Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Travel Tool: Farecast

Not to brag, but I have an uncanny knack for stumbling upon good travel deals. I act as an "unofficial" travel consultant to my friend Tiffany, who has asked me on several occasions on what I think about this deal, what I think about that deal. I am happy to say I have helped her book a romantic Vegas trip for her and her husband on a steal (I found the deal for her) and helped her snatch a 4-star hotel at the Inner Harbor for a bargain (I suggested using Priceline for last-minute deals). I seriously look at airfares, hotels, and vacation packages for fun, even when I have no intentions of booking any trips in the near future.

A couple of weeks ago, the 2008 Annual Travel Guide from the Post came out. I never keep anything as far as magazines or newspapers. I don't even have a collection of newspaper clippings; however, I am keeping this guide for years to come. It has a plethora of helpful travel tips. I found their top pick of 54 online travel sites especially helpful and have been diligently going through each of them. I found one particular useful and I have used that as a resource in booking my last 2 plane tickets.

Farecast is an up-and-coming travel site. They advertise themselves as the "smart travel search site that helps you buy with confidence." The site was only launched in 2006, but it is incredibly user-friendly. Basically, it helps you decide when to purchase your tickets by providing you trend data with prediction on whether prices will rise or fall.

For my upcoming St. Louis trip, before I knew about Farecast, I had looked into airfare months ago and knew what would be considered a good price. Sure enough, when I finally decided on the trip and this time using Farecast to help me with research, the prediction it gave me was a solid "Buy Now", with the arrow pointing straight north. Even without the prediction, I already knew that it was a good deal, but with the reassurance, I bought the ticket right then and there. Even now when I check the airfare for the same flight, it has not been as low as when I bought it. :)

Since Farecast is still in the beta version, it still has lots of room for improvement. For examples, the prediction is only 6 months in advance (ie, the rise and fall of airfares can't be predicted beyond September at this point) and not all international destinations are predictable. However, I whole-heartily recommend everyone to use Farecast as a resource when booking domestic flights, with travel in less than 6 months! :)

Hopefully I will slowly get through all the 54 online travel sites mentioned in the Travel Guide and post my reviews of them in the near future.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe travel planning can be your new side job. But first we'll need to do some research. I suggest we quit our jobs and spend the next two years traveling around the world! Then we can open up Sugar Trekker!! ^__^