One of the Internet’s greatest advantages is the ability it provides when it comes to finding a deal. In the old days before the Internet, people used travel agencies to book vacations and business excursions, but the advancement of technology has completely changed the way we can book our travel. Today we will take a look at several websites that can be greatly useful when it comes to finding the best prices for your flights, hotels, car rentals and more.
There are sites that can provide you with complete solutions for your trips, giving you great pricing on the whole vacation, including airfare, hotel, and car rental. A couple of sites I recommend are Travelocity (www.travelocity.com), Orbitz (www.orbitz.com), or Expedia (www.expedia.com), which are all popular travel website. If you have a destination in mind or want a quick last minute getaway, you can find a trip at a price you can afford. But you might have already heard of these places, so next we’ll talk about a few sites that can really put some bargains on the table.
If you haven’t heard of Travelzoo (www.travelzoo.com), go check out their website. It isn’t as flashy as the others I mentioned previously, but you can find some incredible deals here. They have a section called the Top 20, which lists “This Week’s Top Travel Deals on the Internet”. Ranging from full vacation packages including air and hotels to single night stays at luxurious locales, Travelzoo updates these every week. You can even sign up for their email newsletter, keeping you informed when the latest deals are listed. I have used Travelzoo on several occasions, and I’ve never been disappointed in the discounts I have been given.
Another website offers a Top 25 list of deals, all of which are really nice packages or individual deals. Sherman’s Travel (www.shermanstravel.com) even has a print magazine (a free trial issue is available) that can give you a closer look at these locales. I’ve used Sherman’s Travel a couple of times with great results. There’s nothing like paying less than one hundred dollars for a four-star hotel room, closing the door on your suite and seeing the rack rate listed at over four hundred dollars. Even for simple trips to New Orleans or Houston, you can find some terrific bargains here.
Speaking of bargains, one of the biggest discount travel websites I use frequently is Priceline (www.priceline.com). Aside from being a William Shatner fan, what works great for me is the “Name Your Own Price” feature. I have used this to get hotel rooms for as low as fifty dollars for a four-star hotel in Houston, right in the middle of downtown. For the uninitiated, you choose what part of town and what kind of hotel (3-star, 4-star, etc) in which you’d like to stay. You make a bid and enter your payment information, and if a hotel accepts your bid, you then find out where you are staying. If your bid is not accepted, you can wait 24 hours to bid again, or change the star rating or area of town. I typically wait until about 5 days before I expect to travel, booking too far in advance might not yield great deals and too soon might mean missed opportunities. The star ratings are very accurate, so the hesitation about not knowing your exact accommodations is one you’ll lose quickly after you find a great deal and stay in a luxurious room for less than a third of the normal price. Hotwire (www.hotwire.com) is very similar in functionality, but my personal preference is clear.
No matter where you’ll go, you can save a lot of money using any of these sites. Part of the fun of a vacation is the planning, so I hope that with these websites, you’ll find significant savings on your next trip away from home.