Tips and Tricks: Go ‘Stealth’ to Find Better Deals

Just a few weeks ago, I searched flights for a family member going to Vegas on my laptop. I got price A. A couple of hours later when I was on the phone with the family member, they were seeing price A on his computer, but I was seeing a price about $90 more than price A on my computer, simultaneously. I immediately opened in “incognito” browser in Chrome (Control + Shift + N), and ran the search again. Now the price, which was $90 per ticket higher seconds before, was back to the original price, for the exact same flights.

Travel follows the same rules of supply and demand as any other consumer product. Airlines are no different. And because airlines operate based on perceived supply and demand, when cookies in your browser recognize you are repeatedly searching the same route, demand for that flight is perceived to increase, and, thus, so will the price.

And airlines are clearly known to track your searches for flights. Evidence of this can be seen when you search for a flight and then later open your email you may see a banner ad for hotels or flights in the same cities you just searched. They don’t even try to be discreet! And when they are watching your every move, you surely pay for it.

Clear your cache and search “Incognito”

That is why I always try to search flights (and sometimes hotels) in a private or incognito browser, or at the very least clear my cache when searching for a specific flight. Incognito browsing does not show in your history and does not utilize the cookies that saved your previous flight, so it basically allows you to search stealthily. And the rewards can be substantial. In my instance, it saved my family members a combined $180 for two people on a 3-hour flight. #winning

To get an “Incognito” browser in Google Chrome, hit Control (Command on a Mac) + Shift + N. And if for some reason you are still using Internet Explorer (why?), go to File and click on InPrivate Browsing. You can do this for type of stealth searching when pricing out hotels, flights, vacation packages, etc.

Happy Hunting!

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I am a lawyer. I am a journalist. I am a writer. I am a photographer. And I love to travel.

24 comments on “Tips and Tricks: Go ‘Stealth’ to Find Better Deals”

    1. Glad I could help, Rebecca! And yes ma’am, they do. I used to always wonder why in my email (for example), after I had just done an airline search, I would see hotels in the banner ad from the same destination. They are watching our every move!

  1. Wow, I never would have thought of this trick to find better deals. Thankfully my husband is typically the one who does all of the travel research for our vacations.

    1. Tammi, yes, I have found (and I am sure you have seen it too) that if I repeatedly search something the price jumps on the ticket for no good reason. This just keeps you a little bit more hidden while you are comparing options.

  2. Woah, what a genius idea! I do a ton of traveling and this is definitely would help me out when I’m planning my next trip. Thanks for sharing <3

  3. Thanks for the fab tip! I’m definitely going to try incognito browsing when searching for holidays and flights for next year. I’m all for saving money!

    1. Glad to help, Sara-Jayne! I will be offering tips and tricks every Thursday on the blog, so stay tuned! And if you sign up for the email list, you get a downloadable 1-page cheat sheet for finding deals on various aspects of travel. 🙂

  4. I have never heard about this before. I always assumed the price increased because I waited. LOL. Tricky. It makes sense because everytime I search something it’s always on my ads after that. Even on my blog ads. They really are looking at our search histories deeper than I thought.

  5. This makes perfect sense! I am planning a trip out of the country and these tips will really help me on my flight costs(which are usually the most expensive part of your trip when traveling out of the country). Thank you!

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