How To Save When Booking Travels Online
There is no point in paying someone to compare flight rates and room accommodations when you can do it yourself on travel websites like Hotwire.com, Booking.com and Expedia.com. However, you do need to be extra careful as you vet these sites yourself because if you are not cautious, you may end up paying more in the long run. It takes patience, dedication, and savvy to locate a truly good deal online for your travels. In order to save big, follow the 7 ways to save money when booking online travels below. You can be sure that utilizing these tips will pay off.
Check Fares Frequently
Airfares should be checked as often as possible (from different web browsers of course). It is quite possible for airlines to have ten to fifteen varying price points for the same flight throughout any given day. In short, rates can and are changing all the time. Research well in advance to have time to compare rates daily, this way you will recognize when a good deal has come along. When it does you will need to book ASAP. Good deals do not come around often! Plus, the price you may see at 9am on Tuesday may change by 3pm on that same exact Tuesday. Act Fast.
Utilize Rate Alert Sites
It is impossible to view every rate change that takes place whether it is airfare or room and board. Luckily for us, there are websites that will alert you of each rate change as long as you supply them with your email. Hotwire itself offers a Trip Watcher and so does Kayak. They will let you know the minute prices drop. The only kicker is that you do have to check your email often. Or be smart enough to set up an alert system through your email. Also consider checking their special Deals section that provides data about the cheapest hotel and airfare rates available at the moment. In addition, you can save by using Hotwire Coupons. Twitter is another unknown, yet great place to spot a flash sale on airfare. Pay attention to travel focused chats on Twitter as they can potentially increase your chances of spotting a flash sale. Twitter is a great place to find unadvertised sales saving you up to 60% off. Follow Twitter, OneTravel, Orbitz.com, Airfarewatchdog, and Getaroom.com closely to have a good chance of catching a price drop the moment it becomes available.
No Deals During Holidays
All bets are off when traveling during the Holidays. You will not find April flight prices during December no matter what airline you have been tracking. Holiday flights will always be more expensive than off-season, everyday flights. When it comes to booking holiday flights, book fast. The longer you wait thinking the price will drop, the better your chances are at paying more for your airline ticket or hotel room. Deals can be found on these flights but only if you research and book way in advance.
If you are willing to be flexible with your travel plans then your price ranges may vary, even during the holidays. CheapAir has shown that travelers can save an average of $250 dollars per airline ticket during Thanksgiving by shifting their travel dates to depart the Monday prior and return the Tuesday after. Thus, it is a good idea to play around with travel dates and compare your prices often. Locating this type of deal will take extra dedication during your time researching both airline and booking websites. Although, the lower prices you reap are worth the extra effort.
Stay Three Nights vs. Two
You can yield major savings on room rates by booking a three night stay instead of a two. As a rule hotels offer much better room rates for three night stays. What you may pay for a one night will end up being forth the price for a three night. Another effective cost saving strategy is a Sunday night check in after the weekend rates have dropped significantly.
Book 4-7 Weeks in Advance
When booking airfare it is best to do so between four to seven weeks in advance. Keep in mind the day you book does not matter, just the time frame. There will be more sale rates available on a Tuesday or Wednesday flight rather than on the weekends - not because the weekend does not have sale fares but because weekend departures are in much higher demand. Those weekend sale rates will be scooped up quick if you are not careful and plan accordingly. However, don’t give up if you have lost the four to seven week time frame, especially when looking at holiday flights. Any unsold seats will experience a price drop as each and every airlines goal is to fill up every seat on every plane. You just have to be open to the options that become available as they may not be the most convenient. These bargain price holiday flights will most likely be red eye flights with super inconvenient departure hours.
Always Read the Fine Print
Reading the fine print when booking both hotel and airfare online is crucial. You should be paying attention to both the terms of the website as well as the ticket. Airlines that offer super cheap airfare can have tricks up their sleeves! Expect extra fees if your airline ticket price was too good to be true (unless you have already read the fine print). These fees can be anywhere from $10 to $50 dollars! You may be charged $10 if you do not print your boarding pass at home or $50 for any carry on bag you may bring! You are paying way less for your initial ticket because these fees are not included in the regular price (why many carry ons are ‘free’ on other flights). This tip for reading the fine print also applies to hotel room rates as your booking website may not have included all taxes and fees in the price! You would be in for a rude awakening when you moosey on up to the check in desk and are slammed with a major fee. All 'bargains' may not be bargains at all and you may end up paying more in the long run. Before pressing that 'purchase' button, you need to thoroughly ensure you know exactly what you are paying for by reading the fine print.