Spring Break signals the start of travel season, and if you want to do it right, don’t look at the girls going wild, watch the more senior citizens playing bridge in the shade – they know the secrets.
Sandra Leroux is retired and taking her silver streaks to the sky in her golden years. Last fall she went to Vietnam and Thailand, this spring she’s off to Spain and then it’s a cruise of the Baltic at the end of the summer.
When it comes to researching her travels, Sandra doesn’t use a travel agent, she does it all online, all on her own. Through her mousing she has nailed down some of the most secret insider websites to get the best deals. You might say these are some of her “best bets” to get it done.
Fodors is the publisher of travel guides and has a huge community in the forums of their website. Broken down geographically, you can ask questions for any issue you may have about your travels and have it answered by local experts. Frequent visitors also post comprehensive trip reports, showing their itinerary, accommodations, sights and meals complete with reviews. My favourite post lists each and every website you should visit before traveling to Europe.
Three websites rival each other for finding the best deals – Vayama, Mobissimo and Kayak. These travel search engines scour all the travel websites, and airline sites to show all your possibilities in one comparable list. You may still want to book with an airline, or agent, but these sites are the best place to plan your routing.
Seatcounter is a site that will show you how many seats on a plane are left at each price code. By watching the available seats you’ll be able to see if you need to jump on that deal now, or if you can think about it for a bit.
If you’d like to have someone else tell you whether or not it’s time to buy, try Farecast. The site will do a search accompanied with green, yellow or red arrows depending on whether or not they predict the price to rise or fall.
I’m off to France later this month and by following Sandra’s advice, I booked the flights, car rental, hotel, train tickets, maps and bed and breakfasts all online, all on my own.
catch the buzz … pass it on.
This article originally was published in 24hrs Vancouver on March 12, 2008.