Booking travel online might seem like a simple task, but it can be more complicated than you think, especially when you consider the hidden fees and endless lines of fine print.
Here are five tips to help you avoid the worst booking mistakes you can possibly make.
#1 Booking Too Late
If you think you have all the time in the world to book your airfare or hotel, think again. Reservations can fill up fast for peak travel times... leaving you with a big, fat NO VACANCY sign. I always say, if you want to be somewhere specific on a specific date book well in advance. Sure, a lower rate might come along, but it's better to have a reservation at a reasonable price than no reservation at all.
#2 Booking Too Soon
Contrary to what I just said, booking early can be a fatal error when it comes to finding a great, bargain basement deal. If you're not locked into specific travel dates and can be flexible you can take advantage of last minute pricing on distressed inventory from airlines, hotels and other travel providers. Flexible search tools on booking sites can help you determine which travel dates are the cheapest of all.
#3 Not Comparison Shopping
Comparing prices is the cardinal rule of booking travel. No website has the best price every time, so it serves you well to check multiple sites to make sure you're getting the lowest price available.
#4 Ignoring the Fine Print
Many travelers have lived to rue the day that they booked a trip without reading the fine print. From rental car stipulations on mileage and insurance to airfare ticket changes and hotel cancellations, not knowing the rules can be costly.
#5 Ignoring the Fees
In recent years, travelers have been nickled and dimed to death by new fees that can inflate the cost of that so-called discounted ticket. Before pressing that purchase button, make sure you understand what extra fees you might incur during your trip, such as fees for checked baggage, seat assignments, ticket changes or even carry-on bags. That great fare might wind up being the most expensive option once you add everything up.
Follow these simple rules and you'll be on your way to booking your trip with confidence.
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