Travel Sites determine what deals you see by reading the cookies on your computer. If you recently searched for four-star hotels, the sites may present significantly higher airfares. To make sure you are getting the best possible deal, don’t visit travel sites without first switching to private browsing, or erasing your cookies.

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  1. SaveMeJeebus says:

    WSJ SmartMoney had an article about this a few months back. Also, on some sites, if you fill up a shopping cart and exit without purchasing, the company may try to entice you with a discount via popup or email if you have no record of ever visiting the site. I did this with blockbuster.com and took half-price service for six months. Then I went to cancel when the six months was up and got another six months for the same price.

  2. Munkeyhatecleen says:

    Might want to double check the link posted – it’s showing me a Tip of the Day on ways to fall asleep on the plane.

    But regardless – thanks for reminding me why I never store cookies!

  3. pestie says:

    I set Firefox to only keep cookies for the duration of my session (allowing sites that require cookies to function) but only allow a select few sites to store cookies across sessions. That seems to be a reasonable compromise – cookie-based sites work, but nobody gets to track me long-term. I also use RefControl (preventing referers from being passed between sites, so site B doesn’t know that I got there by clicking a link from site A) and Flashblock (because 99% of Flash is stuff I don’t want to see).