Tribune Print Share Text

Planning your travel online

Created date

June 19th, 2012

Part of the challenge in traveling is all of the planning to make your trip all it can be. There are so many options to choose from when it comes to hotels, rental cars, restaurants, and mapping out your daily itinerary. Thankfully, there are many different websites to keep you from being overwhelmed. Not only can you find the best deals on airfare, hotel, and rental cars, you can also research your trip down to every last detail. Here are several sites you should bookmark for planning your next trip: TripAdvisor (tripadvisor.com) When it comes to researching travel destinations and hotels, TripAdvisor is an excellent website to start your exploration. You can view photos, read about what there is to do in the area, and, more importantly, read hotel reviews from people who stayed there. You can also find reviews on local attractions and restaurants. When reading reviews, it is important to look at the dates. There may be excellent reviews from several years ago, but see what recent travelers are saying this will be a good indicator of what your experience might be. Orbitz.com, Expedia.com, Hotels.com These sites allow you to filter your search on airfare, hotels, rental cars, and more to find accommodations and travel arrangements that meet your needs. Each site enables you to book reservations directly and read reviews from other travelers. Kayak.com, Travelocity.com Travelocity and Kayak have similar search features, but they also offer comparison research with other travel websites. When booking a hotel, for example, you can select which of the other travel websites to compare prices; Travelocity and Kayak will open separate windows showing you all the options across all sites. Priceline.com Priceline s unique offering is Name Your Own Price ' , a feature that allows you to pick where you want to stay, number of star ratings, and maximum amount you are willing to spend. The search returns the closest results, but you have to book without knowing the name of the hotel. Fortunately, the listings provide details on the amenities offered and you can view the star rating and general location of the hotel. Hotwire.com In addition to standard searching services, Hotwire allows you to choose Hot Rates, which can save you up to 50% of the normal price. Like Priceline, you can only see the location, amenities, and how many stars the hotel receives, and the name is hidden until after you have reserved. Travelzoo.com If you want to get the best travel deals on the Internet emailed to you every week, sign up for Travelzoo s Top 20 alerts. These specials sell out quickly, so if you are on the email alerts, you can be first in line.

Comments