Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Smile Your top 5 travel resources (planning, finding, booking, reviews, etc.) are...
Old 05-11-2016, 10:33 PM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 67
Smile Your top 5 travel resources (planning, finding, booking, reviews, etc.) are...

What are your top 5 travel resources for finding good deals, planning trips, finding good restaurants to eat at, hotels to stay, cruises to take, finding long term rentals to avoid the cold or heat

I need to step up my game and am hoping to find better resources to use for finding good deals, picking places to go to during shoulder seasons (avoid crowds, save money), etc.

The thread on is $12k enough has some examples of people doing trips that sound wonderful at prices I have not been able to come close to yet. I also struggle planning / finding places to go. Not because because none are interesting, but because everything is interesting! Things just seem so expensive.

In the past I've relied on:

1) Tripadvisor: reviews for which hotels, but also things to do in different destinations.

2) LocalEats: A smartphone app that I used to rely on to reliably pick good places to eat, but in recent times it has started to fail me.

3) Onenote: An app and application for keeping all of my trip notes/planning/reservations in a sort of electronic 3-ring binder.

4) VRBO: Whenever we've stayed somewhere for a week or so it is usually more pleasant to stay in a house type situation vs a hotel.

5) Funjet: to find some destination all inclusive resorts in Mexico and Jamaica. We have done this a few time, but it tends to be quite pricey.

6) Natural park sites, since we tend to like animals and nature. Whoops, that was 6, not 5.

Any newsletters you all use? Deal sites? I've never been on a cruise as I don't relish being trapped in a floating mall (crowds) but maybe I have the wrong idea.

Wanting to travel...have a budget of $12k-20k a year to do so, wanting to be out 60-90 days a year (not all at once, a week here, a month there, a weekend now and then)...but not knowing how to go about it.
__________________

__________________
Sunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 05-11-2016, 10:48 PM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,017
I have some airline websites bookmarked and subscribe to email from my favourite one. I use TripAdvisor a lot, principally to research accommodation. I subscribe to emails from VacationsToGo, the cruise discount site, although I have never booked a cruise through that site. When I decide what I want to do, I research specific questions, often starting with the official tourist site for the location. For example, when planning a train trip I refer to The Man in Seat Sixty-One.
__________________

__________________
Meadbh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2016, 11:28 PM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Sunset's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Chicago
Posts: 4,712
I've used Entertainment Book for places that I've travelled to and will stay at for a week or more.
Honestly they used to be better, but still worth the $10-$15 a book, they have a digital one which I have never used, but imagine if you could switch locations, then you only need 1 subscription.

Why do I like it, besides it is full of 2 for 1 deals on stuff like restaurants, is that it allows us to go try some restaurant rather than stick with safe consistent boring ones.

The bad side, is they will print coupons and the restaurant has gone out of business, so I often phone (its on the coupon) to be sure the restaurant is open and sometimes I ask if they still take the entertainment coupon (at least in FL).
__________________
Sunset is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2016, 12:13 AM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Florence, AL/Helen, GA
Posts: 2,089
VacationsToGo.com to tentatively price cruises. Then we'll go shopping for deals with the other big cruise travel agents.
ITA Matrix to shop for flights.
Booking.com to look for rooms--filtering low to high by price. Then look for rooms with high customer ratings in comparison with others in the same price range.
AirBnB.com--incredible base of rooms
TripAdvisor.com--to see if the Booking.com rooms/hotels are listed and to see what customers have to say about them
__________________
Bamaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2016, 07:11 AM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
DrRoy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,713
+1 on Tripadvisor and Nat. Park Sites. You could also try Virtual Tourist. I like Booking.com for hotels and am trying AirBNB for this fall.
__________________
"The mountains are calling, and I must go." John Muir
DrRoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2016, 08:11 AM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Nemo2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Belleville, ONT
Posts: 4,303
Cruises: We, too, use VTG to look for cruises......we then shop around for prices; all things being equal we'd book through Expedia, in order to gain travel reward money associated with our Visa card - however, sometimes Expedia either does not deal with certain cruise companies, or the bottom line, (onboard credits, for example), is in favor of VTG. All in all, we've used VTG more often than not.

(As with the OP, we have no desire to be on a 'floating mall'; therefore we eschew the Leviathans and/or 'party ships' (the latter being primarily in the Caribbean), and concentrate mainly on repositioning cruises, (which we use as relaxing buses to avoid flying), where there's generally a 'more mature' demographic.)

Accommodation: Although we always check, and have booked with, HouseTrip and Wimdu, we find we're using airbnb more often for stays exceeding a couple nights* - on the rare occasions we want a one night hotel room we generally start with Tripadvisor.

(*We've found renting, 'longer term' (which may, in some cases, only be a week or so), centrally and doing day trips by bus/train is cheaper than and preferable to being constantly on the move..........and avoid peak seasons if possible.)

Flights: Check most search engines and also the airline websites directly. Sign up for newsletters with airlines for deals, (same with train lines)....agenda flexibility is paramount!

Newsletters: One that, (specifically for Portugal), we look at from time to time, (for day trip ideas, etc), is Julie Dawn Fox. We have also used The Hostel Girl for information on buses in Europe, and, as Meadbh mentioned, The Man in Seat Sixty-One for trains, (although we also contact the rail lines individually).......also Captaine Train, (a small fee when booking, but worth it to avoid aggravation/language mixups sometimes).......research for trains Petrabax.com.

Lots of resources out there......the more you search, the more you find.

Happy Hunting!
__________________
"Exit, pursued by a bear."

The Winter's Tale, William Shakespeare
Nemo2 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2016, 08:21 AM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
2017ish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,842
DW does most of our planning, and we have been clipping articles (real and digital) for 25+ years regarding destinations; thus, "the drawer" is an important resource and will only increase in importance in the near future. :-)

In addition to the sites listed already, we rely a lot on Undercurrent.org and its newsletter--a "must" for trip planning that involves diving.
__________________
OMY * 3 2ish Done 7.28.17
2017ish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2016, 08:26 AM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 7,526
Good thread!

Cruises: cruisecritic.com forums for info and questions. Cruisecompete.com for competitive bids from many travel agents. Travelocity and vacationstogo for searching for good prices.

General: Airbnb and vrbo for searching short term apartment/house rentals. https://www.kayak.com/explore/ is fun for dreaming up cheap places to visit if we're paying cash for tickets.

Travel hacking: flyertalk is a good forum for hotel/airline miles/pts and credit card churning info.
__________________
Retired in 2013 at age 33. Keeping busy reading, blogging, relaxing, gaming, and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and 3 kids (5, 11, and 12).
FUEGO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2016, 08:30 AM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 7,526
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemo2 View Post
*We've found renting, 'longer term' (which may, in some cases, only be a week or so), centrally and doing day trips by bus/train is cheaper than and preferable to being constantly on the move..........and avoid peak seasons if possible.
Big +1 on this. If you aren't in a hurry you can often rent a place for a week for the price of 2-3 nights in a basic hotel room (ie not a suite). Except you get a kitchen and a living room in the Airbnb/vrbo place many times.

I consider a truly luxurious vacation one where you can take a "do nothing" day when you want to relax, stroll around your immediate environs and not check any tourist spots off your list. This luxury is actually cheaper than the typical luxury vacation in a hotel.
__________________
Retired in 2013 at age 33. Keeping busy reading, blogging, relaxing, gaming, and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and 3 kids (5, 11, and 12).
FUEGO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2016, 08:33 AM   #10
Full time employment: Posting here.
CaliKid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Cali
Posts: 549
I love Redweek, Ebay and Tug for renting timeshares. You can often find very good deals on timeshare rentals.

I also enjoy flyertalk for frequent traveler program discussion.

Safe travels!
__________________
______________________
Hoping to get out around September 1, 2022... I hope, I hope, I hope. Until then off to work I go....
CaliKid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2016, 08:37 AM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 8,585
Kayak and Google Flights for air travel.
__________________
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2016, 08:58 AM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
walkinwood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Denver
Posts: 2,676
Car rentals : Costco, aarp, autoslash and Zalyn for car rentals.
Hotels : airbnb, Tripadvisor, hotels.com, hotwire/priceline and a final check at the hotel site
Flights : kayak, airline site, hopper (app), yapta
Restaurants : Yelp in the US.
Research : Look for travel blogs with posts on the destination, forums on tripadvisor & lonely planet and of course, er.org
__________________
walkinwood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2016, 09:13 AM   #13
Full time employment: Posting here.
CaliKid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Cali
Posts: 549
Two other points.

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).

Also, in Hawaii we always use Hawaii Discount Car Rental which is generally significantly cheaper than Costco and others. They now have a mainland site but I have not used it yet.
__________________
______________________
Hoping to get out around September 1, 2022... I hope, I hope, I hope. Until then off to work I go....
CaliKid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2016, 09:20 AM   #14
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 434
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)

2 - Fodor's (especially the forums) - Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

3 - Autoslash - my new favorite option for car rentals. Somehow they found me a 13 day 1 way car rental from Phoenix to San Fran for $239.

4 - Cruise Critic for cruise reviews
__________________
Fishingmn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2016, 09:27 AM   #15
Full time employment: Posting here.
CaliKid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Cali
Posts: 549
Thought of one more... for Vegas trips... VegasTripAdvisor. Great newsletter and coupon book if you are into that type of thing. If not, then use their hotel codes.
__________________
______________________
Hoping to get out around September 1, 2022... I hope, I hope, I hope. Until then off to work I go....
CaliKid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2016, 09:49 AM   #16
Moderator
Sarah in SC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 13,456
I use Skyscanner to look up int'l flights, and subscribe to AirFareWatchDog emails to keep up with pricing on routes we might want to fly, but because we use miles for nearly all of our flights, my go to is the airline websites for booking.

I like Hostelbookers and HostelWorld for finding accommodations, and also am a fan of using IHG points because of the huge dispersion of Holiday Inns around the world.

Also use Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and Costco for rental cars, though I got a super cheap one through the SWAir portal last month.

Rarely use sightseeing tools as we just don't do much of that sort of thing.
__________________
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
Gerard Arthur Way

Sarah in SC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2016, 10:05 AM   #17
Moderator
rodi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: San Diego
Posts: 8,802
1) flights.google.com and kayak.com. I check both for airfares.
2) vrbo/homeaway - rental apartments.
3) tripadvisor/slowtravel.com - apartment reviews.
4) seat61.com - great resource for train travel abroad.
5) seatguru.com - always check this before getting seat assignments.
__________________
Retired June 2014. No longer an enginerd - now I'm just a nerd.
micro pensions 7%, rental income 18%
rodi is offline   Reply With Quote
Your top 5 travel resources (planning, finding, booking, reviews, etc.) are...
Old 05-12-2016, 11:00 AM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 2,968
Your top 5 travel resources (planning, finding, booking, reviews, etc.) are...

Quote:
Originally Posted by walkinwood View Post
Car rentals : Costco, aarp, autoslash and Zalyn for car rentals.

In general, we love Costco (thanks to the people here who mentioned their hearing aids, which is why we initially joined) but just this week I checked Costco for car rentals in Reykjavik and nearly had a heart attack. The only cars with automatic transmissions were SUVs renting for $1,400 for 3 days! We did far better on Orbitz.

Two more resources: I love Tripit for assembling the itinerary; nearly any confirmation can be e-mailed and imported. I can retrieve it all off-line on my phone.

The forums at FlyerTalk.con are a wealth of detailed info from very experienced travelers. Just remember to do a search before you ask a question that's likely been posted before (e.g. What do I need to do to get a Russian visa?). It is also best to avoid discussions on Passengers of Size, whether to recline your seat, and use of overhead space!
__________________
athena53 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2016, 12:13 PM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,677
Buy Cheap Train Tickets Online - redspottedhanky.com for UK train travel.

betterbidding.com for Priceline and Hotwire hotel identification
bidding.com for Priceline hotel identification

agoda.com for hotels in SE Asia
wotif.com for last minute hotels in Australia, SE Asia
yyzdeals.com for Canadian airline specials...most especially mis pricing. Sites for all Canadian airports.

For cruises we view vacationstogo but like others we never book with them as we get better quotes elsewhere:

cruisecompete.com
cruisefish.net (for cruise price decreases)
cruise line mailings of last minute offers-especially Celebrity Tuesday specials

We also price cruise line fares on their various international sites. Picked up an Australian/NZ cruise at 30 percent less than the US price by dealing directly with and booking through their Australian office/web.

We have booked a few Europe vacations through UK travel agents such as Thomas Cook and Thomson. Pricing w/air and hotels far better that we could get on NA websites.


Car Rentals: Autoeurope (excellent customer service), kemwell (division of autoeurope), and Costco travel. If you are retired check to see if you company has a retiree discount site. I use my former employers site to rent cars from time to time. The discount can be attractive especially during holiday periods when rates are up. In my case, the discount is based on a set price per day/unlimited mileage.
__________________
brett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2016, 12:56 PM   #20
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 496
I like Frommer's for planning what to see and do as their website rates attractions and provides sample itineraries based on amount of time. Frommer's recommended hotels and restaurants are usually okay but I also look at Tripadvisor (hotels and restaurants) and Yelp (restaurants). Also Frommer's hotel prices are outdated. Since I can get a corporate rate for hotels at several chains, I look at the hotel websites for price unless I am staying in a city with a historical district or on the coast with few available chain hotels plus I prefer to splurge when visiting those areas. For rental cars, I use Costco or the Southwest Airlines websites - I'm saving $100 using Costco over the rental car website on an upcoming week long trip. None of my travel has been international.
__________________

__________________
ABQ2015 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Resources for Train Travel in Europe audreyh1 Travel Information 35 06-26-2016 08:36 AM
Travel Agents, Consolidators, etc. for Travel fromUSA to Australia and/or New Zealand CoolChange Travel Information 11 06-10-2013 09:35 AM
Timing in booking airfare Lsbcal Travel Information 30 05-15-2012 09:04 AM
For $82 a Day, Booking a Cell in a 5-Star Jail Trek Other topics 0 06-04-2007 08:00 AM
Scrap Booking Rustic23 Life after FIRE 0 03-29-2007 01:06 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:53 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.