Holidays can be a big money goal but they’re also part of big business and full of money traps from hidden booking fees to costs that jump by the second.
One of the most annoying things about booking a flight is the uncanny timeliness of airfares to almost double in price the long you browse. Another is the often hidden fee-free screen option when purchasing tickets.
Here are our tips on avoiding these money traps.
1. Clear your cookies.
Money trap: Ever gone to book a flight for $99, then checked out another airline’s deals, only to come back to your original choice and found it has nearly doubled in price?
This is because your data is being tracked, which means your research is being noted and it’s not the cosmos delivering you those insightful deals on Hawaii.
But a recent test of the Virgin Australian and Qantas budget carrier Jetstar’s booking websites, found that if you clear your cookies in between searches, then the price you original see, is most likely the one you will pay.
Indeed if you need to run a quick check on prices, try and use your phone internet, but just make sure you are using a different Wi-fi service – just in case that’s what is being used, rather than your IP address to identify you.
2. Expand your options.
Typically the default choice when buying flights or booking various travel options is to pay with credit card and that attracts a fee.
But if you scroll down, or expand your options and are not blinded by being pushed for time to buy, you will see that you can pay via your Internet banking where you won’t pay any fees.
Most airlines also offer exemptions from fees on certain credit cards.
Indeed over the past month, the airlines have reduced their credit card and debit fees in response to complaints made to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission about excessive surcharges. The ACCC now has the power to penalize travel companies for charging too much on cards.
3. Avoid booking on popular days of the week.
Unless you want to pay premium and join the herds of people who have made the most of the weekend (lucky them) then avoid booking on Fridays and Sundays.
If you have to travel on these days, you are likely to find cheaper deals earlier in the day than as it rolls on.
4. Use happy hour or advanced bookings.
Life doesn’t always work this way, but where you can try to book your flights in advance or when you know that deals are happening. Virgin Australia offers a happy hour service where deals can often be found.
5. Make your data work for you.
While travel spam in your email inbox might be annoying, it can also bring you good deals on where you want to go.
So if you can get past the alerts, try customizing your mail to ensure that you only get the deals of your future travel destination.