How-to: Continue saving travel dollars after you've booked and paid
Scouring for deals before you make your purchase is always smart, but you can save even more if you go the extra mile and get some money back after you've booked. Here are some savvy tips to get you more savings after you've forked up cash:
• Air Travel: You can save more money on air tickets if the price of the flight goes down. Get refunded the difference when you buy your ticket from airlines like JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, and Southwest. Some airlines will charge an extra fee because they will consider it to be changing reservations. AirTran and Virgin, for example, charge $75, and American and United charge $150. An easy way to keep track of the changing airline prices is to use online price tracker Yapta.com, which will do the work for you and send you refund alerts when your fare has gone down. Be sure to also check out Yapta's other cool feature that keeps track of the flights that you're interested in buying and sends you alerts when the price drops.
• Rental Car: Although Yapta tracks rental-car fares, there is an even better site that will do most of the work for you. It's called autoslash.com; it basically books the car for you, checks around for a cheaper price, then emails you when it finds a lower rate. If you want to go with the lower rate, it will rebook it for you.
• Hotels: Pick a hotel with a good refund policy or one that allows you to cancel without any penalties if you want to get your money back when you spot a lower rate on a hotel.Then use Yapta as a price-tracking system for hotels, which alerts you when the price of a hotel drops. If the rate does decrease, you can just cancel your reservation and make a new one. You can generally cancel your hotel booking if you don't pay up front for your reservation, but be sure to read the fine print because every hotel has different policy.
• Bonus: Alternatively, if you book through travel sites, you can get some sort of price guarantee for your flight, hotel room, and rental car. Keep in mind that every site has different requirements. For hotel stays, Orbitz will refund you the difference and give you a $50 credit if you find the same room at the same hotel and dates at a cheaper price elsewhere. However, the claim has to be submitted before the hotel applies cancellation fees (which requires paying attention to hotel policies) and only works with rates that have the "Low Price Guarantee" or “Price Assurance.” Travelocity, Expedia, and Priceline all have some sort of price guarantee with some differences, so don't assume that the same policy will apply to the other sites.
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