Travel: Is That Online Deal For Real?

Our inboxes and search results are filled with great-sounding travel deals, $35 airline tickets, $399 three-day all-inclusives and the like, but have you ever actually tried to snag one? Oftentimes it seems a low “landing prices” shoots up after all the fees are added, or if you try to get a date other than a very narrow set, or you want to do something crazy like return home afterwards. NYT took a look and found that while that’s true, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of getting a price close to the advertised one.

1. Act fast – The older a deal gets the more likely it’s expired or run out
2. Check date restrictions – Sometimes hidden in the fine print, it can be hard to know which days qualify for the deals. Check all the disclosures.
3. KIS, keep it simple – specific deals directly from the provider at single locations delivered closer to advertised price than packages of services, like airfare + four hotel nights + car rental, sold through agencies.

The New York Times piece also quoted yours truly:

Ben Popken, co-managing editor of, which publishes customer gripes, said shrouding this information is rampant among all retailers, and maybe worse online.

“These are all just different tactics marketers use to lure you into paying more than you intend,” he said. “Maybe it’s more profitable, but it’s deceptive.”

Online Deals: Scams or Steals? [NYT]

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