Six Best Travel Booking Tips You Don’t Use
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Travel reservation: you are wrong.
It took a while after the recession, but Americans are traveling more these days. Pleasure travel is expected to increase 1.9% this year, to more than 1.63 billion trips, according to the US Travel Association. But travel costs are also rising, with the average airfare approaching the $ 400 mark, and PKF Hospitality Research predicts hotel profits will exceed their pre-recession peak this year.
âYou really have to fight for cheap fares,â said Tom Parsons, Managing Director of BestFares.com. It’s not just about when you travel or what time you book, although these proven strategies can dramatically reduce the cost of your summer vacation. (Looking ahead, the high demand this year could mean that vacationers booking their summer travel after early May will pay bonuses of $ 200 or more, depending on destination, he said.)
To get the best travel deal, it’s time to add some new booking tips to your hunt:
1) Search solo
One quirk of travel reservation systems is that they will display the lowest fare available to accommodate your entire group, said Rick Seaney, general manager of FareCompare.com. âEveryone’s price is the same price,â he said. So if there are two of the cheapest seats left, one that’s a little more expensive and four that are even more expensive, it’s only that last option that will show up in your family of four search. Start your search for a group, then increase it until the prices change. As long as you don’t mind reserving seats in multiple transactions, you can save money by accepting cheaper fares for a few people in your party. (It doesn’t make it harder to find seats together, ” Seaney said.)
- Example of savings: An Expedia search for round-trip fares between New York and Orlando, Florida in mid-May for four people found seats for $ 370 per person. Looking for fewer people, we got two seats at $ 348 and two more at $ 363, all on the same flights. Savings: $ 58.
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2) Accumulated rewards
There are often missed opportunities here to double, triple or even quadruple the dive. For starters, there are the free reward programs offered by the hotel, car rental company, or airline. Then there are the travel booking site rewards, which are getting more and more robust. Hotels.com offers a free night for 10 booked; Expedia awards two points per dollar spent. Some online shopping malls operated by airlines and other offer sites like Ebates.com, offer extra cash back when you login through them to book. TO FatWallet.com, you will get up to 5% cash for bookings on Priceline and 6.5% on Travelocity, among other offers. And finally, there are additional points, miles, or cash back that can be earned by booking with a rewards credit card.
- Example of savings: Orbitz is offering 3% hotel rewards to members of its Orbitz Rewards program. Use his brand new Orbitz credit card, and it drops to 8%. The site also offers a 2% bonus for hotel bookings made on a mobile device, for up to 10% in rewards, which can be used to book future trips. Log in from FatWallet and earn 1-3 percent cash back, separately. Plus, you’ll get the rewards for your favorite hotel program.
3) hunt coupons
Before booking, check the discount codes of airlines, hotels and booking sites. JetBlue offers weekly Twitter cheeps under the handle @JetBlueCheeps, and many other airlines have regular offers through their email newsletters and websites, said Anne Banas, editor-in-chief of SmarterTravel.com. âIt can help you save money,â she said. Other codes offer to double or triple the reward bonuses that would normally be earned on the booking, a boon for travelers looking for a free flight or hotel stay.
- Example of savings: Spirit recently offered the code “10PCT” to save 10% on nonstop fares booked May 5-20 or May 28-June 8.
Read moreExtreme strategies for earning airline miles
4) Time your hunt
Data FareCompare.com found than the cheap seat pool in the system is highest on Tuesday afternoon. âAbout two-thirds of sales are Monday night, and airlines are scrambling to match them on Tuesday,â Seaney said. This isn’t a guarantee of a cheap rate, but it can’t hurt to give it a try.
- Example of savings: Earlier in April, airlines lowered last-minute round-trip weekend fares between Richmond, Va. And New York City to $ 161, about half the going rate for those who book in advance. .
5) be really flexible
The latest generation of booking engines aim to help travelers who don’t have a destination in mind, Banas said. On sites like Adioso and Google Flights, their search results show the current best fares from your home airport over a period of time.
- Example of savings: A San Francisco resident looking for a beach vacation in June might see at a glance that the $ 398 flight offer to Puerto Rico is more than $ 100 cheaper than the one to the Bahamas, and the half the price of tickets to Jamaica.
Read moreReduce confusion over reward program levels
6) Capitalize on price cuts
Not sure you get the best deal? Some sites are set up to help you get a refund. Booking site Tingo.com scans prices and automatically re-rents hotel stays if it detects a better price, sending you a credit for the price difference. There is also Yapta, which sends an alert after the price of a booked plane ticket drops, offering advice and airline policies to help get credit for the difference. (A word of warning: Airline change fees of up to $ 200 and restrictive policies often make reimbursement difficult.)
- Example of savings: Between booking and checking in for a week-long stay on the Big Island of Hawaii last fall, Tingo.com sent out three separate price drop notifications, resulting in a $ 261 credit. for the previous stay $ 1,762.