Online Buyers Beware When Looking for Travel Deals

By Kevin Cokely
|  Tuesday, Apr 5, 2011  |  Updated 1:04 AM CDT
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Dallas travel agent says she warns her clients about booking trips through some of the more popular sites.

Kevin Cokely, NBCDFW.com

Dallas travel agent says she warns her clients about booking trips through some of the more popular sites.

If you're looking for a travel deal, online travel sites may not be the first place to start.

Dena McDonald, a full-service travel agent who owns Tiki Trips in Uptown Dallas, says she warns her clients about booking trips through some of the more popular online travel sites.

"There are all kinds of tricks that these different companies are using," she said.

Consumer Reports backs her up. It has found that checking prices frequently without buying can even raise them.

"If you search the first time, they'll give you a certain price," McDonald said. "If you don't buy and you go back later and you look at it again, all of a sudden the price is higher. You go back again, it's even higher."

Consumer Reports also found that using a different Web browser can lower the price by hundreds of dollars. The magazine recommends shoppers reset their browser preferences and delete cookies or use two different browsers to check the price before clicking to buy.

But travel sites are questioning the magazine's findings. They say their pricing is not affected by previous searches.

More: Six Sneaky Travel-Site Gotchas at Consumer Reports

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