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The Top Online Tools for Planning Your Next Trip

Travel planning image

As the days get shorter and fall starts to settle in, you may want to start thinking about your holiday travel plans. In fact, planning early and purchasing flights and other reservations from 30 days before travel to 3½ months before the expected travel date can save in money and convenience.  Another way to save money is taking a more active role in planning your travel. With so many user-friendly tools to help you plan, you can save in more ways than one. Use these tools to help you plan your holiday travel early this year and it could really pay off.

Compare Flights

The bad news:  air travel, in general, is expensive. The good news: there are plenty of deal aggregator sites that you can use to find the best deals on the Internet. Arline fare aggregators such as  Kayak, Priceline, and Expedia can help you save money by providing multiple offers. There are also some new and helpful online apps and websites for booking flights. Skiplagged, for example, finds deals on flights that are less expensive as layover stops than they are when purchasing “direct” tickets. If you buy a Skiplagged flight, your ticket will include the ultimate destination, but you will get off at the stop-off. Another tool for finding deals is The Flight Deal, which sends a daily email to your inbox with current international and domestic flights and shows you how to purchase.

Book Your Stay

Another expensive travel concern is where you will stay. The rise of AirBnB has led to more variety in lodging than traditional hotel options, and could save you money on a place big enough for the whole family. For more traditional hotel options, you can compare pricing on Kayak, Priceline, and Expedia. If your lodging falls through and you need a last minute option, reach for Hotel Tonight. This app takes unsold hotel rooms in hundreds of cities worldwide and sells them to last minute customers. You can book something for tonight or up to a week in advance to take advantage of the app’s deals on unsold rooms.

Keep Everything Organized

Plane tickets, train tickets, car rentals and hotel bookings—keeping everything straight for a trip can be exhausting. Luckily, there are now two apps that can sort and store all of your itineraries and reservations in one place. TripIt and Tripcase both aggregate confirmations to make sure you have everything for your trip organized. Wish there was an app to help you pack? There is! PackPoint can provide you with packing suggestions and premade packing lists so you don’t leave anything important behind.  

Figure Out What to Do

There are many ways to figure out what to do and where to eat in an unfamiliar city. Trip Advisor and Yelp both offer thousands of reviews, so it’s easy to spot a restaurant or activity that is worth your while. Those who want to delve even deeper into a new city can also try out CityMaps, TimeOut or Guides by Lonely Planet. All have curated recommendations so you can experience the city the way you want.

The travel industry is constantly evolving as more and more planning takes place online and at home. You can take advantage of advances in travel technology by searching for deals and using these tools to make your travel planning experience easier. Being your own travel planner can save you time and money, and get you even more invested in your upcoming trips.

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