Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thrifty Strategy- Travel Websites

In the past week I have been planning (OK obsessing over) a couple upcoming vacations. I've used my usual online strategies and have been able to find some good deals, so I thought I'd share them:


From Source
Hotel Methodology:
1. Use Hotels.com, Kayak.com, or another agregator website to search for lodging. They have great filters so you can search for the exact amenities you need.
2. Once you have the list narrowed down to a few properties, go to each of the properties' individual websites (for example Embassy Suites or Holiday Inn Express) and search for rooms there. You will often find different prices and deals that aren't available through the agregator sites.
3. If the price is the same, always book the room through the individual hotel's website as opposed to through Hotels.com or another website. In the event that you need to change or cancel a reservation, you're much better off dealing with the hotel individually.

Other thrifty tips when deciding on a place to stay:
- Look for a place that offers free breakfast. You can often fill up on a free buffet which saves you not only on the breakfast itself but also on lunch later. Plus, breakfast prices at most hotels are exorbinant.
- If you will need to park a car, be sure to check for parking fees. At some resorts and hotels that can add quite a bit to your bill. It might be worth paying a little more at a property that doesn't charge for parking.
- Consider renting a condominium with a full kitchen or staying at a hotel that at least offers a microwave and fridge. That way you won't need to eat out for every meal.

Flight Methodology:
1. Use Orbitz or another website to search for flights. Sites such as these are helpful because they can combine flights on multiple carriers for more complicated itineraries.
2. Also look at the websites for any regional carriers who don't participate in Orbitz
3. If the flights you're interested in are all on one airline (which they usually are), go to that airline's individual website to find the same flights and to book. I have found it's better to book through the airline directly. You will get the best price and it's easier to deal with the airline directly if there is a problem.

Do you agree with my recommendations? Have any experiences to share?

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