Booking a vacation can be a lot of work, but there are plenty of websites to assist you. Jody Rohlena, Senior Editor for ShopSmart Magazine, looks at their favorite online travel tools to use when planning a trip.
First, Bing Travel is a great website that tells you whether to book now or wait. The "price predictor" gauges whether a plane fare is likely to rise or fall. An outside audit of the website found it was accurate 3 out of 4 times. There is also a page which offers suggestions on quick getaways. The downside to the website is it only allows you to book flights and hotels.
Ruba helps you plan a trip. The website offers Travel guides created by their users containing more pictures than text. This makes it easier to see where you might want to visit before you go. Each suggested destination also offers a user review. The downside to the website is it's still growing. Some destinations are thin and there are still a few bugs being worked out.
Skytrax is a great tool for getting the scoop on airlines and airports. With thousands of user reviews, you can get a sense of what airlines and airports are the best. The website also has an airline seating section which helps you to choose the best place to sit on a flight. Unfortunately, ShopSmart believes the information could be better presented to its visitors.
And finally, Yapta is a great website for watching price drops. Yapta, or Your Amazing Personal Travel Assistant, tracks airfares and hotel rates. It can alert you when prices drop for your specific needs either via email or Twitter. The downside is their refund tracker only covers a limited number of airlines and the site is also missing big airlines all together like Southwest.
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by Jenn Eaker