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The M-Network Guide To Vacation – Finding The Good Deal.

This post is a part of the M-Network’s group project series on vacations. Check out the other M-Network blogs for more.

Unless you are “staycationing” at home this summer due to the incredibly high (and somewhat travel-prohibitive) gas prices, you might be on the lookout for the cheapest hotel, car rental, vacation package and airfare deals you can find. Luckily, there are many different websites you can try to get the best price possible for your travel dollar. Most people know about Expedia and Travelocity, but have you ever heard of these sites? I have used most of them at one time or another to try to get the best deal possible for our vacations.

Kayak.com & sidestep.com – Kayak/Sidestep is a travel search engine. Which means we search hundreds of travel sites from all over the world, provide the information to you in an easy-to-use display and send you directly to the source to make your purchase. More than any other travel site, we help you find the perfect flight, hotel, cruise, or rental car. After all, what good are 1000 options when you can’t find the flight you want?

farecast.com – Farecast, brought to you by Microsoft Live Search, is the smart travel search site that helps you buy with confidence. Since 2006, Farecast empowers you to Know When to Buy with airfare predictions and Know Where to Stay with the hotel Rate Key.

hotels.com – offers more than 70,000 properties worldwide from hotels to bed-and-breakfasts to condos to all-inclusive resorts. We offer the information you need to book the perfect trip through detailed hotel reviews, Flexible Booking and our Price Match Guarantee.

airfarewatchdog.com – Airfarewatchdog.com is the only airfare alert and comparison site that includes fares on *all* airlines, including Southwest.

saveonvacationpackages.com – An Industry leader since 1994, celebrating our 13th year, we are recognized as one of the top agencies nationwide from most major vacation companies such as: Apple Vacations, Delta Dream Vacations, AeroMexico, Air Jamaica, Globus, Trafalgar, Carnival and others. We only sell quality vacation packages from major vendors.

hotwire.com – Hotwire’s mission is to offer unbeatable low prices on airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals, vacation packages and cruises. Through our partnerships with leading travel companies, we can get you low prices that can’t be found anywhere else. Our partners allow us access to their unsold inventory – empty seats on flights, empty hotel rooms, and unrented cars – at big savings.

travelzoo.com – Our team researches, evaluates and tests thousands of deals to find those with true value. We recommend only deals whose accuracy and availability we can confirm. With over 12 million subscribers, we are the largest publisher of travel deals on the Internet.

orbitz.com – a leading global online travel company that uses innovative technology to enable leisure and business travelers to research, plan and book a broad range of travel products. Orbitz Worldwide owns and operates a strong global portfolio of consumer travel brands that includes Orbitz, CheapTickets, ebookers, HotelClub, RatesToGo, the Away Network, Asia hotels, and corporate travel brand Orbitz for Business.

tripadvisor.com – A recent site satisfaction survey revealed that 97 percent of travelers are likely to use TripAdvisor to plan their next trip and 96 percent would recommend TripAdvisor to a friend, relative or colleague.

bestfares.com – Tom Parsons, the man Southwest Airlines’ Herb Kelleher calls “one of the best low-fare policemen on the beat,” keeps bringing you the best travel bargains available.

priceline.com – The amazing travel service where you can now choose your exact flights and times for incredible travel savings or Name Your Own Price and save even more! All it takes is a little flexibility with your travel plans. If you can fly any time of day, agree to fly on any major airline, stay in any name-brand hotel or rent from any of the top 5 U.S. rental car agencies – you can save a lot of money with priceline!

lastminute.com – formally Site59, now lastminute.com!

Do you have any favorites that you could share with us? Leave a comment and share the wealth! And as an extra “To-Do”, make sure you are on the email list from your favorite airline. I often get emails about special last-minute vacation deals from American Airlines, and if we were ever able to take one of them, the prices are usually great.

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Comments (12)

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  1. David – These are some great resources! I recently wrote an article called Beat High Gas Prices This Summer With a Staycation. I thought your readers might enjoy it. Thanks!

  2. claire says:

    TripAdvisor is indeed a great resource, particularly where lodging is concerned.

    Also, some tour packages out there offer more bang for the buck than a do-it-yourself trip. It may hurt to fork over a large lump of cash all at once, but break down the costs (4-star hotels, meals and tour guides) and compare them with the normal going rate if you were to go it alone and without the benefit of group rates: you will see a significant difference.

    While it is true that not all tours are created equal, the best thing to do–as with most things–is shop around. Many companies that value their reputations invite previous customers to post their trip ratings.

  3. Lashawn says:

    This great information. I’ll definitely utilize this information for planning our upcoming annivesary trip.

    Hubby and I always just Travel Advisor to review comments by vacationers.

    But other sites we check with include:

    booking buddy
    cheap caribbean
    pleasant holidays
    liberty travel – they offer payment plans

  4. david says:

    Thanks for the extra tips guys!!

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  6. I would caution using Hotwire because I have compared them with Orbitz side by side and still ended up finding a better deal on the direct website for some of the hotels. I am still not sure what is up with Hotwire.

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