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.

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.

Get the lowest flight prices

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? Follow this cheap travel advice from travel agents.

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 favor newer listings and reward people for coming back to book.” While you’re looking to save money on those hotels, check out the best value hotels in America.

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. Once you get to your destination, be sure to avoid these common money traps people always fall for.

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Danielle Braff
Danielle Braff regularly covers travel, health and lifestyle for Reader's Digest. Her articles have also been published in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Boston Globe and other publications. She has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and a master's degree in musicology from Oxford University in England. Danielle is based in Chicago, where she lives with her husband and two children. See her recent articles at www.Daniellebraff.com. You can follow her on Facebook @Danielle.Karpinos, Twitter @daniellebraff, and Instagram at danikarp.