Holidays. They’re good fun (I’m not long back from a fortnight away in Rhyl and then Newport near Saffron Walden and had a great time).
But booking them isn’t always as much fun.
I mean, thinking about it, deciding where to go and looking forward to it – they can all be fun.
But actually booking all the bits can be a fiddle.
Nowadays, you can do it all online, if you like – and there are umpteen different websites to help you, so you can search for and compare different hotels, apartments, cottages or whatever from one website.
And one of the things that can be annoying is wondering whether you got a good price. The thing is, you might have worked out exactly what you want – but when you book it might affect how much it costs. Sometimes by a huge amount.
You know how it works – sometimes you can get a flight or a hotel room or whatever cheaper if you book it well in advance. Then the price goes up when it gets nearer.
But then sometimes the price goes down again as you get even closer because they want to sell the last remaining rooms/flights/trips on the big wheel/whatever it is.
So if you’re trying to get the best price, how do you know when to actually book it?
I must admit a lot of the time, I’ve just taken the view that I can’t work it out, buried my head in the sand and just booked it whenever I was ready to! But I know that might be costing me…
Well, one website that you can book flights etc through has come up with a clever way to make this a bit easier.
First, back in November, the website kayak.com (or .co.uk in the UK) did some research and added a page with when they suggested you should book to get the best prices. I’ve not included a link to it as it’s out of date now – how far in advance you should book isn’t the same in the summer. But it was very popular with customers, apparently.
So they’ve now added a feature to the bit of their website you use to book flights that suggests when the cheapest time to book the flight you’re interested in it.
Basically they look back at previous flights to the same place at similar times and can tell when they were cheapest and so estimate when your flight will be cheapest.
Of course, if you really need to be on that flight, you should probably book it straight away. But if you can be a bit more flexible if that particular flight gets booked up, you might want to try it.
On their website, when you’ve put in what flight you want, you can click or tap on the “Fare Charts” link and it’ll show you graphs of how the price for that flight has changed, along with their estimate of whether the price will go up or down.
It’s clever stuff and I imagine in the future they’ll apply something similar to booking hotel rooms and so on (and I imagine other holiday booking websites will introduce something similar too).
Now if only they could forecast when the M6 will be busy or closed…
If you use Facebook, you might want to do this
As well as these emails I write, we also have a Facebook page for the Helpful Book Company.
Anything really important I cover in these emails, but sometimes there are little snippets of interesting or useful news that we only put on the Facebook page (some from me, some from Mike, our resistant tech expert and some from Steph).
Then when we put up any updates on Facebook, you won’t miss them!