New Online Tools for Better Travel Planning

Baby boomers have more time to travel than many other age groups. In prior decades, we would consult a travel agent to help us plan our travels. Now, with so much travel information available to us online, we can act as our own travel agent. There are hundreds of online tools that help locate and organize travel information. Some have been around for years. Some of the newer travel tools and sites are worth considering. Here are a few that I have found useful:

1. Hotel Searches. When I travel and need to stay overnight, I want to know where a hotel is located with respect to the place where I intend to spend most of my time. An excellent way to find and visualize this information on a map is with RoomAtlas.  This site provides easy navigation and simple to use options. You can find hotels by zooming in from a large Google-generated map or by typing an address or location into the search box. The search results are displayed and color-coded by price on a Google Map. If you select a particular hotel, you will be able to see the actual hotel building and read reviews and other information. One of the best features of this hotel search tool is that there are no intrusive ads getting in the way.

2. Low-Cost Airline Flights. If you are somewhat flexible in your travel plans, searching airline flights for the lowest-cost options can help make your travel decision. There are several online travel tools to help you find the least expensive time to flight. Perhaps the best is CheapFlights.com.  CheapFlights will tell you when would be the best time to fly, if you tell it that your dates are flexible.

For international flights, CheapoAir.com can find great deals if you are willing to tolerate some stops or a layover.

A third online tool for finding low-cost airline fares is Skyscanner flight search. It allows you to search for flights in the U.S. and to/from Europe.

BudgetFlightFinder is another travel tool option for identifying low cost airlines that fly specific travel routes. It will display information from budget airlines that CheapFlights does not.

If you just want locate a low-cost or budget airline for a particular flight route, WhichBudget.com is the answer. This tool is particularly good for European travel where some of the bargain airlines will be completely unknown to U.S. travelers.

3. Multiple Airline Flight Searches. Most of the airlines have their own sites and travel search tools. They often promise that you won’t find cheaper fares using another search engine. To search all of the airline and other travel tool sites simultaneously, there is Tripeedo. It is similar to Kayak except that Tripeedo brings up separate windows for each airline and travel site that it searches. This helps you see all of the special deals that other travel search tools might miss.

4. Finding the Best Airline Seats. If you are flying an airline that allows pre-flight seat selection, it surely helps to identify which seats on a specific plane are the best. The online tool that can help in this area is SeatGuru, a site owned by TripAdvisor. Not only do you get seating charts for your plane but also a detailed seat map with graphics, as well as comments about seats with limited recline and reduced legroom. The site also displays color-coding to identify better seats and lousy seats, power port locations, and locations of the galley, lavatory, exit rows, and closets. If you are a seat-snob, SeatGuru is the place for you.

Do any of you readers have other recommendations for online tools to help us make better travel plans?


Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the list. A new tool I really like is iGuide, which looks like a high-tech take on the travel guide. I’ve added a link if you would like to check it out.

  2. says

    Hiya Mr. “GoTo” (fun name…),

    Just wanted to drop-by and say “thanks” for the mention on your blog, we appreciate that and glad you are enjoying our site.

    -Happy Flying

    Scot Carlson
    Country Manager, US and Canada
    http://www.Skyscanner.com

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