Finding an affordable online vacation package or a cheap flight is great, but not if it means sacrificing quality. Learn what to look for to ensure your next vacation is a success with 5 ways you didn’t know about online vacations.
1. They Know Who’s a Mac and Who’s a PC
Last year, Orbitz tracked people’s online activities to test out a little experiment: Do Mac users spend more on travel than PC users? Turns out that on average, Mac users lay out $20 to $30 more per night on hotels and go for more stars, according to the Wall Street Journal. As a result, the online travel site shows these users different, more expensive travel options first. To avoid inadvertently paying more, sort results by price.
2. Their Software Doesn’t Always Sync With the Hotels
A guaranteed reservation is almost impossible to come by-but the risk of finding out your flight or hotel is overbooked increases with third-party providers. The middleman’s software isn’t immune to system errors, so always call the hotel or airline to make sure your booking was processed.
3. Double-Check Packaged Deals
Ever notice how travel sites recommend one-stop shopping, like a hotel, rental car, and tour package all in one click? These deals usually feature travel that no one wants, like flights with multiple layovers. Check the fine print.
4. A Travel Agent Might Be Better
According to the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the average service fee for booking airline tickets in 2009 was around $20. Yet that can outweigh $100 or more in straight savings, as well as added benefits (like upgrades and better flights) you can get from a travel agent. The New York Times’ frugal traveller did a series of test runs, finding the best available flights online and comparing that to what a travel agent could do. The results: usually, the travel agent came in cheaper-fees included.
5. You Won’t Build Hotel or Airline Loyalty
Don’t book online if you want to rack up those miles or points-at most, you’ll get the minimum, and your booking won’t make you eligible for any special offers, like double points on weekend stays. Work directly with a company or travel agent to build up the loyalty points that will get you upgrades and priority rewards.