Finally! Your Freedom to Travel...

Finally! Your Freedom to Travel...

My Take On Online Travel Sites

 It almost seems you can’t watch TV for more than about 30 minutes without seeing an ad for an online travel site. Name your price! Stay at a four-star hotel for a one-star price! Get a refund if someone books the same room for a lower price! Sounds enticing, right?

 While I always book my travel online, I seldom use these sites, preferring to visit the websites of specific airlines or hotels. Am I spending more than I would if I used the “competition sites”? Perhaps I am…but there’s a method to my madness.

 With respect to air travel, I think it makes a lot of sense to stick with one or two airlines and amass frequent flyer miles or points. In doing this, I’ve been able to take quite a few free trips, and I wouldn’t even consider myself an extremely frequent flyer. My typical trip, from San Diego to Chicago and back, earns me a nice mileage reward.

 Now if price is your number one determinant, and you don’t care which airline you fly, then by all means, get onto your travel site of choice, plug in your dates and destination, and choose the option that gets you where you want to go for the lowest fare. Since you almost certainly will be flying a bunch of different airlines if you do this regularly, you won’t be doing much to work your way toward free trips, but you’ll be saving as you go…and that may be more important to you.

 Moving on to hotels, the same thing applies. If you belong to a hotel frequent traveler program, it makes sense to try to stay at that chain…unless you’d rather roll the dice and ensure you get the lowest price, regardless of the brand. I usually know where I want to stay when I travel, and I’m willing to perhaps pay a bit more to book there, but you may have different priorities.

 Car rentals are the only instances when I’ve used the online travel sites that allow you to choose from various suppliers. I simply don’t rent cars often enough to benefit from a frequent user program, so my intent is going to be to get the biggest bang for my buck. I don’t like using unknown brands, but it’s amazing how much you can save by comparing the “big boys” against their more reasonably priced options.

 See you online…maybe!