10 Websites to Help You Plan the Perfect Vacation
It’s your vacation. You want the best deals on tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, and any other specials that will help save you some money. But, with an endless assortment of travel websites out there, how do you know you’re really getting the best deals on your trip? Here’s a list of some of the best sites to help you plan the best (and cheapest) vacation.
This site is great for ensuring you get the best hotel prices on your trip. It’s a metasearch site, according to the New York Times, meaning you can compare multiple hotel sites at once, such as booking.com and hotels.com. Also, it becomes even more useful if you’re searching a unique destination because it pulls listings from booking sites based around the world.
Tired of feeling like you somehow ended up with the worst seat on the airplane? SeatGuru will help you find one of the better spots on your flight. “SeatGuru points out preferred spots on all models of planes, as well as seats of misery like those too close to the bathroom, those with limited leg room and recline, those often bumped by aisle walkers, and even those that have an uneven alignment of TV and window,” CNN says.
According to Travel + Leisure, this is an ideal spot for ensuring great prices on airfare, hotel deals, car rentals, flight and hotel packages, and other specials. You also have the option of managing your itinerary with My Trips, which loads your flight, hotel and travel confirmations into one online schedule.
Consider this site your personal travel agent. It even has a feature that lets you haggle for the best bargains available on hotels. “Select a minimum star class, your dates of stay, and preferred neighborhood, and then name your price. You can save up to 60 percent off published rates and bids less than $100 a night on luxury lodgings often win — particularly for last-minute bookings,” according to Kiplinger. Something to keep in mind — Priceline won’t tell you which hotel you’re booking until after you pay, so proceed with caution.
“With more than 45 million user-submitted reviews and pictures of more than 474,000 properties around the world, the TripAdvisor site is a required stop for anyone researching hotels,” according to Travel + Leisure. Further, TripAdvisor has integrated with Facebook, meaning you can read reviews from Facebook friends about possible places you’d like to stay. Be careful about listening too closely to some of the reviews. Just because they’re there doesn’t mean they’re always true.
Hoping to take a train for a reasonable price while in Europe? Seat61 lists the most reasonable rates for European train journeys and is laid out in a easy-to-read format, the New York Times says. It’s filled with helpful links to get you to the best booking sites.
This is for the vacationers who want to go somewhere but aren’t sure where they should head. That’s where TripTuner comes in — it finds your ideal destination by reviewing your tastes and preferences. “A panel of scales lets you choose the degree of experience you want: relaxing or active, bikini or parka, adult or kid-friendly, beach or mountain, urban or remote, high-end or thrifty, and everything in between,” according to CNN. You can also find limited recommendations to certain regions, and after selecting your destination, you can book your hotel room while you’re there.
This site will track fares for you and then go a step further — sending you an email or Tweet if the cost of your flight drops. If you’ve already purchased a ticket, it still helps to get notifications on your price. According to Kiplinger, if your ticket price falls below what you paid, most airlines and travel agencies will refund you the difference. Not sure how to get your refund? Yapta helps with that too.
You know how much you can spend, but you don’t know how far it will get you. That’s where Skypicker comes in. This site focuses exclusively on Europe and only provides cheap flight options, according to the New York Times. So, if you’re in Europe and want to see if your cash can get you to an additional European destination, Skypicker may have the options you need. You’ll put in an approximate departure date and how many days you plan to stay to get instant results.
Hoping for a luxury hotel at a discount price? JetSetter may be able to help. “In general, these kinds of sites offer invited members exclusive access to deep discounts for a limited time, and they work best if you’re flexible about where you want to travel. JetSetter can have 15 to 30 of these “flash sales” available at once — more than similar sites, which usually offer just a handful at a time — and can save you up to 50 percent off published rates,” Kiplinger writes. Deals only last until they’re sold out, though, so move quickly.