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Claire's Tips

Best Travel Websites

In theory – the web should make things easier for travelers, but there are so many online services out there that it can often be more overwhelming than useful.  Claire Newell joins us now with some of her picks to get you started planning your travel online.

There really are so many useful websites out there – that can help you avoid overpaying for airfare, get the best hotel rooms for cheap, and never miss a deal on a rental-car reservation again. Some of my other favorites are as useful as having a personal secretary! Let’s take a look:

Starting with Bing.com/travel – a website that lets you comparison-shop for tickets across more than a hundred sources. Best part is it also analyzes historical data to predict whether the price you see on the screen today is likely to rise or drop in the coming week.

Next, you can lock in the lowest rate on rental cars at autoslash.com. Reserve a vehicle from your favorite agency through the website – and it will instantly begin tracking rate changes for your reservation. If a sale pops up later – it automatically locks in the lower price on your behalf.

I love the concept of this website… hipmunk.com – a new travel search site that presents flight results in a visual “timeline” that allows travelers to select the best flight for “them” at a glance. This site incorporates an agony scale for flights with multiple legs and long layovers, and an “ecstasy” rating for hotels based on a combination of the property’s amenities, rates and user reviews. What’s more, Hipmunk’s hotel search tool shows hotels on a map so you can see exactly what kind of dining, shopping and nightlife you’re going to be close to.

I also like, tripit.com is for those travelers who need that extra bit of help with organization. Especially good for detailed vacations. Keep every last confirmation number, arrival time, and prepaid reservation fee straight – in single document that you can access on the go via laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

You simply forward each email receipt from booking a flight, hotel, rental car – etc– to your Tripit account, and the site will literally cull and compile the info for you into a handy, accessible document.

And finally – never let another frequent-flier mile expire again with awardwallet.com. It’s basically the loyalty-program counterpart to Tripit’s travel-info collector.

The website streamlines your family’s assortment of frequent-flier and loyalty programs, compiling them in a single, simple, point-tracking package so you don’t have to worry about remembering expiry dates ever again.