Recently we told you about 6 reasons not to book your vacation online. If you haven’t read that, we suggest you give it a fewminutes. In order to show both sides of the travel booking coin, we are going to fill you in on a few reasons you shouldbook your vacation online. Sure, calling the hotel may get you some extra information, but booking online often will result in lower costs. There are several options available when considering online booking. Of course, the most common reason people book online is convenience.
Here are five online booking sources and some of the best reasons to use each.
- Kayak.com has become the go-to site for people searching for great airfare. The site pulls information from hundreds of online sources to serve up the cheapest airfare it can find. Of course, your added flexibility when determining travel dates and times increases your chances of finding that perfect fare. Kayak incorporates a lot of extra tools into their user experience with the Explore Tool. It lets you specify things you’d like to do and find places to do those things where you’re going.
- If your travel flexibility includes “right now” as a departure date and time, AirfareWatchdog.com is your choice. Instead of using a complex algorithm to scour websites looking for deals on airfare, AW uses real people checking airline websites to find you the best airfare available. You know all of those rewards programs and email notifications about low airfare? The people at Airfare Watchdog get them and pass the info on to you. Plus, fares returned by AW include airlines which have opted out of search results on sites like Kayak. Another bonus to using Airfare Watchdog, we have them right on our site.
- Priceline.com, of William Shatner fame, may be the best way to get a great deal on a hotel room, flight or car rental. The site’s “Name Your Own Price” feature lets you specify your minimum requirements and price-point, potentially saving a lot of money. Booking a hotel room with Priceline comes with one—not-so-tiny—caveat, blind booking. Priceline doesn’t tell you which hotel you’ve booked with until after you have completed the payment process. This may or may not be a deal breaker for you.
- Hotwire.com can help you find a car, flight, cruise or hotel. Like Priceline, purchases for flights, hotels and car rentals are made blind. Hotwire is set up much like other online travel sites. There are options for departure and return dates and the traveler can be as specific about requirements as is necessary. One nice feature Hotwire offers is the ability to look at a map of the area where a “hot deal” hotel is. From this view, a potential traveler has the ability to learn about nearby points of interest and attractions.
- A relatively new player on the scene is Hipmunk.com. Where other travel sites venture into all sorts of offerings, Hipmunk limits itself to hotels and airfare. Information from Hipmunk is displayed in an easy-to-read graph. When departure and arrival times, as well as layovers, are not the most important aspects of a trip, this may be the option for you. The negative, however, is that you can’t book your flight or hotel through the site. Once a deal is found, in order to book Hipmunk will direct you to the site where it found the flight or hotel in question.
Of course, there are lots and lots more options to consider when booking online. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface and, we’re sure, enough poking around online will produce an airfare, hotel rate, rental car price or anything else you’re looking for.