Being a travel geek, I find myself searching flights and travel deals when I want to be entertained. The following are my favorite tools to research and book travel.
If you ask me where I want to travel the most, I cannot answer. I just want to go anywhere and everywhere. Luckily, Kayak has made it easy to search for just that. Simply put in your home airport and viola! You can scan a map of the world to see how much plane tickets are running for. You can even select a specific month or season in which to travel. This is also a great tool if you have a specific budget in mind. Only have $500 to spend on airfare? Great! Reduce the price search to a $500 maximum and see where you can go!
I like this site because unlike many common flight search engines in the US, this site includes international airlines. They also have a great search tool that allows you to input your travel interests, general location, and time of year. I also like how the site makes it easy to toggle dates when price-searching. Plus it’s colorful and pretty.
TravelZoo has a great website for searching travel deals in general, but I always head straight for the top 20 deals of the week. Each week, they post new deals they’ve found in their arsenal of travel companies. They include everything from airfare to escorted tours, All-Inclusive resorts to cruises. If you’re looking to do a vacation on the cheap, I’d check out TravelZoo stat.
Okay, so this one is actually an app. And I’m totally obsessed with it. Basically, you save a bunch of destinations that you’d like to travel to. This becomes your Hit List. The app works in conjuction with SkyScanner (which is another flight searching tool, but I’m not a big fan of it) to find low prices to the destinations on your hit list and alert you to great deals. Plus, you can filter your search by “magic” which is just great. I look at this one almost daily….
Of course, I do a TON of reading on other travel blogs. It’s those first-hand experiences and detailed stories of destinations that really make you want to visit a place. Before reading these blogs, my travel wish-list was only a mile long. After reading, it’s basically infinite. Thanks guys….
While I like using Kayak for flights, when it comes to accommodation, I go with Booking.com. This is especially so when looking at cheaper accommodations. I used booking.com to find my hostels in both London and Washington DC. Both times were very pleasant experiences. I like being able to filter by price, based on a single person in a dorm room. I also like how all the vital information is laid out so you don’t have to do much looking.
Okay, so once I’ve found accommodations that look promising on booking.com, I generally turn to both TripAdvisor and Google. I like to see if they’ve got their own website and read reviews from past guests.
A word of caution: You must take reviews with a grain of salt. Studies have shown that people are more likely to write a review when something bad happened, versus when something good happened. In short, people just loooove to complain.
Don’t take the complainers super seriously. Instead, look for trends within all the reviews. Also, keep in mind the kind of trip you’re wanting to take. Do the reviews state that the room is outdated? Well if it comes at a good price and you only plan on being in the room to sleep, what does an outdated room really mean to you? Also, keep in mind the location of your travel. What may be dirty and outdated to Americans may not be in other parts of the world. On the other hand, some bad reviews can just be downright entertaining….
Note: None of the above companies asked for my opinion, so you can be assured they are genuine and true 🙂
What are some of the resources you like to use when researching travel? Share them below!