There’s a Browsing Mode That Will Get You the Cheapest Flights

With one click, you can get less expensive flights, hotels and more—and it won't cost you a dime.

Keyboard and shadow of a flying plane on a blue background. The concept of buying tickets on the Internet online, booking tickets. Flat lay, top view.Photo: Alex SG/Shutterstock

Get the lowest flight prices

Switch over to incognito mode on your computer, and airlines, hotels, and others will be unable to track your every Internet move. Translation: you’ll essentially be online anonymously. Here are all the ways that browsing incognito will improve your travels and your life—and everything you need to know about how “private” is private mode.

When you’re searching in incognito mode, the airlines and third-party sellers have considerably less digital footprint to trigger their algorithms that find opportunities to increase the prices. So if you’re searching regularly for a flight, the site knows you’re interested and it will raise the prices slightly the next time you return. Not so if you’re searching incognito. “Incognito prevents the disclosure of the user’s purchasing intentions,” says Sofia Scott from Trip Trip Now in Barcelona. Since the big machines can’t read you purchasing intentions accurately, you can compare the prices of the flights, and return to the lowest one without worrying that the airline raised its price knowing you were interested. Want to save even bigger? Try these cheap alternatives to expensive European cities.

Plan a surprise trip

If you share the same computer as your partner, he or she may see your browsing history, and this will ruin the surprise, says Flavio Serreti, manager of Soprano Villas. Browse and purchase incognito, and there will be no record of your devious surprise trip.

Get rid of the annoying pop-up ads

Those pop-up retargeting ads can also be a spoilsport if you’re planning a surprise trip, Serreti says. They can also simply be annoying because pop-up ads tend to be annoying. You won’t have to worry about recurring ads if you’re in incognito mode, because when you return to regular browsing mode, the sites won’t connect you with your former, incognito self.

Discover low-priced hotels

You get can slightly lower rates using incognito mode when searching for hotels on an aggregator site, says Chris Tweten, marketing director at BodegaHostels. However, there is one exception, he says. “If a hotel is in its first month or so listed on an aggregator (Booking.com in particular) then it’s cheaper to do the same search twice without incognito,” Tweten says. “Both search engines favour newer listings and reward people for coming back to book.” While you’re looking to save money on those hotels, make sure you know the most expensive American cities to book a hotel in.

Search for lower-priced trains, buses, and any other e-commerce sites

Since searching incognito doesn’t store your cookies, the site’s data and the footprints, the algorithm for the train’s sites, the buses, and for all other e-commerce won’t recognize that you had already been searching there. “Hence, it will give you the best, lowest rate possible,” says Ryazan Tristram, travel blogger with Everything Zany, based in Worcestershire, United Kingdom.

Find out why it pays to read the fine print when you travel.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest