Kayak says plan now for summer trips

Anyone who has waited until the last minute to book summer travel knows that it's just the sort of procrastination likely to end in tears, or at least in paying higher prices and settling for your second or third (or fifth) choice of airfare dates and hotel rooms.

Which is why Kayak's advice to begin tracking fares for summer travel now seems like an excellent reminder for those who don't want to end up paying a larger premium than necessary for summer travel.

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Of course this isn't a public service announcement by Kayak. It's using the recommendation as a way to promote its improved Fare Alert tool, which allows travelers to track fare prices, get airfare history for routes, and compare prices by carriers.

It's a great resource, but Kayak isn't the only company to offer a way to keep tabs on airfare prices before you buy. Airfare Editor Jessica Labrencis recently rounded up the latest fare alert services, including those from Orbitz, Travelocity, Yahoo!, and Expedia. And last week, I wrote about FareCast, which just debuted international fare tracking. Its system is slightly different, with a focus on advising people if they should book now or wait.

Whichever one you choose, these tools make benchmarking and tracking fares about 1,000 percent easier than it was even two or three years ago. In my opinion, these are the types of tools that allow us travelers to make more informed buying choices and increase our chances of feeling confident about the price we end up paying.

Editor's Note: SmarterTravel.com is a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network, an operating company of Expedia, Inc. Expedia, Inc. also owns Expedia.com.)

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