What Flight-Hotel-Car Rental sites are you using?
Finding a flight
When you’re looking for a good deal on a flight there are number of sites you can use, either as a guest or as a member. It’s a good idea to start your research as far out as you can, a year is at the extreme but if you can get plan that far out, do it.
Use the tools that are available like alerts on several sites if you’re going to put some meaningful effort into it. From all the searches I’ve conducted over the years I don’t see a great deal of difference between the sites if you plan.
I have however noticed some interesting techniques the travel sites use to maximize their profit (hey, they’re out to make money after all). I’ve also read research from other sites that confirm my experience. Most of the major travel sites have the technological ability to extract your demographics, if not specifically you. They can even do that if you use the same computer routinely and don’t clear your cookies, cache and history (and even if you do probably).
The price varies based on:
What days of the week you travel – If you travel the same days as business people, expect to pay more.
If you travel on or near a holiday – Ever traveled anywhere domestically by air during the holidays? International can be worse.
The time of year – I indicated on other pages that there are high and low seasons for virtually every tourist mecca. If you travel during high season there are more flights and consequently the price is lower. This is where planning comes in to play so you can secure your perfect seat in advance.
The country – If you travel to a small country that doesn’t cater to tourists in a big way or invest much in air infrastructure, be ready to pay. I’ve been places where you get off the plane and walk to a small terminal.
The type of device you use to search – Interestingly enough, I’ve read research that suggests expensive devices are recognized by the search engines and the assumption is that the holder is able to pay more for a ticket and the price reflects that. So, consider performing your query on an old device or in a library.
The time of day you search – This is even relevant it turns out. The time of day influences the price although the degree to which it does I’m unsure. I’ve heard, check in the morning or late at night.
Travel search engines you use – From what I can tell and I think research bears this out, there isn’t much variation in price between the major players on average. Yes, there may be specials or something similar or you may find yourself using a country specific travel search engine, then there very well could be a difference. But, my experience is use any of the top sites and you’ll be fine as a general rule.
How frequently you search – If you don’t change devices or clear your search history, the frequency with which you search for a flight may imply desperation and that impacts the price. They’ve got you and now it. So, change devices
If you are a frequent traveler – If you travel a lot you may be able to get a deal due to your relationship with a specific airline or due to your accumulated points. Frequent travelers get a bonus so use it.
As I indicated, you may not be surprised to know that if you search using an expensive tablet the assumption is you can pay more for a ticket and your results will reflect that.
I found it quite interesting that the prices reflected in your search are impacted on your device type, i.e. phone, tablet, desktop (the type and associated expense).
Also, your location is critical. Are you at home or the office? Are you located in a high income area? Remember these devices know where you are and even if you turn off geo-location the first point upstream is giving location out. Think the data collectors don’t know where you are just because you turn y our geo-location off on your phone? To communicate, the device needs to let the towers know where it is, and therefor where you are.
Just keep in mind that the vendors are after as much information on you they can acquire to game the price.
Finding a Room
I’ve covered this already a bit but locating a good room in my opinion is critical. Like I indicated earlier, if I’m going to be somewhere more than a day or two I rent a condominium, apartment, house or something similar. If you use one of the online services the cost is probably going to be the same and quite often less. Aside from the cost being similar, when you rent a condo you have privacy and an entire place to have at your disposal. And, this option opens up many other parts of the country for potential places to stay.
I’ve even rented a condo on several occasions when I was only going to be visiting for a day or two, just because the price was right.
Hotels are great and have their uses don’t get me wrong because I use them as well. Among the many functions of a hotel are:
You can for instance, just show up and pretty much be guaranteed a room, unless you show up during tourist season. They will also take just about any credit card, there are other travelers you can potentially visit with and solicit advice with, With the other options, you should plan a bit but in my opinion, you’ll love it.
Renting a Car
You need a car? First be sure there you just can’t use public transportation. Being from the U.S. I was accustomed to driving everywhere but when I traveled to the first country with a good public transportation system I got used to it in a hurry. No parking, tickets, gas, maintenance, accidents and the list goes on. But, if you do need to rent a car they should be easy to find. Before you leave the country be sure and sign up for a membership with one of the major car rental agencies. But before you do that check to see if they have an agency at your destination.
Oh and don’t forget to check to see if you need some sort of international driver’s license. Not all countries are the same and at one time I actually had an international license. I picked it up while I was in Germany which enabled me to drive a personal automobile. Typically, when you rent a car you are also allowed to drive temporarily but best check to be sure. You definitely do not want to get pulled over in a foreign country. You’ll be paying the fine up front because they are well aware that once you leave the country, it’s over. If you do happen to talk you way into paying later at the station the locals will probably send notice to your rental agency and put it on your bill, with an additional fee no doubt.