20 Top Travel Websites to Plan Your Holidays
1) AirfareWatchdog: If you’re looking for travel websites in hopes of a great airfare deal, Airfare Watchdog is one of the best sites for travelers ready to go when a great deal pops up. Airfare Watchdog keeps a close eye on airlines in anticipation of fare sales. They use rewards programs to take advantage of promotional codes and discount offers that are in turn passed on to AirfareWatchdog users. The site also scours deals from airlines like Southwest and Allegiant – airlines that are considered too small to appear on Kayak or other bigger search sites.
2) HotelWatchdog: Similar to its buddy AirfareWatchdog, HotelWatchdog retrieves the best hotel rates available at a moment’s notice. It ensures the rates are cheap, lower than similar hotels within the same location, and that the locations have been well reviewed by other travel websites.
3) WhichBudget.com: WhichBudget works by helping you assemble an overseas flight plan using smaller airlines that are considerable less expensive, which is a terrific way to save some money when flying internationally. All you have to do is choose your overseas starting point, end point or both, and WhichBudget pulls information from various travel websites to create a list of airlines you may be unfamiliar with, each of which service that route.
4) Kayak.com: Kayak is one of the best travel websites when it comes to getting a good deal on cheap airfare.
They take their information from hundreds of sources online to narrow down the cheapest airfare deals available. You can search for dates one to three days before and after your preferred travel dates or search any weekends in the next year. You’ll be more likely to find a good deal if you’re flexible on your travel time and destination. Using Kayak’s Explore tool, you’ll be able to scan a map of the globe and see all the different destinations available within a specified price range! Kayak will allow you to indicate your ideal holiday activities (golf? Beach parties? Skiing the slopes?) flight time, and your preferred weather based on temperature. Another bonus Kayak has to offer is it’s “price predictor” which allows you to predict whether to hold off on that ticket purchase or go for it right now. It can forecast airfare price changes as they drop and rise. So just fill out your ideal itinerary and leave it up to Kayak to generate a list of flight options, along with a suggestion to either buy the tickets now or wait for a predicted fare drop.
5) Yapta.com Takes advantage of the fact that many major airlines, such as Jetblue, American, and AirTran will refund you the difference if the fare drops below what you spent on your ticket. The difference is usually paid back to you in the form of travel vouchers or credits. All you need to do is fill out your flight information at Yapta.com, and it tracks the fares on your behalf. If the fare price drops below the threshold that you indicate, Yapta will send you an e-mail or Tweet and show you the steps to follow to collect your refund from the airline. Definitely one of the more helpful travel websites out there!
6) Hotels.com: Hotels.com is one of many travel websites that lets you search for accomodations, but Hotels.com pulls information from hundreds of thousands of properties to get great last-minute deals which are updated on a daily basis. Even if you’re new to searching for hotels online, you can easily grab great deals using Hotels.com and their destination-specific sales, seasonal deals, and other special offers. There’s a Welcome Rewards program that frequent travelers will enjoy: For every ten nights you stay with any combination of the Welcome Rewards program’s 100,000 member accommodations, you will earn one free night’s stay worth up to the average daily rate of your previous ten nights. A pretty good deal for the frequent traveller!
7) TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor is one of the most popular travel websites, bringing millions of hotel and attraction reviews both professional and amateur to readers seeking info for sites and accommodations worldwide. All you need to do is plug in your information, and TripAdvisor will give you a very detailed list of all the hotels, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals and other accommodations within the specified area.. One drawback to TripAdvisor would be false reviews, so pay attention while you’re seeking out uncharted territory. If there’s only one review and it’s glowing, chances are it might be a review written by the lodging itself. Most sites will have well rounded reviews by multiple reviewers. A good idea would be to ignore the polarized reviews and focus on the ones that offer a little bit of the good and bad about each place – chances are they are being the most honest and will in turn be the most helpful.
8) Priceline.com: Priceline.com brings its users the same kind of online travel services that typical travel
websites offer, but it’s unique Priceline Negotiator tool allows users to haggle for the best hotel deals. You choose a minimum star class, your travel dates and your ideal neighbourhood, and then enter in your budget. You can end up saving up to 60% off rates published online, and bids under $100 on great hotels often go through, especially for last minute bookings. This site also lets users Name Your Own Price for car rentals and airline fares. The only catch is that Priceline won’t actually tell you which hotel you’re staying at until after you pay – so you never know where you’ll end up! It can feel like a pretty risky move sometimes, particularly if you’re staying in an overseas area you’ve never been to before.
8) BedandBreakfast.com: BedandBreakfast.com is a great Bed and Breakfast search engine that will zero in on even the smallest inns in your selected area, and give you lots of details. Narrow your search results using the filter, and search for specific things like hot tubs and fireplaces, and pet-friendly places. It’s one of the most helpful travel websites when you’re looking for specific information on Bed and Breakfasts. After filling out your information including your email address, you’ll receive promotion codes and deals for the Bed and Breakfasts in your specified location.
9) HomeAway.com: If you’re searching for travel websites that offer a selection of vacation rental options, HomeAway.com brings you results from more than a million global listings. Vacation rentals are a great value people travelling in groups because they typically give you more space and more amenities for similar or cheaper rates than staying in hotels.
10) Hostelz.com: No matter whether you’re traveling alone, backpacking, or traveling in a group, there are many hostels out there offering budget accommodations. You don’t have be living the backpacker lifestyle either, as many of the hostels listed these days offer guests more private accommodations with hotel style amenities. Hostelz.com is one of the best travel websites for finding hostel lodging and pulls from nearly 50,000 listings in approximately 9,000 cities. Results come complete with professional reviews as well as reviews from typical travelers.
11) HomeExchange.com: HomeExchange.com is one of a handfull of travel websites offering services for swapping homes for the holiday. With over 55,000 listings spread out worldwide there’s sure to be a lot of great matches out there for inspired travellers. Pay an annual membership fee of $119 and then trade your home for someone else’s as many times as you can manage! Great for weekend getaways throughout the year!
12) JetSetter.com: This site is a private-sale site for luxury hotel bargains. Usually, these kinds of travel websites offer exclusive members access to deep discounts, and you make the most of these discounts when you’re flexible about when and where you want to go. JetSetter can offer between 15 and 30 of these “flash sales” available to members at one time, which is considerably more than the other websites, and savings of up to 50% off the online published rates.
13) At CruiseCompete.com: Over three hundred travel agencies compete to offer you the lowest prices for the cruise dates, ports and ships that you indicate, no matter whether you’re booking with plenty of time or at the last minue. Set up your CruiseCompete account, and start receiving their greatest deals without the need for them to ever see your personal information. As a bonus, CruiseCompete has live agents at the ready to assist you through the process by phone or live chat. One of the best travel websites for searching cruise deals!
15) Hotwire.com: Hotwire.com is one of the most popular travel websites offering the best deals on vacations, hotels and flights – but have you checked out Hotwire’s car rentals? Hotwire brings you the best deals on rental cars for your vacation by collecting rate information from its eight rental car company partners, which include Hertz, Alamo and Enterprise. Hotwire also brings you “hot rates” from car rental companies that are not disclosed until after you’ve paid. When taking a blind approach at renting a car the risk is minimal – the car will still be the same type of car regardless of the company providing it.
15) AutoEurope.com: When dealing with car rental travel websites in Europe, go AutoEurope.com. With more than twenty thousand locations all over the globe, AutoEurope specializes in car rentals overseas. If there’s ever any issue with the rental car company that you’ve been provided, AutoEurope will promptly assist you in resolving it.
16) XE.com Of all the travel websites you look at before booking that trip, this one might get overlooked. Make friends with XE.com before traveling, and get reliable, mid-market exchange rate information. XE.com offers a comprehensive grid of conversion rates on its homepage, and a variety of other useful tools such as calculators for travel expenses, various credit-card charges and, of course, currency conversions.
17) RailEurope.com Thinking of traveling by train next holiday? If you’re taking the train anywhere in Europe –
which is the best, fastest, and cheapest way to travel between European countries – check out RailEurope.com. It’s American-ized for those of us who don’t speak the many languages of Europe, and simplified. Definitely one of the better travel websites for train travel overseas!
18) WebFlyer.com: Are you a fan of frequent flyer points? Searching for travel websites to help you learn how to make the most of them? With WebFlyer.com, users are shown exactly how their miles convert between different frequent flyer programs. You can also learn about any changes to your program and find out different ways to make the most of the value of your mileage awards when you trade them for services or merchandise.
19) InsureMyTrip.com: It’s something we don’t really want to think about – illness, injury and other upsetting circumstanes that can happen on vacation. But it is a reality. When you purchase travel insurance through agencies’ travel websites and tour providers, such as cruise lines, you usually aren’t getting the best deal because of various price markups and claim restrictions. When you use InsureMyTrip.com, you are able to compare different insurance plans and prices from multiple providers in one search. Try narrowing your search results by filtering only the type of travel insurance coverage you want.
20) FlightStats.com: Travel websites like FlightStats.com help ease the process of planning your vacation by suggesting to you the most ideal times of day to fly out of any specific airport. They will also advise you which terminals you should try to avoid for your connections. Some added bonuses of FlightStats.com are their free email and phone alerts, and live updates of any flight delays you need to know about.
For more ways to prepare your vacation, visit the Travel Planning category.