it might be simpler to try another site than to spend so much time trying to use Orbitz for something it doesn't want to do. – Nate Eldredge Aug 3 '19 at 16:55
  • @doc Sure, booking the hotel separately would work, but then it becomes more expensive if it's not a package. And... seriously, what would you call someone who can't get such a simple concept through their head? – Mason Wheeler Aug 3 '19 at 16:55
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it’s really a rant against Orbitz. – Michael Seifert Aug 3 '19 at 17:01
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    The default for who? I've never heard of them, and this issue does not arise on the sites I have used, so really you're ranting that someone doesn't do what you want them to, when there is no requirement for them to do so, and no requirement for you to use them. – Nij Aug 4 '19 at 5:30

It works just fine on sites like Orbitz and Expedia. Im not quite sure what your problem is.

For Orbitz: Click on "packages" and put the "small town" into the "fly to" field. You will be first asked to select the hotel in "small town" and then the flights to the nearest airport.

Although you can book this as a package, it's typically much easier and cheaper to book flights and hotels separate. The package savings are minimal and you typically get a better deal when optimizing separately.

(No endorsement or advertising intent): I typically use hipmunk.com, since it has much better flight search display than most other websites and does a good job in reducing the "noise" of flights options that are just worse versions of an existing option.

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  • Nope, I tried that too, and it says there are no airports nearby. – Mason Wheeler Aug 3 '19 at 20:18
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    @MasonWheeler I tried this with Orbittz and Expedia for a location which is pretty far out of the way and it worked just fine. If you still have trouble, it may be related to your specific location, which I don't know and can't test. In any case, booking it separately is almost always easier & cheaper than a package. Package deals or more hype than substance. Also with a wedding, you probably want a chunk of rooms in the same place, and that's always better to work with the hotel directly – Hilmar Aug 5 '19 at 10:36

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