Going on a holiday? These days, all preparations and booking can be done without leaving your computer seat. Aside from not having to fall on a long queue, there are other perks that you stand to enjoy when booking tickets online.
One perk you’ll certainly enjoy is the ability to compare the deals, prices and other offerings easily. With this perk, you can compare travel offerings – airlines, hotels, car rentals, excursions, etc. – and be a savvy traveler who enjoys the better things for less. Don’t grab the first one that comes your way; be patient and check out your other options. Learn from these tips shared by Mitch Lipka in her blog When booking travel online, it pays to shop around posted in Reuters – Personal Finance Section.
“Her experience highlighted some important elements of travel searches: Being flexible can pay off, not only with dates but with destinations. And just as in retail, its pays to shop around because not all travel sites offer the same options.”
“Given the number of overlapping specialty search tools available, getting from research to the point of pulling the trigger and buying a ticket is a potentially endless pursuit for consumers.”
Here are the six travel tips that Lipka gathered from some travel experts “to make the most of your search time.”
- Set the timer for 15 minutes: It should not take you hours. “At what point is it worth going further to save a dollar?” says travel expert Russell Hannon of Breakthetravelbarrier.com.
- Pick a spread of sites: The thing you need to understand is that travel sites use several airfare search databases, and these may yield different results. Some experts recommend that you use a “combo of Google Flights, Skyscanner and Kayak,” as well as Hipmunk, Hopper, Momondo, AirfareWatchdog and Yapta.”
- Look for special deals: Do you want special prices or to enjoy loyalty incentives? You may want to try “online travel agencies like Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz.” Be aware though that they may not offer you extra options to be able to compare or charge you with additional booking fees. These travel agencies are also known to place sterner terms and conditions for purchases you’ll make through them, making changes quite cumbersome and expensive. If you have doubts that you may need to make changes, buy direct from the airline.
- Go rogue: It might be cheapest to book a flight to a destination you have no intention of visiting. Baffled? Here’s what Skiplagged said, “You can find a deal using a less-accepted means like booking a multi-leg trip but getting off at the first stop (the real destination) because it is actually cheaper.” The multiple destinations are something like “cheaper by the dozen.” You can buy this kind, but skip those destinations you are not keen on visiting.
- Future shop: Some travel sites has a feature that lets you see “predictive pricing.” This can provide you a preview of what may happen, which you can use to make a decision – when are you flying and how much will it cost you. For instance, Kayak can advise “shoppers to either “Buy” or “Wait.” Hopper will produce a report on a particular route, forecasting whether prices are rising or falling and make recommendations …” You may also want to use Google Flights that can show you the cost based on the day off the year that you want. By tweaking the number of days, the prices will change. Check it yourself.
- Set alerts: So you don’t have to be checking the changing rates so often, you can set alerts, such as DareCompare, Airfarewatchdog,and GetFlyr. Most travel websites have alert features. These will send you notifications each time a change takes place.
Booking travel online can make your life so much easy with its numerous perks. The ability to make comparisons between sites, prices, as well as to search online reviews to get the best of the lot, can give just the best deals and arrangements. Know, however, online bookings for travel is also riddled with risks.
With scams becoming prevalent online and with consumers booking travel online becoming the heavy targets, you have to be extra careful. Catey Hill of Marketwatch – Personal Finance Section shares some of these commonly practiced scams in her blog Booking Travel Online? Beware of These 4 Scams. Know what these rampant practices are, so you can avoid them. One important thing to remember is only to transact with legitimate, credible travel agencies. The deals may not provide you the quality of travel you want or ready to pay for. So be prudent.