Planes, trains and automobiles—mostly planes (JMRL owns this DVD)
Booking a plane trip may be the most frustrating and time-consuming of all aspects of travel planning. Most travelers start with the previous mentioned online travel resources—Orbitz, Travelocity, and Expedia. Several websites emphasize airline travel:
Kayak.com—searches in real time and has a wide variety of customizable filters
Bing.com—has a price predictor which estimates if prices will go up or down
Enough??? After checking those websites, checking the airline’s website itself can offer other special deals. And—before buying the ticket, visiting Airfarewatchdog.com or Yapta.com can sometimes uncover more and cheaper fares.
In general, flexibility in travel dates can offer some reasonable alternatives to the price game. According to Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor for CBS News, the best day and time to buy tickets online is Wednesday morning at 12:01. His website–petergreenberg.com has a ton of travel information and links. JMRL owns his Don’t Go There! : The Travel Detective’s Essential Guide to the Must-Miss Places of the World. According to Rick Seaney (founder and CEO of farecompare.com) the best day and time to buy tickets in Tuesday at 3pm. The best day to fly is Wednesday, according to a quick look at Google.
Don’t forget train travel www.amtrak.com— delightful in its simplicity and lack of travel-planners angst.
Alternative ways to get places is the topic of Lunatic Express: Discovering the World…via Its Most Dangerous Buses, Boats, Trains, and Planes by Carl Hoffman.
After you’ve arrived, where will you stay? Once again, hotel and room reservations websites abound. In addition to Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, and Trip Advisor—hotels.com is a standard. Other fun sites are www.roomatlas.com which includes a map with a price overlay. Getaroom.com, MoreHotels4Less, and oyster.com (great pictures!)
For good bargains and often good locations—Vacation Rentals by Owner http://www.vrbo.com/ – often has pictures and reviews of accommodations; several properties require a minimum number of nights. Other websites offering similar features are rentalspot.com and home away. Although craigslist does offer a section of vacation rentals, articles in newspapers recount fraud and warnings.
~ Joyce MacDonald