Although travel is down in this economy, it’s still required for many of us. In addition to the high-profile travel sites that most people already know about, there are some great new and lesser-known sites that can save you money on trips, and beat many common types of hassles. They can help you save money on airport parking, make sure your seat on a plane will allow you to work in-flight, and much more. Here are several sites to try before your next trip.
If you want to find an ideal hotel to stay in on a trip, try Hotelicopter. The site compares pricing and availability from over 30 travel and hotel sites. You can use thermometer-style sliding controls to adjust thresholds for prices and star ratings. When you decide on a hotel, the site searches for the best available price you can get at various sites around the web instead of just directing you immediately to the hotel’s site.
Before you book a hotel, or if you’re looking for restaurants and other attractions in a particular city, TripAdvisor remains an essential site to go to. It has a very large database of customer reviews and ratings, plus many photos uploaded by travelers.
Do you take the time to optimize the seats you get on your plane flights? I haven’t found a better site for doing this than SeatGuru, which has a large database of the common planes flown by major airlines. You can pull up a seat map for the type of plane you’ll be on, and access an In-Flight Amenities list, which tells you what kinds of audio, video, Internet and power options your seat will offer. You can also pull up comparison lists, as seen in the screenshot above, showing seating options, laptop power availability, and even seat size for domestic and international flights offered by various airlines. SeatGuru’s database is also now much larger than it used to be.
Did you know that you can get a refund from airlines on a plane ticket you’ve already bought if the price of the ticket drops? Prices on many flights are currently dropping, so it’s a good idea to use Yapta‘s flight price tracking service: Enter the price you paid for your ticket, and the site will tell you if it drops. You can also check a list of available refunds.
Many sites let you check on the status of flights that are in the air, but FlightAware has a really dependable real-time database. All the data comes directly from air traffic controllers, and you can pull up graphical maps showing where various flights are. You can also check the status of any airport. FlightStats is also worth using for checking on the status of flights, and more.
If you fly frequently, take the time to compare the various mileage programs offered by the airlines at WebFlyer. There are large differences between the programs, and the site will also assist you in transferring miles and points between the programs.
Parking is often a hassle at airports. You can use AboutAirportParking to get updated information on over 400 airport parking lots at more than 100 airports. If you reserve parking online with the site, you can also save a lot of money, especially if you’re willing to park in a remote lot.
What travel sites do you use?