With spring just around the corner, it’s that time again to start thinking about summer travel. Now more than ever, there are lots of sites out there to find not only the best travel deals, but also some great family vacation ideas.
Of course, there’s the usual roundup – Priceline, Expedia, Obitz. But don’t just stop at 1or 2 travel sites. There’s lots of travel websites today that you can also use to compare prices, get family vacation ideas, etc.
Here are nine travel sites that you should check out when planning your next family vacation:
This site offers another resource in finding the best travel deals. Some helpful features include its airfare predictions that lets you know you should buy now (because ratings are going to rise) or wait (rates will be falling). Another feature is its rate indicator that compares the current hotel rate with past rates to see price trends.
Although they’re no vacation package deals offered, lots of flight deals including last minute cheap flight deals, weekend cheap flight deals, flight deals for families (flights to popular theme parks and national parks).
This hotel booking website that makes it easy for you to take your existing reservation and shop it around to competiting hotels to see if there is a better deal out there.
Here’s how it works…You post your existing hotel reservation on their site, rival hotels can see your travel itinerary and can offer competiting bids for your business.
Before you confirm and select your bid, they give details about the property and amenities offered. And if you don’t like any of the bids, just keep your existing reservation.
So what if you don’t have a reservation? No problem, you can still use BackBid. You can still receive bid from hotels by posting your travel plans and preferences on BackBid.
A travel site to definitely be part of your budget travel research is DealBase.com.
The first thing you’ll notice is the nice and simple navigation. Even if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, they’ll give you some good ideas on where to start finding the best travel deals.
For example, scroll just a little down the page and you can find deals in popular destinations where they break it down into regions (i.e., east coast, west coast) and countries.
This site checks for and extracts best hotel rates from websites of smaller hotels and boutique hotels. It extracts prices directly from the websites With a listing of 50,000 U.S. hotels, motels, B&Bs, and guesthouses, you’re bound to find something that’s off the beaten path.
They do have a price comparison tool through HotelsCombined.com, however you may not find your hotel property in their database.
Because you’re dealing with smaller hotel properties, you’re going to have to do a bit more research to make sure the hotel is exactly what you’re looking for.
This site offers the ability to create a vacation package from a choice of family-friendly hotels at top family destinations for rates of up to 65% off. These hotels are offered by auction and buy-it-now.
Even if you have no idea of where you want to have your next family vacation, this site will give you plenty of family vacation ideas. Pick from vacation destinations (i.e., kids clubs, cool pools for kids, theme parks) or property types (i.e., all-inclusive resorts, cruises).
If you’re looking for family vacations abroad with an adventurous twist, this site gives you plenty of destinations to choose from.
When speaking of the best travel deals, you have to include Groupon as part of your travel research strategy. Although I don’t like the required e-mail opt-in to look at the travel deals, it’s still worth it.
You can search the latest travel deals by state, Canada and worldwide. And you’ll receive e-mail alerts about latest travel deals.
Can’t mention Groupon without including LivingSocial into the mix. Like Groupon, they do require an e-mail opt-in. I liked the fact that they asked me if I would like to be sent family-focused deals. Of course!
You can browse for deals by country, state or city. However, you’ll need to scroll down toward the bottom of the page to get to the ‘Escapes’ section where they list travel deals for that city. Like Groupon, you’ll receive e-mail alerts about their best travel deals.
Started in 2004 by the co-founders of Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz, this site searches 100’s of travel sites for the best travel deals for hotels, flights and vacation packages.
Only have a set amount to spend on a vacation? Use their Explore feature where you can choose what you want to do, your budget and destination.
Just like anytime you’re looking for the best deal travel deals, don’t rely on just one site. Use 2 or 3 sites so you have a well-rounded view of the travel deals out there.