A friend of mine just came back from a trip using the vacation consolidator Apple Vacations. Vacation consolidators buy packages in bulk, whether it is hotel rooms, airfares, or both, and they pass the savings on to their clients who benefit from their expertise in finding better accommodations and flights than they could book on their own.
The best consolidators know what a good package includes, like a hotel for 7 nights in a plantation mansion in Lahaina, Maui, with direct access to the beach (the only resort with this feature), and then combining that with airfare from LAX for $1554.
For my friend Wendy, who was going to Costa Rica to check out jobs there, they have a package for 7 nights at the Flamingo Beach resort (rated four golden apples, meaning this is an excellent resort) with flight from LAX for $836.
They also offer just hotels or just flights to destinations ranging from Budapest to Tortola, so check with them after you check online and see what a consolidator can do for you that you can't do for yourself.
Sometimes it is best to have someone else do the work while you enjoy the fruit (apples) of their labors:)