How Do I Know Then What I Don’t Know Now?

Recently I went online to book a trip to Topeka, Ks. to meet our new niece, Sabella Rey. I went to Trivago for the hotel reservations and Expedia for the plane/rental car reservations. That’s what I’m supposed to do, right? The process seemed simple enough and without too-much further adieu, I was able to make all the arrangements, including renting a car for the four days we’d need one. And I even booked my father-in-law’s hotel reservations as well, almost as if I knew what I was doing. Subsequently, I received all my email confirmations indicating that I had in fact succeeded in one of my least favorite endeavors: computing my way to safe and secure travel plans.

For a few days, especially after receiving the site’s emails and reviewing them for accuracy, I thought all was right in my travel-plan’s world. Then I started receiving multiple emails and pop-up ads from sites promoting their hotel and flight reservations/rates. Expedia, the site on which I made my plane reservations began bombarding me with flight and rental car deals. Trivago, the site on which I made our hotel reservations, began bombarding me with hotel and rental car deals. None of which I needed. All of which had been completed when I went on their sites originally and made my hotel, flight and car rental reservations.

Given the way in which the Internet has changed the world and provided computerized access to almost everything, I was only slightly surprised by the bombardment. I’m clear on the concept, just not confident in the process. Nevertheless, I realize there really isn’t any alternative these days to researching goods and services — and prices. My dilemma arose after the fact when I received all these offers on the exact goods and services I had ALREADY booked. What had I done, and how much extra money — and hassle had I done doing it?

I thought I was solving a problem (travel plans which involved coordinating our flight arrival in Kansas City from Baltimore, with my father-in-law’s flight arrival from New York City), not creating one. After receiving all these offers and inducements from Expedia, Trivago and others, I’m now wondering if I missed an opportunity to simplify our travel plans and spend less for having done so? Obviously, I don’t have an answer since I never clicked through the ads/opened the emails to see what the solicitation was all about. I didn’t have the patience and besides, certainly concerning the airlines, wouldn’t there be penalties for changing/canceling a flight? And what about my father-in-law’s airline reservations? It was all too much to juggle so I stood pat. Soon, the ads and emails slowed down to a trickle and I was no longer remained — regularly, about my presumptive incompetence.

But I’m thinking about the next trip now, and perhaps that was the point. Maybe there is a better way to minimize travel expenses and maximize benefits? But how do I accomplish that, really? It’s not like I can fake hotel/plane/car rental reservations in hopes that the site’s artificial intelligence will think I’m still a potential buyer rather than one who’s already bought. What good would that do? The solicitations are designed for current action not for a definite maybe sometime in the future, aren’t they?

I’m certainly more aware now of how the process sort of works. But I’m less certain how I could actually change my behavior in order to become less of a victim and more of a beneficiary. I imagine it has to do with making my computer more of a friend, which doesn’t interest me in the least. Of course, I want to pay less for my travel plans, but I’m not sure if the cost of doing business that way is worth the pain and suffering it inevitably will cause.

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