One of my most vivid memories of childhood is my first trip to Disney World. Many kids share this memory, but my recollection involves more of the booking process than Mickey Mouse. I went with my dad to the travel agency on multiple occasions, and she gave us new information each time. My dad wanted the best deal, and that necessarily meant a slow process.
The first thing the younger generation will think upon reading that: what’s a travel agent? It’s true, the age-old profession is essentially obsolete thanks to internet travel sites. Thanks to them we can research, book, and organize our travel with ease — no human assistance required. In addition, we can save tons of money when doing so.
Smartphones in particular provide great ways to save money on travel. They might use the same services as the regular internet, but smartphones, with their mobility, let us take advantages of deals at specific times — deals that might not be available to us the next time we log onto a computer.
Many travel services offer price alerts, which let you know when certain flights and hotels hit certain prices. For those who plan well in advance, this might be the greatest travel tech development ever. It takes advantage of instantly available information, something that wasn’t available when my dad booked our trip to Disney. That instantly available information means we can act exactly when the time is right.
Here’s a great way to do this. The Kayak mobile app features a price alert system. You enter in the the flights you want, and it lets you know when the price changes. When it hits a certain level, you can strike. Having it on the mobile is important, since prices change constantly. The quicker you know about it, the quicker you can act.
Thing is, you might not be in front of your computer when the alert arrives. Since you can’t use Kayak to book flights, you need another option. Thankfully, there is one.
While there are many travel sites that offer mobile apps, the Orbitz mobile app is perhaps the most comprehensive. You can use this to book flights, hotels, and pretty much anything that goes along with a trip. That comes in handy if you’re looking to book for a specific price at a specific time.
Once you get the alert from Kayak, you can head right to the Orbitz app and run a search for that flight. The information might not sync perfectly, since they are two different services. But they should be close enough that you’ll get the price you’re looking for. Right from the app you can book your flight and lock in that value pricing.
You can also book your hotel accommodations right then and there. Why would you do it from the mobile app, though, and not from the web? Again, this is an advantage of mobile.
Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia — they all want you using their mobile apps. The more ways they can reach more people, the better. Since mobile clearly has a strong future, it behooves them to get their apps installed on as many devices as possible. What’s the incentive, though? Mobile-only deals. Many of these services offer these for hotels. You probably shouldn’t book one without at least checking what they have available.
If, for instance, you’re looking for New Orleans hotels, you’re better off checking the mobile app before you do anything on the website. With Orbitz, you see a little orange dollar sign, which signifies a mobile deal. It might not be the exact hotel you want, but it might be a deal that you can’t pass up. That saves you money, and maybe gets you into a better hotel. These aren’t available on the website, so it’s just another way your smartphone can help you with travel.
At one point people were used to booking travel through travel agents. Soon enough, though, we got used to booking accommodations on the internet. It’s only a matter of time before mobile becomes the standard. Already booking from a smartphone stands to save you money while traveling. If you want the cheapest possible rates, there’s no reason to not use your smartphone to book your next trip.