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Hunting For Cheap Airfare Might Be Wasted Time

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PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) - Do you ever find yourself constantly checking airfare and hotel prices, trying to get the best rate possible? A growing number of travel websites claim to do most of the work for you, and even offer refunds if the price goes down.

When Otis Norris travels, he doesn’t worry about what his trip costs. “I’m just taking a chance, rolling the dice,” he said. “It’s vacation! You waste money on vacation, so it doesn’t matter.”

But the price does matter to bargain-hunters like Debbie Breckner. “I usually do quite a bit of research and buy the ticket plenty of time in advance,” she said. “The closer you get to flight time the more expensive the ticket is.”

Travel agent Catherin Banks with Legacy Travel in Plano agrees. “For most people, booking further out can save you money,” she said. “Everybody knows somebody that got that last-minute deal, and they tell everybody. But that doesn’t usually work out for most people.”

Banks not only recommends planning early, she also suggests buying a travelers’ insurance plan that includes price protection. “Agencies, for instance, like ours, recheck trips that have the insurance on a regular basis.” That can save you a lot of money if the price drops, Banks said.

While many travel agencies have long offered price protection features, a growing number of websites like Tingo.com and Cheapair.com, are also offering refunds.

Tingo.com just launched in March 2012. The hotel booking site gives customers their money back if room rates go down. What’s the catch? The site claims there isn’t one.

Other websites like Cheapair.com offer a similar promise, but the fine print isn’t as clear cut. Users must check the website regularly after booking for a reduced fare. It will only refund up to $100, and any payback comes in the form of a travel credit, not cash.

“Book your vacation and go on and live your life, you don’t need to make yourself insane by checking the price every day,” Banks said. “If your price goes down by $50, it’s okay.”

Norris feels the same way. He’d rather take a gamble than take the time to find a cheaper deal.

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