Web-Savvy Ways to Make Travel Easier and Cheaper

26 Comments

Earlier this year, eMarketer did an interesting study showing that niche travel sites online are making a big dent in the market for more traditional travel services. There are so many niche sites, though, that it can be hard to keep track of which ones can really save you money, time and hassle. In this post, I’ll round up some guaranteed winners, starting with the really useful TripIt.com.

TripIt can be a big organizational help if you travel a lot, especially if you don’t have access to any kind of assistant who can help you. The beta service organizes all of the aspects of your trip—airline reservations, car rental info, hotel details, etc.—into one master itinerary. This saves you from having to aggregate everything in one document, or worse, carting around a bunch of pieces of paper with your plans. You just e-mail plans@tripit.com with your details, then it creates a master itinerary, and you can access and print it from anywhere you can get online.


Some travelers relish the thought of negotiating best prices and tracking travel options while others are more inclined to simply avoid hassle, even if they pay a bit more. If you like to get the lowest prices, and are willing to do a bit of extra legwork, try Kayak and Farecast.com. Kayak was founded by some veterans of the online travel industry who reasoned that by avoiding specialized deals with travel agencies, they could help travelers get the best prices. Kayak scours hundreds of travel sites for deals. Farecast.com does very useful graphs of how airline tickets have risen and fallen in price over a certain amount of time, so you can buy low, as seen below.

For optimizing your airport parking, and quick access to limos and other services, try AboutAirportParking.com.

Do you travel internationally a lot? If so, many travelers cite Mobissimo as having the best deals. The site has a much larger database of international flights than most do.

I’m always surprised by how many people will spend time trying to save on airline tickets, but then pay top dollar for hotel reservations. You can get really good hotel deals at Priceline.com and you even get a greeting from Captain Kirk on the home page. It’s especially good for getting discounts at luxury hotels, and you can bid for the best prices.

For a dozen more tips on convenient online travel solutions, including the super useful sites SeatGuru.com and FlightAware.com, see my previous post and the reader comments there.

Do you have any good tips on online travel sites and services?

26 Comments

Travelaide

We decided to build our own online travel comparison site when several or our local independant travel agencies closed. My wife uses the web to search for cheap holidays so it seemed like a good idea. Why would anyone want to sit in a travel agents when they can compare hundreds of holiday and flight packages with out leaving home. We have developed http://www.travelaide.co.uk for UK surfers to find the best deals in the UK

Finn

The absolutely best flightcomparison engine I have tried is the brand new http://www.viviro.com – It has just been launched in Scandinavia but will be introduced in US and UK shortly..

Best of all – it does not cache old results as most other searchengines…

Direct travel

I have not yet used tripit , but it looks fantactic ,I’m expecting to go on a few trips next year and will most certainly check this software out.

Angie

Great post on sites to save money. I definitely agree that it’s interesting how people work so hard to save money on flights and then pay top dollar for hotels. Not only that, but sometimes it’s just really hard to find a good hotel, something that fits your mood and personality and gives you the best out of your vacation. Finding cheap travel that still fits your needs and personality seems to be really difficult. You should check out this site: http://www.roomforyourimagination.com. It’s has some really funny videos, and I think it showcases the whole point of hotels–to fit your personality and your style. My favorite video is from room 223 called Labels. It’s so hilarious! Gymnasts is good too! You need to go check it out! These videos are awesome…I work with them so I have the inside scoop!

Helga

Hi there
I just want to point out http://www.dohop.com, a flight search engine that searches more than 660 airlines around the world for best prices and connections. Dohop is not a booking tool in itself, but forwards you to the airline or OTA where you can book your trip.
Definately worth checking out.

Happy holidays :)

Ben

There is also YowTrip (www.yowtrip.com) which is helpful to find fellow travelers. It makes it super easy to share all kinds of things about your travels as well. You can share your journals, pictures, videos, and tips that you discovered.

Archaeogeek

If you’re in Europe then http://www.skyscanner.net/ is great for sourcing the cheapest option (day/time) for the flight that you want, which is handy if you can be flexible about your journey. I’ve never understood (well, the cynical part of me understands very well) why the airlines don’t make it clear that the cost of a flight might vary considerably from one day to the next.

WhichBudget

I agree with Samuel that there are so many niche vertical travel search engines out there that the web is becoming saturated with these.

If you’re looking at traveling to Europe or Asia, we’ve put together a very comprehensive list of budget airlines serving the airports in these regions (we’re gradually adding North/South American routes too). See http://www.whichbudget.com for more info and don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Martino Matijevic
WhichBudget

Dragoljub Profirovic

My travel experience when trying to cut costs has shown that you are dealing with unreliable airlines / hotels frequently. Any problems you encounter after you have booked your vacation can result in hours waiting on the phone to get the issue resolved. If the aforementioned risk is not enough, consider the amount of time you spent searching for a bargain when you can clearly afford the additional $200 for a trustworthy service.

Airline Fanatic

Nice post. I particularly like the idea of Tripit, especially if it integrates well with my Google Calendar.

I put together a 5 step guide to the perfect flight where I outline what I do every time I book travel for myself. Kayak is definitely tops, but you have to do a little more research to make sure the experience you get when you fly is better than the low price you paid for your ticket.

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