Save Money With Online Travel Booking
Rising oil prices and increasing travel demand spell higher costs for your summer vacation. But online travel booking services still offer good deals; you just have to search harder, or use an online travel service to find that flight, hotel or rental car at the best possible price...
Book Your Vacation Online and Save
The big four online travel booking services are Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia, and Priceline. Star Trek fans know Priceline as the place where you "name your own price" with encouragement from "The Negotiator," William Shatner. The other three booking services follow the more traditional take-it-or-leave it pricing scheme.
The catch with Priceline is that you don't know exactly what you are buying until the price you name is accepted. You can specify the dates between which you are willing to travel and the general areas of your origin and destination. Then you place your bid. If it's accepted, you pay the price and then learn which airline, what time, and what airports are involved. Flexibility is a must, obviously.
The other three major online booking services let you specify airport, dates, and times. Then you get a number of flights that meet your criteria, ranked from lowest to highest fare. However, not all fees are included in the fares, so the differences between them are only approximate. Airlines are not the only travel option you can book online. Cars and RVs can be rented at the same sites mentioned. Ocean cruises and European train tours are available, too. Tips that can save you money when booking travel include:
- Booking three weeks in advance to get the lowest fare
- Flying during the middle of the week rather than on weekends
- Considering multiple-stop flights, not just non-stops
- Exploring bundled travel packages that include rental cars, hotel rooms, attraction tickets, and other features.
- Check all of the major travel sites, not just one. They often offer different prices on the same flight.
More Tips For Savvy Vacationers
In addition to sites that let you book travel directly, there are many search engines which specialize in finding the best deals on multiple booking sites, such as Kayak.com. Others specialize in packages to meet various tastes. WhichBudget.com will help you get the best deal on air travel in a foreign country, by searching local airlines you may never have heard of.
Check the price of your flight even after you book it. Sometimes, the price will drop, and then you may be eligible for a refund of the difference, always in the form of vouchers for future travel. However, most airlines charge a re-booking fee, so you will have to weigh that against the potential savings. Yapta.com will track a flight that you've already purchased and sent you an email alert if the price drops.
Hotels.com is your gateway to over 130,000 hotels around the world. Frequent travelers can earn a free night's stay after booking ten nights through this site. Recently, I was traveling with my family from New York to South Carolina, and by the time we hit Richmond, Virginia, we were ready to stop for the night. The exit was 5 miles ahead, so I logged into Hotels.com on my Droid, and quickly found a great deal that saved me about $75. (Just in case you're wondering, I was in the passenger seat.)
BedAndBreakfast.com specializes in small B&B accommodations. HomeAway.com connects you with homeowners willing to rent their homes for weeks or months at a time. Hostelz.com lets you find and book a bunk in a hostel.
Do you have any money-saving travel tips? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 20 Jul 2011
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Save Money With Online Travel Booking (Posted: 20 Jul 2011)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved