The world of travel has changed dramatically over the years, in large part thanks to the internet. In the past, if you wanted to go on vacation, your only real option was to call up your travel agent and hope they could score you a deal. Shopping around for the best price was difficult without advanced training in the travel industry. Now, with hundreds, even thousands of travel booking sites, you have complete control over the planning and price of your vacation. Here are a few sites that will help you not only plan a great trip but also help you save serious money on your vacation.
Priceline – Priceline is a travel search engine that will let you search for flights, hotels, car rentals, and even cruises. The key feature on Priceline is their “Name Your Own Price” feature. Set your price and wait to see if hotels or even airline companies will match the discounted price you are asking for.
Airbnb – To save on hotel accommodations, why not skip the chains and rent from a local? Airbnb lets you save money by renting a room or even a whole apartment from locals who aren’t using the extra space. This is a great way to score a nice place, in a central location for up to half of what a hotel might charge.
HostelWorld – A great way to save money when traveling is to stay in a hostel but not all hostels are created equal. Thankfully HostelWorld has become a sort of hostel search engine, letting you find the most affordable and highest rated hostels around the world.
Couchsurfing – Just think about how much more you could travel if you had friends to crash with for free everywhere you went. That’s basically what Couchsurfing.org offers. Locals in cities and towns around the world offer up their living room couches, spare bedrooms, and even extra hammocks to travelers at zero cost. The idea is to promote friendship and cultural exchange around the world.
Deal Sites – There are dozens of deal sites, like Groupon and Living Social, that can save you money on your next vacation. As you are planning your trip, sign up for deal emails on the destinations you will be visiting. You might score 50% off a great restaurant, a day at the spa, or on a tour of the city.
EatWith – This site offers the fantastic opportunity to not only get a great price on dinner but also a chance to meet locals and explore a less touristy side of the place you are visiting. Basically locals sell off seats at their dinner tables – cooking you local cuisine or something special from their home country – and giving you the chance to visit their homes and hopefully befriend a local.
Car Sharing Sites – Sites like Car2Go and ZipCar offer you the chance to save on car rental costs. When visiting a new city, you might be tempted to rent a car but how much are you really going to use it? Instead of renting by the day, these sites let you rent by the hour, saving you money when you really only need the car for a quick afternoon tour of the countryside.