Planning your next trip can be a hassle if you have no clue where to start. From finding flights, where to stay, and what to do, the below list of my favorite travel sites will get you on your way in no time.
The Flight Deal
The Flight Deal provides some of the best travel deals around the world. On a daily basis (multiple times per day) you can guarantee to see several listings, both domestic and international, that will peak your interest and dare you to travel. Be sure to sign up for their daily newsletter, however, you will have a better chance of scoring a great deal if you check the site regularly (newsletter is distributed once a day in the afternoon – you run the risk of missing deals that happens before/after the newsletter is released).
Benefit(s): Tickets purchased – Abu Dhabi $187 rt, Uruguay/Argentina $500 rt, Kenya $300 rt, Azores Islands $287 rt, Martinique $178 rt, South Africa $480 rt.
Matrix Airfare Search
If you ever need help planning your trip and seeking the most affordable way of getting there, the Matrix Airfare Search can quickly become your best friend. The Matrix Airfare Search is a shopping engine powered by Google that shows the most affordable route to any destination by exploring date ranges and real-time filters that suits your preference.
Benefit(s): Ensure you are traveling during the most inexpensive/reasonable time frame.
Every week, Travelzoo scans the web and search thousands of companies worldwide for the best travel deals and compiles a “Top 20” list every Wednesday.
Benefit(s): Ticket purchased – Iceland Air special: RT to any destination in Europe (I choose London) with a free stopover in Iceland w/ free accommodation for $500.
Twitter alerts come in handy for those that are not able able to search the web constantly throughout the day for travel deals. By subscribing to companies such as The Flight Deal and Airfare Watchdog via Twitter, you will receive notifications on travel deals as they become available.
Benefit(s): Never miss a glitch/flash sale!
TripAdvisor, my holy grail to all things travel! When planning any trip (or searching hotels), I always use TripAdvisor to compile a list of “must see” attractions, then filter the list down after reading reviews and doing further research. It has never led me wrong to date.
Off The Beaten Path – Google Search
It’s always a good idea to see the main attractions in each city, but it’s a better idea to explore the off the beaten path. Through a quick Google search, “Off the beaten path (insert city’s name),” you will easily come across several lists from locals and experienced travelers on things to do that will elevate your experience to new heights.
Benefit(s): I’ve found tour guides that were able to offer an amazing, authentic experience for an unbelievably low price; i.e 6 days in Cairo, Egypt for $300. Cost included RT airport transfer, all sites with admission fees, 3 days worth of “off the beaten” path activities, all transportation, and several meals throughout the week as a nice gesture. Thanks Rany & Ken!
AirBnB is a great alternative to hotels, especially in cities such as London and Paris, where hotel rates per night tend to be very high. I’ve been using AirBnB consistently for the past 4 years for a more localized experience at an affordable rate. To ensure I have a smooth stay, I only select hosts with at least 3 reviews and a high response rate.
Benefit(s): Your host from AirBnB will quickly become your personal tour guide providing details on where to go, best restaurants, safety, etc.
Starwoods Preferred Guest
Starwoods Hotels are my go to when traveling. They provide the right level of luxury and tailor-made experiences (top tier category hotels). The main benefit of being a Starwoods Preferred Guest is that you can quickly rack up points and free stays by just being a member and booking stays with any of their hotel brands around the world.
Hotels.com offers members the opportunity to earn and collect free nights at hotels for every 10 nights booked. If you travel frequently, it’s fairly easy to rack up free nights quickly. Be mindful that some hotels eliminate certain privileges (i.e. free airport pick-up) when booked through a third party. Be sure to double check!
Benefit(s): Received 3 nights free when I visited Boracay Island (Philippines) during a 5 night stay at the District Boracay; Glitch fare to Kenya departed from Washington, DC – my accommodation at The Westin was covered in full through my Hotels.com free nights.
Good luck and happy trip planning! Cheers!