I have recommended booking through a discount site in the past. (Just not Hotwire. Never Hotwire.) You can sometimes save a decent amount of money, especially on a hotel room or rental car. There is one trick that you need to know, though, that will help to ensure that you get the lowest price available.
Chances are that you will start looking at prices before you actually book a trip. It’s human nature, you want to get an idea of what you will have to pay. If you’re looking on a site such as Expedia or Priceline, always do that initial search in a private browser. I’ll go one step further sometimes and search on a different computer. Here is the reason why you want to do this. If you search like you normally would, the discount site will remember your information. When you then search again, there is a good chance that you will see a higher price. This is all to trick you into buying right away, thinking that it might go up again.
If you don’t search in a private browser, clear your cache after your search. That way, the discount site will not be able to track your previous visit, and you will still find the lowest prices.
I won’t sign in when I first search. I’ll wait until I find something that I want to book, then I’ll sign in on a different window. I’ll then go back to the first window and book the deal. I’ll already be signed in, so I won’t need to start over.
When searching on a discount site, you will most likely see a notice that says something along the lines of “hurry, three other people are looking at this right now” or “rental cars are extremely limited at this location for this date”. It’s amazing to me how everyone else seems to want to rent a car at the same time that I need one! Ignore those warnings. The site is trying to get you to book immediately.
I don’t book flights through the discount sites. I have always been able to find the same or a lower price on the airline’s actual website. I will sometimes search the discount site to easily compare flights, but I will then book directly through the airline. That way I can get airline points, I can also see what is included, and I will learn of any extra charges. The airlines aren’t the same way, they won’t raise the rate because of one search. I am not saying that price won’t ever change, but the rate isn’t based on your search history.
No one wants to pay too much for a Walt Disney World vacation, or any vacation for that matter. Whether you’re hoping to find a discount hotel, or you have your eye on luxury, you don’t want to overpay. Discount sites can help to keep the price down, but they are in business to make money. The simple trick of searching in a private browser or clearing your cache (or both) can help you to get the lowest price available on the site. It’s easy to do, and only takes a second. It’s your money, make sure that as much of it as possible stays in your pocket.