REFLEXIONS

ON CYBERSPACE
Save a Bundle of Money by Using the Internet!
By Robert Ross

 

The net. It's big time. It seems that everyone has at least, "surfed it, or has an e-mail address, or even a Web page. Schools and libraries offer easy access, and corporations give their Web addresses in advertisements. Nightly T.V. shows sign off with "you can catch us at http://www.-we're-wonderful.com." Let's face it, the Internet is here to stay. After all, it's fun, educational, and really "cool" (see http://www.awarenessmag.com). But, it can also be quite costly if you consider the price of . . . a computer, a high speed modem, an Internet Service Provider, software and most of all, your time. Costly, but potentially profitable.

For many, happiness is just logging onto the net and learning about the fascinating world of cyberspace. For others, like myself, we've been there and done that, and now we're ready to have the Internet start paying off ‹ big time, or . . . little time . . . or even saving a buck or two wouldn't be bad!

Recently I decided to see if I could make the Internet pay off. To make a long story short, a little surfing saved me hundreds of dollars that I would have ordinarily spent. And that's more then a buck or two!

A Little Surfing
My wife and I needed to be in Charleston, South Carolina for a function. As usual, I made a few calls to the airlines, checking rates, and hoping to find a "special deal." What I found was that from San Diego to Charleston the price (round trip) would run $641 per person. Let's see, six hundred and forty one times two equals . . . twelve hundred and eighty-two dollars? Hello! In my book, that was unacceptable.

Having read that there are airline ticket bargains to be had on the Internet, I did a "search" and came up with a dozen sites that offer discount airfares. Sites like Preview Travel (http://www.previewtravel.com ) , Best Fares 
( http://www.bestfares.com ), The Internet
Travel Network ( http://www.itn.net ) and Travelocity 
( http://www.travelocity.com ), are all web-based travel services that offer bargain ticket prices. Not only do these sites offer the possibility of discount prices but a few, like Travelocity, ask you your destination, where you're traveling from, then periodically e-mail you with the best prices for that flight schedule. So impressed was I, that I registered with Travelocity immediately (no charge) and within a day or two I was receiving quotes, ranging from an astonishing $198 round trip to over $500 round trip. Since I was a little uncertain about how things work on the net in terms of money, the $198 discount fare came and went within twenty four hours, replaced by a higher fare. I realized (after the fare changed upward) that this was a game for the decisive consumer. So I started watching closely as the prices fluctuated day by day and vowed to snag the $198, next time it showed up in my e-mail.

I also registered (on the Internet) with the three airlines that travel from San Diego to Charleston (Fly-continental.com, Delta-air.com and UsAir.com). Each of these airlines offer various benefits by registering at their Web sites. For example, Continental has a "cool club" that you can join entitling you to special benefits. And both Delta and UsAir will e-mail you with last minute bargain rates that become available (great for retired people!). As luck (and the Internet) would have it, other low fares showed up in my e-mail, and with a minimum of phone work the deal was made. I might add, that for those who want to save a bundle, there are refund and other restrictions but, if you're interested in saving more than a buck or two, the Internet is worth a look see.

If you've saved more then a buck or two using the Internet, e-mail me at
SanDiegoRoss@Yahoo.com

Copyright 1998 by Robert Ross, all rights reserved


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