The Truth About Travel Websites
You may be starting to think about your holiday travel for later on this year and you may be like countless others and head to a travel website to find a deal. Here are a few things you should know before you log on.
The deal you get may depend on the computer you have. A new article in The Wall Street Journal, Orbitz keeps track of how much Mac and Windows users spend on hotels. Turns out Mac users spend more on hotels than Windows users do so the website is programmed to show Mac users the most expensive deals first.
Sometimes checking with a travel agent first could be a cheaper option. The New York Times checked and for longer trips like international travel, going through a travel agent could save you money, even though travel agents charge a fee. One flight to China cost 17 hundred dollars to book online, but a travel agent could book the same flight for about 13 hundred. That's not always the case though for flights in the U.S. so if you're looking for a deal on a flight to Grandma's house on December 23, you likely won't get one. Travel agents may also have access to special perks for you once you get to your destination. Like if you're going to Hawai'i, your travel agent may be able to book you into a surfing class or get you a deal on a helicopter tour of the islands.
If you want to get miles or points on your rewards credit card, you may not get all of them if you book through an online travel site and you may not get any special deals or other offers booking through a third party. Work with a travel agent or book it yourself directly with the airline to get the maximum amount of points or miles.
The packages aren't always a great deal. Most travel sites only give you the deal if you get the flight, hotel and rental car and sometimes you don't need the car or the flight has a bunch of layovers or the car you need, they can't rent you. If that's the case, then just book through the airline directly.
You may also not always find out that the hotel or flight is all booked up, so call the hotel or airline directly to double check the status. Oftentimes you're flying standby when you book with a third party website.
Last minute travel "deals" may not always be the huge deal that they used to be and you may not see every option when you go through a travel website. The best time to book is about six to eight weeks before departure.