Thursday, April 2, 2009
These days there are countless, clever commercials for sites that claim to find the best deals in the world if you use their travel search engine. Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity, and a host of others think they are all that.
In reality, they aren't all that great. Even sites like Kayak that search all of the search engines aren't able to yield anything special. When you do find a great deal, you have to deal with all of the extra fees that these sites charge and that isn't fun at all.
In my experience, there are two sites that have really done wonders in terms of finding great deals.
Travelzoo.com is awesome. If you're willing and able to make some spontaneous travel plans when a good deal comes along, this site is a dream come true.
Travelzoo's bread and butter is their Top 20. This is a list of the top 20 best bargain vacation deals they are able to track down. Typically the deals are flight deals, but they will often include deals that include airfare+lodging, airfare+rental car, or other combo deals. They come out with a new Top 20 every week, and you can sign up to receive a weekly email with the deals. Having been on this list has allowed me to encounter some outstanding deals.
The thing about the deals is that they are often location specific. That's the only way to explain how some of the deals are so mind blowing. Today there was an incredible deal flying out of Tampa, but that does nothing for me since I live on the other side of the country. But when something comes around out of my town, it's a beautiful thing.
VacationsToGo.com is amazing when it comes to travel deals. The specialty at this site is cruises, and their recipe for success is the 90 day ticker. It's not at all unusual to see cruises that are priced 75% below the regular price.
These deals are really incredible when you time them right. In my experience, the longer you wait to book, the better the deals get. There is some risk that the cruise will sell out, but I've never had that problem. Those ships are huge and they want to fill those rooms!
Hotels.com has been my go-to site for hotels. They have a huge selection of places to stay and very detailed descriptions of the hotels. There are always plenty of comments from previous visitors to the hotel which gives you a great idea of what to expect. You'll learn everything from the convenience of the location to the cleanliness of the blankets.
I typically use hotels.com in conjunction with calling the actual hotels. Hotels.com is great for getting an idea of the range of costs and quality of the hotels, and from there you can potentially book a better deal with the guy at the front desk.
I am sure there are some other diamond in the rough sites out there, so let all of the YCC readers know where to find them. Post a comment! I'm out - YCC
- The Young Cash Cow
- I'm just a young guy, working hard (but not too hard) as a full-time teacher. I survived college without accumulating a penny of debt and have a decent nest egg saved up for retirement. Like my father and grandfather before me, I've been raised to earn, save, and spend wisely. I'm always on the look out for bargains, deals, promotions, financial tips and advice, economic news and anything else related to money. My goal is to let you in on everything that has served me well over the years financially, as well as all of my latest money discoveries. Enjoy!
Got a question for me? An idea for a blog entry? Shoot me an email at youngcashcow(at)gmail(dot)com and I'll be sure to respond asap!