As summer approaches, the rising costs of travel have been anything but pretty. A study released this month revealed that 37% plan to spend less than $500 on vacation, as families are choosing to take to the road instead of flying.
Can you remember the last time you booked a trip without using the Internet? Did you know that summer airfare has jumped from $30 to $60 on average since 2010, according to an AOL survey. The same study showed that 37.2% of travels believe expensive airfare is the biggest summer travel pet peeve. As inflation within the hospitality industry continues to rise, why wouldn’t consumers turn to other sources to fulfill their travel urges?
Whether it’s a “staycation” or an extravagant safari somewhere in Africa, the attitude of saving when you travel has become a universal mindset. Thanks to technology both web and mobile, new opportunities to save on summer travel have arisen, and with it new opportunities for cyber thieves.
Travel + Technology = Savings
It’s extremely rare that you would book vacation without price comparison-shopping these days. Thanks to sites such as Kayak and Travelocity.com, it is easy to find the best deals around.
While these forms of savings have been around forever, social networks have added new forms of savings. Today hotels are offering room specials exclusively for fans of their Facebook page.
With airfare prices on an upward path, sites like Yapta.com can help ensure you receive the best deal by tracking flight prices before you buy, sending email alerts when prices are within your range. For those who already purchased your flight, Yapta can help you earn that refund but letting you know when the price of your flight drops.
Farecompare.com, a website that helps aggregates the best flights, shared some insights on when it’s the best to shop. Key findings where, that Tuesdays are the best time to buy airline tickets. Try to so at 3pm EST for even better results. Cheapest flights are in the morning, and Wednesday’s is the cheapest day to fly.
For those driving, thanks to new forms of technology and social media, services such as Autoslash, will take your already booked rental info and if a better deal comes across the site, automatically rebook you at the lower rate.
Then there is Zipcar, a service where you can rent a car for an hour to days, often cheaper than car rental companies. The only down side, is it requires you to pay a membership fee.
My Favorite and usually offers the best savings to quality ratio is Getaround.com, a social care rental service, which allows owners to safely rent out their unused cars to trusted drivers.
Keeping with the rising trend of social sharing, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to book unique spaces around the globe either online or mobile. Airbnb, currently offers 110,000 unique listings available in more than 13,000 cities and 181 countries, with a wide range of prices.
Technology brings both Savings and Thieves
With multiple options to save popping up everyday, being a smarter online shopper is more important than ever.
Earlier this month, I witnessed a clear example of the younger generation’s ignorance to trust technology when traveling. In a rush to meet my friends for dinner, a trio of lost tourists in my area caught my attention. Approaching late hours, I figured I should offer a helping hand — what came next was just upsetting.
Three young girls, probably in their 20s, had just arrived from France and were trying to find the building where they had believed to sublet an apartment. Realizing it was my building; I asked to see the listing. Opening to a craigslist page, it became obvious they had been duped — and unfortunately — were out both a down deposit and sum.
Here are some of the key mistakes the traveling trio made
- Using Craigslist.org: While craigslist can be good for some scenarios, booking a trip is not one of them. Stick with trusted sources that offer reviews, references and a central contact number.
- Not Calling: The GenY audience is notorious for not picking up the phone, instead text, email and Facebook. Much like sticking to trusted sources, always take the time to speak to someone on the phone. Get the address, apartment number and additional contacts in case of emergency.
- Paying: You never pay for a hotel before you stay, why would you do so for a rental. If they ask for payment upfront make sure it is through a platform that you can protect investment i.e. PayPal. If they require check, ask to have it post dated until the second day into your stay. That way you have time to cancel it if need be.
So the next time you book a trip, or plan a summer vacation, be sure to fan your favorite hotels and follow those airlines and talk to your friends about ways to earn deals. Just remember to protect your identity and take the necessary steps to ensure a memorable time.