From Trivago to Expedia, there are many travel booking websites springing up in recent years. While they offer a wide range of air ticket and hotel options at a steal and at your convenience; are you really getting your money's worth when you book your holidays through them?
It is time to clear the air and delve into the additional costs and hidden fees when you make a flight or hotel reservation online.
Pros - It is definitely hassle free as you spend less time on researching and making multiple bookings. You might find good bargains when you combined both airfare and accommodation.
Cons - Many packages limit you to travel only within a certain period; if not, details of the airline or hotel are not revealed during the booking process. You might end up with a hotel far away from the airport or tourist attractions.
Solution - Research, research, research! Plan your holiday ahead and book your package as early as possible.
Next step - If you do not mind an adventure not knowing what to expect, by all means, book via the third party travel booking websites. If you like to be in control of your itinerary, book directly from the airlines and hotels.
Pros - There will be many offers and bargain deals on third party travel sites if you have the patience to sift through the countless webpages.
Cons - The rates offered to you might exclude extra charges like taxes, breakfast or wifi and you might be in for a surprise at the checkout page. As for cheaper airfares, they might have very limited options such as certain travel period, no refunds, limited baggage etc. They might also offer less protection and you will most likely be stranded if you miss your flight.
Solution - Always read the terms and conditions carefully before booking. Know what you are paying for and what you are not.
Next step - Go ahead and book if the fine print is in order. If you are not satisfied with the terms and conditions, book directly from the airlines and hotels.
Ease of Booking
Pros - Third party websites have comparison tools to help you sift through available air tickets and accommodations. There is no need to open many browsers to compare different hotel and flight rates. Checking out is secure and simple.
Cons - You might not have the luxury of last minute reservation changes and these websites are less likely to entertain you if you need to get their attention.
Solution - Use reputable third party travel websites, test them by giving them a call or dropping them an email to gauge their responses and attitudes.
Next step - If you are not particular about details, you can go ahead and click the "purchase" button; if not, just go with the actual airline or hotel websites.
Pros - These sites will shortlist options for you and let you see an overview of the availability of the dates, location and prices.
Cons - You may miss out on exclusive deals ranging from a free night's stay to loyalty programs or room credit offered on the hotel or airline actual site. If you are lucky, some airlines have hotel deals listed on their own websites.
Solution - Research and compare your options via both the third party sites and actual hotel and airline websites.
Next step - See which sites have the better deal and place your reservation!
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