The days of the traditional travel agent are pretty much long gone. Although you can still find some traditional agents around the local travel agencies have turned to the internet. The internet provides the casual traveler with many options and up to date pricing. So with a touch of a finger we are now able to get great deals online. With so many sites to choose from which ones will fit your needs?
The goal of each site is to offer you the best deals and to create a smooth booking process. Most of these sites are really a matter of preference for the user, but I like to shop around to compare prices when booking. To get the best deals first you should decide what type of trip you are taking.
Regardless of the site you always want to look at their special deals. Especially if you are not 100% sure where you are going and doing but just want a vacation. Websites like Expedia, Orbitz, and Hotwire will offer some great deals for air, car, and hotel packages to certain highlighted cities. There are some strict rules of booking but you will find them to be lower than if you booked each portion individually.
Hotwire also bases much of their pricing on you being flexible with your times. They provide you with a package price and once you agree they tell you what time you have to travel during those days. It is how they control the pricing and offering you the lowest prices they can. If you are flexible in this respect they do offer some great deals.
Keep in mind with Hotwire that you have to be ready to purchase if they give you a deal you cannot refuse. You are on a time limit to purchase and if you leave and come back you could typically lose that rate and get a different one. If that package price is still valid you will get that back but that is something you take the chance on.
Orbitz and Expedia offer great deals on cruises, ski packages, and more. You have flexibility with time and destinations here and although they do offer those random destinations they do also combine packages for you and are easy to use.
If you are traveling and will need air and hotel, or even air, car, and hotel then you will want to consider packaging your trip. Each website is geared to offer you better deals when you package them together. On average the price is around 30% lower when using packages versus booking each individual piece. One thing you will notice on most travel sites is the ability to add tours, shows, and other amenities that will even further your savings.
On sites such as Orbitz they do provide you extensive information about destinations, activities in those destinations, and rating information. This is a nice perk for travelers that have never been to this destination. If you are looking for information on the properties and overall location then you will find Orbitz to be very user friendly.
Expedia has a great layout and can be used for both business and pleasure. Making for a one stop shopping experience and they help you convert your rewards miles which is a perk. They have extensive maps and destination information which makes them quite valuable. You do have to become a member, but they do offer some tremendous deals.
There are many other websites out there to compare. All of them offer some of the same features but these were the top 3. Each has unique deals and all are geared toward getting you some great deals. With the touch of a finger you can now access the many great deals and book your perfect trip.
So what if you need specific destinations or times? What if you really only need air bookings? Each of these sites is still in line with this type of travel. You can purchase each piece individually with the same features and benefits of these destinations.
One thing I do when I am purchasing individually is go to the deals section first. Many times my destination will be there and I can see what restrictions are out there and if I can get one of these deals. If not then I go and search the deals for my cities in the search boxes. Don't forget to shop around just to compare prices.
One good thing to also try is the airline websites directly. Many sites like Southwest airlines have extensive explanations of rules and restrictions on their prices making it easy to understand. In the travel world they do use a lot of jargon, but some airlines have really tried to help explain certain restrictions in easy to understand blogs.
The airline websites directly can also offer you deals and packages as they have teamed up with hotels and cars to offer overall deals as well. They may not have as many as someone like Orbitz or Expedia but they can offer some great deals.
The airlines also have the luxury of offering web only fares. These are fares they offer to someone willing to book online versus over the phone. These deals are often much lower than the regular fares making it intriguing for you to go in this direction. You can find a lot of bargains in these web only fares.
Keep in mind that shopping at each individual airline website can be time consuming. That is where Expedia, Orbitz, Hotwire, and others will search them all for you and give you the special deals. That is the true appeal to these sites and can give you that one stop shopping experience.
One last great feature of the internet is the ability to research any location you are traveling. You can get up to the minute weather information, tourist attractions, information on the state and climate, and much more. There are many tourist sites out there and Travel sites like Expedia and Orbitz do utilize some of these features but you can locate many tourist sites on search engines.
Some of the best tourist sites are going to be as simple as typing the location name and tourism. Example being Colorado Tourism and several helpful sites come up and will give you added features on this state along with best airports to fly into so you are not traveling hours upon arrival. You can even go as far as virtual tourism sites that have great pictures and details on your destination.
Travel has been made easier using the internet. No driving to a local agency to get the deals, no relying on just a few brochures to show you the locations, and no waiting on destination information. The internet has brought this all to you with the touch of a finger from the convenience of your own home any time of the day or night. You now have the capability to search competitors and make the best decisions that are right for you.
If you are looking to book your next trip then you may want to consider these keen factors. Make your trip not only enjoyable but affordable.