There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of travel websites and apps all claiming to be the best, but which ones are really worth your time and how do you really find the best deal?
Once and for all, here is a list broken down into how they can be best used to go on your dream vacation at a fraction of the price.
Obviously we first have to start with the big guys everyone's heard of: TripAdvisor, Kayak, Expedia and Orbitz. They're well-known for a reason but what are they really good at and what else do they do that you should know about?
The Major Players
A fantastic tool for travel search which trolls hundreds of sites to find you the best deals. The lack of bells and whistles really streamlines the search process and makes for a good user experience. One thing to note though is that it's not actually a booking tool and as soon as you choose a flight/hotel etc, it will push you externally to make the reservation and pay. One thing you might not have realized is that it can also be used as a wonderful exploration tool that lets you virtually roam the world in search of cheap travel destinations.
Easy to navigate, Expedia is a leader in the field of budget travel booking. One tool on the sight that doesn't get enough credit is the Scratchpad which automatically saves your searches. This can save you a bunch of time so you don't have to type in search criteria every time you're price checking for your upcoming vacation.
The site to go for when looking for crowdsourced peer reviews of anything from tourist attractions to hotels, flights and restaurants. A feature that is mostly unknown to the common user is the GreenLeaders program TripAdvisor started where you can search for environmentally hotels that have been certified as "green".
Infamously known for poor customer service, this deal site is best for last minute deals and their commitment to eradicate booking fees. What you might not have know is that they have an Orbitz loyalty program in which you earn flexible credits toward hotel bookings far superior to the more well-known travel rewards programs.
The Lesser-Known Sites You Should Use
|Best For Cheap Flights||Best For Cheap Hotels||Best For Cheap Cruises||Best For Road Trips||Best For Figuring Out What To Do||Best For Trip Planning||Best Travel Hacks||Cool Apps/Websites That Deserve A Mention|
|SkyScanner: search over 600 airlines simultaneously and see the results in an easy-to-read format||Trivago: search over 200 booking sites for more than 700,000 hotels||Vacationstogo: 90 Day Ticker=cheap last-minute deals||RoadTrippers: great for US-based trips, it offers tips for specific routes and has a trip planner||JetPac City Guides: uses Instagram photos to find the best places in cities around the world||Tripit: organize your travel plans in one place||Mileways: an app that helps you use your miles before they expire||Trover: a Pinterest for the travel set|
|Google Flights: see how flight prices fluctuate depending on destinations and dates||Hipmunk: choice is the name of the game||CruiseOne: this site has really useful filters to help you plan||GasBuddy: when desperate measures call for calculated planning to the nearest pump||Localeur: find out where the locals are and where they're eating and going||Mygola: a way to share your itinerary with others to get their feedback||Jet Lag Rooster: avoid jet lag by planning sleep schedules, light exposure and melatonin supplementation.||RouteHappy: search flights based on the amenities|
|AirFareWatchDog: set price alerts for specific flights||Hotels.com: filters, filters, filters. Only problem: you can't compare with other sites||Cruise Compete: an aggregator that helps you compare based on destination, date, length and line.||Road Ninja: discover new places, map out your trip, share your encounters, and save with special promotions||Findery: allows members to find and leave notes around the world, telling stories about the places they've found and loved||FlightTrack: track your flight for you||Travel App Box: offers offline maps, language guides and games||Rocketmiles: a hotel booking site that awards you thousands of airline points with your preferred carrier for booking through them|
|Pintrips: pin flights from various sights to a board to compare options side by side||PriceLine: You know A LOT before you book on the easy-to-use reservation system||Field Trip: app that notifies you when you get close to something interesting (from local history to the best places to shop and eat)||Like a Local: Yelp for tourists||Free Wifi Finder: enough said.||Duolingo: a hands-on approach to learning a new language|
|Hotwire: GREAT prices||SeatGuru: choose where your flight seat by using reviews of those who have sat there before you||Raveable: honest hotel reviews|
|PackingPro: for the list fans in all of us|
It was hard to narrow down the list so if you want to learn about more the top new apps for travel, apps and websites that will help feed your wanderlust or the best travel apps for cruisers check out these other blogs and posts.