Update: #6. Not Checking Regional Airports and Discount Airlines
The smaller airports are gaining traction over standard international hubs. These include airports like Midway vs Chicago O’Hare or Beauvais vs Paris de Gaulle or Toronto Island vs Pearson International. Smaller airports are a pleasure to travel through. Here are a few tips on How do you Find Flights to Small Airports. As well, another advantage of smaller hubs is that discount airlines utilize these airports. It’s with airlines like Allegiant, Frontier, Jet Blue, and Southwest that you can find flight savings with a no-frills carrier. Just ensure that your discount airline add-on costs don’t equal more than your regular airline pricing.
Searching for the least expensive and best flight itineraries is a skill that takes practice. If you fly often, you likely know the best process. If you fly less frequently, it’s good to keep current on search hacks. Here are the top five flight search mistakes that infrequent travelers make.
#5. Not booking as couples or groups
As with buying multiples of retail items, buying 2, 4 or 5 flights, rooms or vacation packages can also give better deals. It’s easy enough to check. Consider getting the group together for a travel search evening and see what kind of deals you find.
#4. Not booking immediately
When you find a great travel deal, there’s a tendency to take extra time to consider it, to talk with travel companions or to check out other costs associated with the trip. However, when we do that, we risk losing the rate. It’s best to go ahead and book the deal immediately. It’s a reasonable risk to take because most travel providers offer 24 hours to cancel without penalty. Here’s more on What to Know About Travel Refunds and Cancellations.
#3. Not clearing your browser cache
Have you noticed when you search an airline flight or hotel option then return to that same option, the price has already increased? The travel search sites claim the increase is due to supply vs demand whereas others claim the search sites save your search data and intentionally increase the price each time you return. Independent tests continue to show lower rates when we clear our browser data/cookies/cache before starting a search.
To clear your cache and cookies, most browsers require a process similar to this: Go to Browsing history. Download history. Cookies and other site and plug-in data. Cached images and files. Click Clear browsing data. Quit all browser windows and re-open the browser. Cookies can also be disabled completely, usually by changing the privacy settings in your browser. This process may vary based on various browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Explorer). Update: In Chrome, it’s even easier: Just click on the three dots dropdown menu in the top right-hand corner and select New Incognito Window.
#2. Not signing up for price alerts
Most aggregators and Online Travel Agents (OTAs) have equipped their search sites to offer price alerts. There are alerts you can set before you book and alerts for after you book. Be sure to sign up for these alerts so you’ll know if there’s been a price drop. For details on how to set flight alerts, read: 6 Travel Alerts Worth Setting.
#1. Not searching enough sites
It’s true. The more travel sites you search, the better deals you’ll find. Taking the time to thoroughly search the aggregator sites (Kayak, Skyscanner, etc), the airline sites (American Air, Delta, etc) and the auction sites (Priceline, Hotwire) is the best tip for finding best prices. But downloading multiple travel search apps and keying in your travel details every time is time-consuming.
One easy way to check multiple sites is with Opptee Travel SearchTM. Opptee is a single travel app that enables you to choose your favorite travel searches with just one download. You get 99+ of the best travel search sites in one place with access to thousands of travel options.
One of Opptee’s time-saving features allows you to enter travel details once and the app automatically populates those details across multiple travel searches making comparison shopping fast and easy.
One final reminder – because you find the best price on a particular site once don’t assume that same site or app will return the best price next time. It’s wise to check multiple options.
Online travel searches are moving targets. By knowing these common flight search mistakes you’re likely to find the best options: best price and best itinerary.
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