PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Are you ready for a vacation after this long winter?
Do you ever wonder about the best way to get a good deal while getting away? Are you booking too early or too late?
Consumer editor Susan Koeppen has some answers and enlisted the help of travel expert Peter Greenberg.
Instead of heading to the computer to book your trip, Greenberg says, “Don’t go online, pick up the phone and have the conversation.”
Greenberg said calling the airline or hotel directly can get you cheaper prices.
“The biggest myth that people have is that all the available inventory is online. Not even close. Only about 50 percent is online,” Greensberg said.
We looked at the price of a hotel room at the swanky Hilton Bentley in South Beach, Fla. Online, the price of a studio was $699.
When Koeppen called the hotel directly, the woman at the front desk gave a price of $629 after asking for a discount.
The front desk employee also offered to upgrade the room to a one-bedroom.
Timing is everything when it comes to booking flights.
Greenberg said you should book flights 45 days in advance.
“Unless your trip is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving or the Friday before the Super Bowl or spring break, it doesn’t really help you to book six months in advance,” Greenberg said.
What’s the best day and time to book a flight?
“One minute after midnight on Tuesday night which is really 12:01 a.m. Wednesday morning,” Greenberg said.
That’s when all the tickets that were put on hold over the weekend, but not purchased, go back into the system.
“For the next two hours they can be yours. That’s when you call. You won’t find them on the website, you won’t find them advertised. That’s when you call,” Greenberg said.
You can also save a bundle when you bundle your trip.
“A package deal can be your best friend,” Greenberg said.
For example, when we looked at flights from Pittsburgh to Hawaii they were $1,400. But, if we bundled that flight with a rental car, the price dropped to $1,100.
“A lot of tour operators will block rooms, block rental cars. Even if you already have a hotel booked that you like, it’s often better to buy the package deal. Even if you don’t use their hotel, the airfare becomes cheaper,” Greenberg said.
Other money-saving tips:
- Flying midweek
- Going on a trip during off peak times
- Ask for discounts: AAA, AARP and government employee
You can also check out Greenberg’s website for more information: www.petergreenberg.com