Top 5 Travel Tips to Save Money Online

Digital Marketing

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January. It’s still dark by 4:30pm, and there’s no Christmas lights or comfort food to take the edge off the freezing drizzle. So naturally we all start dreaming of travel to that sunny getaway, or the Eat-Pray-Love trip to broaden our minds, despite still being broke after festive frivolities.

Enter the travel comparison sites and New Year mega deals – breathing hope into our empty pockets and broken dreams … But before you book that trip of a lifetime, I’ve got some top travel tips to make sure you actually get a good deal. By unmasking some of the secrets of digital marketers, I found you could save potentially hundreds on your travel with just a few savvy clicks.

So here’s my Top 5 Travel Tips to Save Money Online:

1. Choose your research device carefully, and log out of everything!

Avid Android users, here’s another ‘I told you so’ moment. If you use an Apple iOS device (iPhone, iPad, Mac) you may be served higher-priced results by comparison sites than if you use Android or Windows. Because if the hardware costs more, you must be able to pay more for a flight right?

If you can’t avoid using iOS, make sure you use private browsing, and regardless of who makes your device, it’s best to logout of any Google and Facebook accounts. Marketers anonymously track your cross-device activity wherever you are logged in, that’s why when you didn’t actually purchase those ASOS boots, they still appear in your Facebook newsfeed.

2. Delete your browsing history or use a private browser

There’s some anecdotal evidence to suggest that air and travel operators track your internet browsing ‘cookies’ (those things you always get pop-ups about) to serve you a slightly higher price each time you return to the website. Therefore giving you greater urgency to panic-book, thinking that you will save money, and helping them sleep at night as their occupancy rates go up quicker. This is one of my faves on how to save money when travelling.

Rather than delete your history each time, another way around this is to use a private browser, i.e. ‘Incognito Mode’ on Chrome. To do this, whilst the browser window is open use Shift + Ctrl + N to start searching under the radar. For guidance on how to delete your browsing history, including cookies, see step-by-step instructions here.

3. Use Windows Internet Explorer and search through Bing

1998 called, and they want their browsing back. But seriously, this is actually a big one. Our research found that just by switching browser and search engine when booking with Kayak.co.uk you could save up to 40% on the exact same booking. Check it out below.

4. Don’t completely trust comparison sites, but do try their apps

Travel comparison sites are a really useful one-stop shop for booking your holiday. But the key thing to remember is they have hundreds of deals and agreements behind the scenes. They negotiate with individual operators and venues to beat similar sites on customer-facing prices and their own commission.

For example, TripAdvisor is now owned by travel corporation Viator which means search results are now automatically sorted as ‘recommended’. Unfortunately ‘recommended’ doesn’t mean what you’d expect – it’s not the best places and travel tips as suggested by the TripAdvisor community, it’s the places Viator has the best commission deals with (should you choose to hit the ‘book now’ link on the individual listing page). So my tip here is ALWAYS sort by ‘rating’.

The flip side of these deals negotiated behind closed doors, is that in some cases, the customer actually wins! Wooooo! Comparison sites use their wealth of data (your email address and browsing behaviour) to offer waves of target audiences directly to operators’ own sites. We found that by using the Skyscanner app to book with WOW Air, you could save up to 15% at the time of writing. See our comparisons below.

5. Exploit price beating policies

This last one is less about navigating marketing trickery, but rewarding yourself for doing all of the above. Once you’ve found the best possible price, screen grab it (including a time-stamp from the clock on your device), and call up the airline, operator or a high-street travel agent such as STA Travel, and ask if they can give you a better deal. Already booked your flights? Some airlines will even refund you the difference if you’ve found your itinerary cheaper elsewhere.
So, to save money when travelling the moral of the story here is; download a couple price comparison apps and compare them with prices directly from the venue or operator. If there’s a difference in price (and you have the time and inclination!), go on to try some of the search paths below because you could save up to 43%!

Here’s the varying results I found for the exact same flight itinerary to Iceland using different methods*. Using different browsers, devices and comparison sites (Skyscanner and Kayak), I found savings of up to 43% (£84 per person / £168 total saving). The itinerary was for 2 x Adults flying to Reykjavik from London Gatwick with WOW Air, departing 6 March 2017 at 10:55, returning 12 March 201 at 06:15.

Direct & Comparison Sites by Search Journey:

Flights per adult (excl.taxes)

Chrome > Google > Wow Air = £128.00
IE > Bing > Wow Air = £160.00
IE > Bing > Skyscanner > Wow Air = £132.00
Chrome > Google > Skyscanner > Wow Air = £132.00
Skyscanner App > Wow Air = £112.00
Chrome > Google > Kayak > Wow Air = £197.00
IE > Bing > Kayak > Wow Air = £123.00
Kayak App > Wow Air = £123.00

Sorted by Price (lowest first):

Skyscanner App > Wow Air = £112.00
IE > Bing > Kayak > Wow Air = £123.00
Kayak App > Wow Air = £123.00
Chrome > Google > Wow Air = £128.00
IE > Bing > Skyscanner > Wow Air = £132.00
Chrome > Google > Skyscanner > Wow Air = £132.00
IE > Bing > Wow Air = £160.00
Chrome > Google > Kayak > Wow Air = £197.00

*Data collected using Windows PC and Apple iPhone 6S on Thursday, January 5, 2017 1:30: PM GMT

Have you got any tips of your own? If so we would love to hear from you, make sure you drop us a Tweet @passion_digital.

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