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Money Hack: Use online travel agencies to get the best price

Posted: 21 April 2018 10:00 am
News

The travel agent isn't dead, it's just gone digital.

It's a common misconception that the best way to get the cheapest price on flights is to book direct with the airline. While this is sometimes the case, particularly with airlines that price-match, it isn't always.

So, where should you be going to ensure you get the very best price that's available at the moment? To a travel agent.

The hack

In the past, the term "travel agent" would have conjured up images of a uniformed staff member sitting at desk, tapping away at the computer to score the best deals with their special travel agent logins.

You might not realise it, but these days the travel agent has evolved beyond a person in a store and into an online realm where you can take the helm and search for your own flights with that special travel agent price attached.

Aggregator sites such as I Want That Flight and Skyscanner soak up an Internet's worth of fares, including flights booked direct as well as those booked through travel agents. So, you can compare and book through whichever draws up the cheapest cost or the best-timed flight.

Online travel agents such as Flight Centre and STA Travel take it a step further, allowing you to book directly on their websites and still at these competitive prices. They tend to have a person available on online chat whom you can opt to chat to like you would a traditional travel agent. They often bring up comparable if not better-priced fares than if you'd booked direct as well, with one such example being LATAM's South America flights which went on sale this week.

Book direct and the cost starts at $1,029 return, book with Flight Centre and that drops down massively to $899 return. Sure, you have to tack on merchant and service fees which, when we checked them out, came to an extra $22, but even with this additional charge you're still saving dosh compared to booking direct in this instance.

The beauty about using these sites also is that you don't personally have to slave away searching through every airline to ensure you've found the perfectly-priced flight. You merely have to search one or two to witness the range of travel possibilities and their end-cost.

As an aside, travel agents such as Flight Centre also price match. So if you find a better-priced flight through any aggregator or alternate online travel agent, you can call them up on it and it'll match the cost and take an extra $1 off.


finder money hacks is a bi-weekly round-up of the latest tips and tricks to improve your finances. Check back every Wednesday and Saturday for new hacks

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