Planning a trip doesn’t necessarily have to involve a travel agent and a standard package tour. Knowing how to use the web to help organize a trip is a great skill, given you know where to look. From accommodations and flights to car rentals and tours, a whole vacation can be planned with just the click of the mouse. All you need is a high speed cable or satellite internet connection so you don’t get slowed down, and some direction on where to look. Read on for an overview of the best online travel sites.
Expedia.com and Orbitz.com are similar websites that have searchable ticket databases of airfares, hotel rooms, car rentals, and packages, showing consumers comparisons of prices and schedules from different companies and agencies. Ebookers.com is another similar website, that helps you plan your trip backwards, based on which destinations are offering the best deals at the time. These types of online travel planners are especially useful for extra bargains if you use the site to book more than one service at a time – for example, a combination flight and hotel will score a lower price than booking the two separately.
ShermansTravel.com is an online bargain hunter that publishes only the best deals and most rock-bottom travel and ticket prices, as well as offering extensive destination coverage to allow readers to become more familiar with a particular place. The Sherman’s Top 25 newsletter is delivered to over 3.5 million subscribers weekly, listing the very best travel steals of the week.
TravelZoo.com is a discount portal, providing consumers with the best travel deals available, having found them due to extensive research of over 1,000 travel companies. TravelZoo publishes a weekly Top 20 list that is delivered to subscribers’ email inboxes and lists the best steals of the week in airfares, car rentals, hotel rooms, and vacation packages.
Priceline.com is an online travel auction that pioneered the way for naming your own airline ticket prices, and now has options for bidding on car rental prices, hotel room rates, and cruises. Priceline.com bidding is best for those who have some flexibility in their travel plans – it can save you up to 40% on flights and 50% on hotels.
SkyAuction.com is another online travel auction site, started in 1999 and available to anyone who wants good travel deals, having become popular not by an extensive marketing campaign but by word of mouth from satisfied users. The benefit of using a site like SkyAuction.com is to be able to determine the worth of your trip based on your own experience, and to not get stuck overpaying unexpectedly.
LuxuryLink.com has been the premier high-end travel resource since its launch in 1997, and can help luxury travelers plan their own trips based around the world’s finest hotels in the most exotic locations. The website gives regular updates about special deals and last-minute sales on top-notch accommodations, and even has an auction portal where travelers can bid on inclusive luxury packages in such destinations as Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Indonesia, and Hawaii.