Trip Planning

There’s a Deal! Our favorite sites for travel

“There’s a deal.”

Those three words could apply to so much- a deal on a car, on clothing, on an appliance…the list is endless. But in our house, those three words only pertain to one topic: travel.

My husband and I regularly scan prices of airline ticket, hotel rooms and vacation packages. We look at places we’d like to go, places we’ve been and places that are not necessarily a priority unless the price is right. We’ll follow prices over time to get a sense of deal cycles. Often the destinations are discounted around the same time of year or every certain number of months-similar to how grocery store sales work.

Sometimes we track the prices for a couple of years until we’re comfortable we’ve found a good price. Other times the price is obviously great and we book without months of research. We’ll book based on a good airfare and get the rest piecemeal, or we’ll see a good hotel rate in driving distance.

While we will look on individual hotel chain sites or directly with airlines (especially Southwest), we have favorite places to check for good travel deals. None is a well-kept secret, but here they are:

Travel Zoo– Every Wednesday Travel Zoo comes out with a list of its top 20 travel deals.

Get Away Today– We booked our last 2 Disneyland vacations with Get Away Today. When I first looked at their packages, I actually called to make sure there were no catches (there weren’t). The customer service agents are friendly and helpful, and they have competitive prices for Disneyland. They do offer other destinations as well.

Great Value Vacations– Our Scotland and Ireland trip was booked with them. Like Get Away Today, I was nervous about the great price, but our vacation went off without a hitch. They have lots of packages all over the world. Their customer service has had a bit of wait time when we’ve booked and I would love for it to be easier to book children (you have to call). But, these are minor issues and won’t prevent us booking another trip through them.

Dunhill Travel Deals– This is a bit like Travel Zoo top 20 in that I receive an aggregate of travel specials in my e-mail. I’ve only recently learned about this site, but like seeing what they offer.

Icelandair– Icelandair offers free stopovers of up to seven days in Iceland when flying to Europe. They have competitive prices and are a friendly airline to fly. Keflavik airport is small and easy to navigate and our connections have been smooth.  In addition to flash sales on airfares, they also offer complete packages with hotel and/or excursions.

Others we use less often:

Costco Travel- It’s necessary to belong to Costco to use their travel site. Often I’ve found their prices are not rock bottom, but they are reasonable or comparable to other sites. Many times Costco packages will also include perks like Costco gift cards, meals and merchandise.

Skyscanner- I just learned about this site from another blog and haven’t had a chance to tinker with its features.  Skyscanner will show low airline fares…but I do need to play around with it!

Next Vacay– Next Vacay is similar to Skyscanner in that it alerts to low airline fares. I signed up last spring and believe it’s about $20-25 for the year. I get e-mail alerts about low fares with the price, airline and date range. I like getting the alerts but want to log back in to play around with the features. With school schedules, we have very specific times of the year we can travel. There’s not much room to deviate. I would like a feature to only get alerts about certain dates. Maybe that’s available. We haven’t actually booked a flight from an alert, but I’m always waiting for that perfect fare!

Any other great travel sites out there?

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