One great thing about the internet is that is has opened a whole new world of price comparison shopping. No longer do you have to spend time travelling from store to store, or calling place after place just to find out how much something costs. Now, with the click of a few buttons, you have all of those comparison tools at your fingertips. This is especially beneficial for travelers when looking for flights or hotels. Kayak.com has been around for a while now and is one of my favorite tools for this job, so if you haven’t heard of it, sit back and let me give you a tour.
The internet has grown immensely over time and with such a mass of information at your disposal it’s easy for things to get overlooked and lost among the heaps of web pages out there. Because of this, we rely on tools such as Google to help us sort things out and find what we are actually looking for. Sometimes you don’t even know what you’re looking for before you find it. Without these tools our life on the internet wouldn’t be nearly as productive. Google does a great job of sorting out information (and a lot of it), but doesn’t always hold-up when it comes to finding good deals. Kayak.com found a way to aggregate travel information from all over the internet to give it to you in one spot. Not only that, but they made it flexible enough to show you things you might not have looked for.
Kayak allows you to search for flights while giving you the flexibility of leaving or arriving at surrounding airports, adjusting your flight times a day or two before or after and even showing you a calendar with average rates customers have recently found, with a similar search to yours, helping you instantly narrow down what days are more economical to fly on. And just because they believe in themselves, they allow you to compare their search results with other popular airline search websites such as Expedia and Priceline.
Once you’ve made a search, Kayak provides a 90 history of what the fares have looked like in the past. This makes it helpful to know what the best possible fares are and gives you some insight about when the best times to buy are. Everyone (including myself) has their own theories about when the best time to buy an airline ticket is, but in my personal experience (and I spend a lot of time monitoring prices when I travel), three-to-four weeks before flight time seems to be the sweet spot for the best price.
In addition to price history, Kayak also provides a chart that shows how the rates may change if you adjust your flight dates by a few days. With all of this information, it makes it much easier to make an informed decision about what your options are, and best of all Kayak shows all prices with taxes and fees included so there are less surprises to worry about (though checked baggage fees may still apply).
Often when traveling you don’t know much about your surroundings, so finding a hotel in close proximity to where you want to stay can be tough. Kayak also offers great help with finding a hotel. One of my favorite features is the map view which shows you all the available hotels in a localized region and gives you quick pricing and details simply by hovering over each location. This makes it easy to find something in a specific area and still gives you the opportunity to comparison shop easily.
Kayak is also useful for car rentals and package deals so explore those options as well. Your savings can vary greatly in any travel situation, but using the resources available and being an informed buyer will give you the best chance of success and that’s the best way to do it frugal.