London Hotels Articles

August 7, 2010

Best travel planning websites

If you’re looking for airfares and hotel fares, you have many many choices. On the big 3 (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz) you can find decent prices, but with the supplier (airline, hotelier) price guarantees in effect, you’re likely to find slightly better prices on supplier sites.

For airfares, always check Southwest and Jetblue…they do a great job, often have the lowest fares, and you’ll find their fares only on their own sites.

For price comparisons across supplier sites, you can use what’s called a “meta-search” engine…these are tools that look across several sites to compare prices. The oldest one is SideStep. Kayak (which is also AOL’s Pinpoint Travel) and Mobissimo are also good options. These guys also do hotel searches, but they don’t have many functions to help you choose the hotel.

Priceline is still a good option. Last year I was able to get a 4-star London hotel for about $100/night…very good deal. Since Priceline’s deals are unpublished…the price guarantees don’t apply to them…so you can really get some deals.

A new site called www.HomeandAbroad.com takes an interesting step into travel planning. You enter your destination, and the site has a few ways of listing out attractions and can help you build an itinerary for your trip. It doesn’t have any roadtrip functions, doesn’t recommend destinations, and doesn’t really help you in filtering through dozens of attractions…but it is a great step forward. The site has some kind of relationship with Expedia, so I’m sure we’ll see and understand more about that in the future.

Two new places to compare airfares…FareCompare and FareCast…are now up and running. They both allow you to look at the trends of airfares, to see when might be the best time to buy. It’s great to see more flexible ways to shop for airfare.

In addition to the sites with “live” travel pricing information, check out some of the sites that publish travel deals.

I think the best one is SmarterTravel. They definitely put much effort into scanning through the deals that are out there, and they write little articles about the deals to help you understand the ins and outs. SmarterTravel also has sister sites BookingBuddy.com and TripMania.com. Both are also interesting ways of looking up travel deals…my favorite is still the main site though.

Another “deals” site is TravelZoo. I’ve heard alot about them in the media, but my experience with them hasn’t been very good. It just looks like a cheapo advertisement site to me. But to each his own.

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