Happy Travel Tuesday everyone!! It’s strange to think how much can change in just one week – this time last week I was packing up for an impromptu trip to California to meet my niece (which I will probably mention as often as possible for the foreseeable future – smile). This week I’m back in the office wading through contracts for a new project (also good news, if slightly less exciting). Tuesdays really are becoming one of the best days of the week! It seems like I’ve been booking quite a bit of travel lately, so today I wanted to share my top travel websites and why I like them so much. I also want to hear about your favorites as well – knowledge is [travel] power! (Sorry, couldn’t resist – smile)
TripAdvisor - I remember back when TripAdvisor was a new – and radical – concept. Today this website is a great resource for chatting with other travelers, finding new experiences and restaurants (both local and foreign), reading up on all the need-to-know details about your chosen destination, booking hotel rooms, and (possibly most importantly) referencing tons of reviews on all of the above. Although I may not use TripAdvisor directly to book an excursion or hotel, I do check the reviews before booking – especially for trips outside of my own country. I have found several off-the-beaten-path destinations through TripAdvisor, not a few of which I literally wouldn’t have found without detailed instructions in the reviews! TripAdvisor doesn’t necessarily book hotels, etc directly through the website, but its a great resource for other (sometimes more localized) booking sites, which I’ve definitely found useful in certain countries. I’ve really tried to get better recently about posting my own reviews on TripAdvisor – seems only fair to give back!
Kayak – I use Kayak mostly for plane tickets and rental cars. I really appreciate the fact that Kayak offers the option of booking two one-way fares vs. round-trip only. Sometimes it is surprisingly cheaper to go one-way! I think the site is pretty user-friendly and it certainly makes a show of comparing all of your options (sometimes too much so). I’ve also found that since Kayak sends you to the actual carrier/hotel website to book, you can occasionally get better service/upgrades than booking through a discount service. Kayak Explore is also a great option if you’re looking for quick trips or just day-dreaming (smile). Explore allows you to see airfare prices from your city to destinations worldwide. It’s a great tool if you have some flexibility in your schedule.
Hotwire – Hotwire is my go to destination for hotels in the U.S. If you aren’t tied to a loyalty program, you can book based on price and general location for great deals! I’ve always felt that I got exactly what I paid for, and thus been satisfied. Hotwire is also a great resource for rental cars if you aren’t picky about the chain.
Booking.com – I remember using Booking.com long before they started airing those obnoxious commercials. It was – and is – my favorite place to find accommodations outside of the U.S. Originally found through TripAdvisor, Booking.com has definitely become a more legit name in the business. I like the fact that you can find all types of accommodations using various search options. And I really appreciate that the reviews always seem candid and honest. I’ve also had really good interactions with their customer service, no matter where I am in the world (smile).
Google – I know, I know – but the above are only four examples of literally thousands of travel sites out there. They’re definitely my go-to staples when I’m planning a trip, but sometimes it pays off just to Google a destination. You can find photos, reviews, and localized travel sites that might offer a more specific experience for your adventure. I do, however, highly recommend searching for reviews on anything before you book. Chances are if you can’t find any reviews and it looks pretty sketchy on Google Street View, you probably shouldn’t do it – a lesson learned the hard way!
What are your favorite travel sites?? I always like adding to my list so please share below!!