WellesleyWeston Magazine

SPRING 2014

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/256387

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as confident about it and the hotels never seem as gracious if there is a third party involved." More than any other transaction on the web, dogged follow-up and fine print reading can nearly always thwart travel-planning snafus. "It's like the old Gorbachev/Reagan line: trust, but verify," says John Ivey. Some easy ways to make sure that a trip is snag free include printing out all correspondence, double and triple checking dates before purchasing, and understanding all refund and cancellation policies as well as accepting the cold hard fact that the blocks of hotel rooms sold to third party bookers often are remnant rooms. Lowering expectations (unless you have a written description of an ocean view room or similar) can prevent possible disappoint- ment and an argument with the front desk. As the battle for travel dollars gets more competitive and the technology becomes more sophisticated, there are narrower variations in online prices in general, but this is especially true for airline flights in particular. "I used to trawl the web for the lowest fares but now that airlines have caught on to web-based fares, I just go to the airline's site for the best deals," says frequent traveler and Wellesley resident William Agush. "At least if I am stuck somewhere, there is a person at the end of the line who cares about my ticket." To test this pricing theory, WellesleyWeston Magazine searched prices for a non-stop flight from Boston to Columbus, Ohio with ten competing travel sites including Delta (which was the only airline providing a non- stop flight). The result? Not one travel site could beat Delta's fare. Each day's search yielded successively lower fares but all were consistent with the airline's best price. TRAVELOCITY offered a feature that tracked the fare over a number of days, alerting the consumer to the best deals. This would have been useful had there been an actual wide variation in price. When one connection was added as an option, the filtering system exploded with lower priced choices. This is where a determined consumer could rack up significant savings. As an antidote to the multiple tedious searches outlined above, relative newcomer KAYAK.COM offers a one-stop web experience that negates the need to comb through vari- ous aggregators. This handy site searches all of the mainstream websites and offers an instant side-by-side comparison of quotes from each. Choose the lowest price and Kayak delivers the user to the site where one can complete the booking. Kayak doesn't offer booking services but it cuts out painful, confusing initial searches with the click of a mouse. For airline fares, it also offers a nifty "trending" chart that advises users whether to buy now or wait, depending on expected pricing fluctuations. 188 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 4 excursions "have fun searching" 184-192_WWMa14_excursions_travel_v3_WellesleyWeston Magazine 2/2/14 1:37 PM Page 188

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