Some travel websites will now alert you to a price drop and do all the work for you: get the refund or rebook you at the cheaper rate.
The New York Times recently reviewed a number of these sites and found Tingo.com to be mighty helpful.
Book a room with a refundable rate on Tingo and it will monitor the price.
If it goes down, the room is automatically rebooked at the lower rate and any difference is refunded to your card.
The Times likes the fact that Tingo doesn't have a booking fee or cancellation fee. But it points out that in some cases, you may be able to find a cheaper price if you contact the hotel directly.
The Times also praised the Price Assurance program at Orbitz.com for plane tickets. It applies to all ticket, even non-refundable tickets -- but only if the price drops and another Orbitz customer reserves the same class of ticket on the same flight for less.
The Times says "there is no better option for flights than Orbitz if you want to avoid the chore of constantly checking prices in order to finagle a refund."
For more information
Getting refunds if the price drops