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Old 05-12-2016, 02:04 PM   #21
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This is a great thread. It deserves a sticky.
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Old 05-12-2016, 02:40 PM   #22
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I get a weekly email from Sherman's Travel. While I have not booked thru them, I use some of their trips to find good deals. Both my Ireland and South Africa trips were instigated by their email as they seem to follow anomalies in airfare rates. I missed a Barcelona deal just because I didn't pull the trigger on the super cheap airfare -I'm still kicking myself on that one. I use google flights all the time, trip advisor, Yelp and vrbo.
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:11 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by CaliKid View Post
Someone mentioned Expedia. If you want to maximize your savings sign up for Mr. Rebates and book expedia through that. You get 3% back on most purchases (other than airlines).
I totally flaked. I meant to mention Mr. Rebates and another favorite. Ebates. Ebates actually pays 10% on many Expedia purchases. Including cruises! And last year they briefly ran a 20% cash back offer on Expedia (20% off all cruises? yes please!). Add to that a $10 gift certificate for your first purchase through them and it's a big win (might need a referral link for that, don't know). We just scored well over $100 cash back from them on our January cruise on Carnival booked through Expedia.
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:22 PM   #24
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Couple others I use (use TripAdvisor the most too) -

1 - Google (kind of default for everyone I know but still is very useful to find information)
Yeah, I was going to point that out too even if it is obvious. For example, when I took a trip to Oregon last year, I googled "Trails in Oregon" or something like that, which found me a great site for Columbia Gorge trails that I might not have found otherwise. Somewhat similarly, I might use Facebook to ask my friends in case any have gone.

I start with TripAdvisor for hotels. They have searches for prices too, and I'll always check directly with a hotel I'm planning to book.

For flights I use Matrix - ITA Software by Google . It has a lot of flexibility for looking at all available flights, which makes it easy to see if getting my preferred times costs $5 more or $500. seatguru.com to pick seats, as mentioned.

For Europe info I often look at ricksteves.com or his books because his philosophy more or less matches up with mine.

As far as keeping track of the trip, I use Evernote (similar to One Note but I have some forgotten reason for using it instead) to track all my notes, itineraries, and reservations. That way if I'm checking into the hotel and there's a question about the reservation, I can quickly see the confirmation number, rate, whether I prepaid, etc. without carrying around a sheaf of papers or digging through emails.
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:34 PM   #25
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Hotels: trip advisor
Flights: kayak
General travel info: Fodors travel forums

The fodor's travel forum has a lot of hepful people. I've found it particularly useful when I plan a driving trip with a number of different stops. I'll read prior threads to get ideas of locations other people like, but then post a "draft itinerary". I've gotten useful feedback suggesting a) some stops may not be as interesting as I hoped and alternative suggestions for stop overs, b) that I didn't allow enough driving time because even though distance isn't far, the roads are narrow and windy with low speed limits, c) interesting things to do in different cities including favorite restaurants and d) suggestions on whether I've allowed too much (or too little) time at a location.
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Old 05-12-2016, 05:40 PM   #26
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We use booking.com, agoda.com etc all the time. But we do not always book through them.

Prior to booking we often refer to the hotel/B&B website, or send them an email. More often than not we get something extra by booking direct. Things like breakfast, perhaps one way taxi from the airport, a better room, a better cancellation policy, or perhaps no deposit required. Does not happen all the time but frequently enough for us to double check with the property and with the same property on another booking site.


We have also had excellent customer service from Booking.com. We had a hotel in Panama drag their feet on a cancellation refund. Contacted Booking.com and had the money refunded by the hotel within the week. I am convinced that this not would have happened if we had not involved them in the issue.
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Old 05-13-2016, 01:13 AM   #27
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It's tough to pick 5 because it's so trip dependent and I prefer to cross reference info/reviews from multiple sites.


Flight Research and Booking
Kayak for research. (favourite)
Hopper for research
Google Flights for research
YVRDeals.com for flight deals out of Vancouver (favourite)

We'll usually book on the site as suggested by Kayak or YVRDeals. Ideally, we'll book off the airline's website.

Hotel Research and Booking
Trip Advisor for research with a grain of salt. (favourite)
Booking.com
Agoda.com mainly for booking in Asia
Expedia. Wasn't much of a fan but getting some deals of late
Priceline mainly for booking in Canada and the US but with some luck in Europe and Asia.
Cross-Pollinate for hotels in Europe.
Hotwire mainly for booking in Canada and the US
VRBO for vacation rentals
TravelZoo. Occasionally has some interesting deals.
AirBnB

We'll also check the hotel's website to see if they can offer a better deal or more perks.

Car Rental
Costco
Priceline

Cruises
Cruise Critic for research and discussion forum.

We'll usually book our cruises via our TA instead of the cruise line because our TA can offer us some additional perks.

Rail
Man in Seat 61 for research

Restaurants
Chowhound for research
Yelp to check reviews
TripAdvisor to check reviews

Apart from googling best abc restaurant in xyz city and coming across restaurant reviews in blogs, we'll typically seek out restaurants featured in Food Travel shows various like Anthony Bourdain series (No Reservations, The Layover, Parts Unknown, etc)

Destination and Miscellaneous Research
Frommers for itinerary ideas, major attractions, and restaurant ideas
WikiTravel for destination info: how to get into town, how to get around town, restaurant ideas, attractions, neighbourhoods, etc
Flyertalk to post questions on travel forums (favourite)
Travel Fish for SE Asia
Rick Steves for Europe
Blogs I come across for restaurant and attraction suggestions.
Local Newspaper's annual "Best Of" lists
Worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets for outlet type info
Prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com for prepaid data sim card options by country. (favourite)

Miscellaneous Apps
TripIt to track my major itinerary info
Flight Tracker to track my flights
Google Translate
Google Maps/Waze not only for navigation but Maps has a lot of additional info like biz hours, ratings, etc.
XE Currency
Swam to track where I've been
Foursquare for restaurant tips
SeatGuru
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Old 05-13-2016, 06:38 AM   #28
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TripAdvisor - things to do, hotels
Yelp - restaurants
Booking.com - hotels
Mapmyrun - find running routes
alltrails.com - find hiking trails
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Old 05-13-2016, 08:24 AM   #29
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FYI, Ebates has 15% cash back on cruises today for Travelocity. So you can shop for the best deal, maybe get some free comped stuff and on board credit at Travelocity and then get 15% more off.
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Old 05-13-2016, 08:41 AM   #30
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FYI, Ebates has 15% cash back on cruises today for Travelocity. So you can shop for the best deal, maybe get some free comped stuff and on board credit at Travelocity and then get 15% more off.
Good call! I too use Ebates. I have 3 main ones I check: Mr. Rebates, Ebates and Mainstreet shares. Through all through you can get cash back on Marriott, Starwood, Hilton, etc... PLUS travelocity, expedia and others. It's really a relatively easy way to get some money back. Yes it's an extra step in the travel shopping process but can save you a lot of money.
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Old 05-19-2016, 11:07 AM   #31
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We have used maninseat61 several times. It is an excellent resource with good links.
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Old 05-19-2016, 11:14 AM   #32
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The only cars with automatic transmissions were SUVs renting for $1,400 for 3 days!
Automatics are more expensive, and frequently scarce, in most places outside the US.
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Old 05-20-2016, 06:12 PM   #33
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We very much prefer a standard transmission in many parts of Europe. So glad that I learned on a standard and drove one for many years.
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Old 05-20-2016, 06:19 PM   #34
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We very much prefer a standard transmission in many parts of Europe. So glad that I learned on a standard and drove one for many years.
+1
I learned to drive with manual transmission. When I rent a car in my country of origin it is manual, left hand drive, and usually diesel. And there is no need for A/C.
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Old 05-20-2016, 06:47 PM   #35
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Ones I use most:

1. Evernote
2. Booking.com
3. Google Flights/ITA Matrix/Kayak/Yapta
4. Tripadvisor - only rely on reviews when there are at least few dozen reviews, cross-check against booking.com and other sites.
5. Kayak My Trips/Tripit - to build itineraries.
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Old 05-20-2016, 08:39 PM   #36
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This is a great thread. It deserves a sticky.
I was just thinking that!!!
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Old 05-20-2016, 08:45 PM   #37
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We very much prefer a standard transmission in many parts of Europe. So glad that I learned on a standard and drove one for many years.
My first car was manual transmission. Drove it for 6 years or more. But that was 30 years ago and I was quite glad to get rid of a clutch.

Now I remember I did drive one for a short while in England in 1991. In fact - it might have been the clutch delay that saved our lives when we didn't cross the highway. We were looking the wrong way!!!

I can't quite imaging driving a standard transmission minivan, but that's what they use in Europe!!!

I think my brain still remembers what to do..... kind of like riding a bicycle.
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Old 05-25-2016, 12:36 PM   #38
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WikiTravel
Trip Advisor
agoda.com
google.com
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Old 06-12-2016, 04:59 PM   #39
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I've been busy booking hotels in Europe recently, and I've noticed that TripAdvisor has gotten into the hotel booking business directly, by partnering with several hotel chains. As a consequence, the link to the hotel's website is often missing, and I have to google it. TripAdvisor is still providing quotes from other major booking sites.

Kind of wonder where TripAdvisor is going with all this monetization and how impartial they will be in the future.......
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Old 06-15-2016, 03:13 PM   #40
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...that TripAdvisor has gotten into the hotel booking business directly, by partnering with several hotel chains. ...
Yeah, I too didn't like they started doing this. Edmund back in the day was great research for cars but they seem to have commercialized, Amazon's reviews of products seemed to be by real people a few years ago and now so many seem to be planted, and I used to trust TripAdvisor a lot...but now I am more wary because of this.

I understand the need to monetize your site or product, but that tends to put a damper on useful, informative reviews.
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