Why You Should Never Book A Trip On Your Smartphone

Booking a trip on a smartphone is more difficult due to its smaller format, this could make it take longer for you to book which could in turn lead you to miss out on a time-sensitive deal.

By Jennifer Hollohan | Published

We all love our smartphones. They go with us everywhere and are an incredibly easy way to make snap purchase decisions. So it may be surprising news that there are some things you should not use your phone for, like booking a trip.

Swiping open our phones when we want to accomplish a task is just so easy. So much so, in fact, that most Americans have left their desktops in the dust in favor of smartphones. Nerdwallet noted that “according to a survey of 3,250 U.S. consumers from Pymnts.com, a website dedicated to analyzing the role of payments in new tech, the majority of travel service purchases (51.4%) were made on a mobile device in February 2022.”

The publication also notes, “the trend is even starker among younger shoppers. About 48% of millennials ages 25-40 prefer using mobile phones for online shopping, compared with only 34% of all shoppers globally, according to a 2021 survey of 13,000 shoppers from Klarna, an online payment company.” So, with the popularity (and ease) of making mobile purchases, why would you possibly want to avoid booking a trip on your phone?

Unlike standard purchases, say from a grocery store or Amazon, multiple steps are involved in booking a trip. So whether you are booking a flight, renting a car, or reserving a hotel room, there are many factors to consider. And that means you will likely need to consult your calendar and potentially have multiple tabs open.

Switching between tabs on a mobile device is not impossible, but doing so on a computer is much easier. You can readily hop back and forth between vendors and companies to compare prices. Additionally, you can open more windows for the discount fare sites to see how they stand up.

And things become even more complicated when booking a trip while simultaneously trying to redeem miles. That takes a little extra time and research, which can get a smidge frustrating to do on a mobile device. All this back and forth results in many people throwing up their hands and selecting the best initial price.

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Unfortunately, this may mean bad news for their pocketbook, according to Nerdwallet. Many companies involved in booking a trip engage in what’s called “drip pricing.” Basically, they showcase a super low initial price. 

Then, when the customer has hit the checkout button, the final total is much higher than they thought. This jump is due to hidden fees buried in between the steps. And those fees are much easier to miss when booking a trip on a mobile device.

But, by that time, the consumer does not want to start their search over. “Consumers perceive high search costs associated with starting their decision process over, and they think they will save less money than they actually will,” says Shelle Santana, an assistant marketing professor at Bentley University. And that means that often, consumers end up spending more than they need to because they dread the thought of doing the whole thing again.

However, there is good news. You can save time, sanity, and potentially some money. When booking a trip, blow the dust off your desktop or laptop to make the purchase…it will be worth it.