Best Sites For Vacation Planning And Travel Deals

Travelers now a days have it good, real good. We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to sites offering tools and services promising the best deals when booking our vacations. Everyone has their preferred travel sites they swear by.

Below are the sites that I use most frequently when planning my trips and to bag the best deals for flights, accommodations and car rentals.


1. – This is my “go to” search engine for most of my flight purchases. This flight aggregator scours hundreds of online sites looking for the cheapest fares. Offering lots of search options to customize your results including: the ability to exclude red-eye flights, locate flights with Wifi or search for “hacker fares” (which involves purchasing different legs of flights separately for a cheaper total cost). Best of all, it now has the option to include “airline fees” for baggage and other add-on charges that have become ubiquitous in the airline industry.

2. – This is the granddaddy of airline search engines. I use this site out of habit just to re-confirm that I’ve booked the cheapest flight. It has a nice simple interface. It also gives you the option to search for tickets by country to country ( without a city ). So if you want to visit Spain, but don’t care if goes to Madrid or Barcelona, Skyscanner will find the cheapest flights into that country.

3. – In case the price of the flight you booked drops, some airlines will actually refund you the difference of what you paid. tracks those fares for you and will shoot you an e-mail or Tweet in the event the price of your ticket drops below what you paid. It will also show you how to collect your refund. With this cool service there’s no reason now to overpay for airline tickets.


4. Airbnb – During this past year of non-stop travel,  I can count on hands the number of times I’ve stayed in a hotel. It’s been Airbnb almost all the way. Depending on your budget you can rent a shared room, private room or an entire apartment. It’s far cheaper than a hotel while usually offering more free benefits like use of a kitchen, washing machine, WIFI and more. If you haven’t used this service yet, the only question I have is WHY?? Here is a link to Airbnb with a $20 discount code. Please use it and I promise you, once you try Airbnb you’ll never go back to a hotel.

5. – In the rare case I’m not using Airbnb my fall back option is I like this hotel search engine because it also includes hostels in its search results. It’s an excellent hotel search engine and I’ve always gotten the best rates using them. They also offer a loyalty rewards program, like most other sites, that provides preferential discounts or additional benefits for their preferred members.


Car Rentals

6. – When I’m in the States I use Hotwire to find my rental car. Hotwire gets the best rates by comparing prices from all the major car rental companies.

7. – During my travels in Europe I used AutoEurope. They offer rentals at more than 20,000 locations and have great customer service in case you run into any issues.

Other Sites

8. Tripadvisor – This site has become a Goliath in the tourism industry. Everyone, including my grandmother, uses it. Nothing can compare with the sheer scale of coverage for information and reviews on hotels, attractions or things to do in cities all around the world. To be honest it’s become a victim of it’s own success. While reading reviews on hotels or things to do, take them with a grain of salt. Manipulation of ratings and reviews by owners or competitors is a real issue. Even so, it’s still an invaluable resource.

Tripadvisor has now added a “check rates” options which takes your travel dates and shows you the room rates from its partner sites such as, and which is very convenient.