RitchWorld.com – Mk’s Favorite Travel Sites!

I have some favorite travel sites and tools that I want to share with you – try using some of these next time you travel!

Flight Booking

For myself, there is a procedure I do when looking for flights, I use quite a few sites to check flights and rates:

If I know where I want to go I like to check a few travel aggregators websites such as Travelocity.com, Expedia.com or Kayak.com to see what options I have and what prices are showing, Once I have an idea of my route I will usually then go to my preferred airline and check them out.  If I find what I like I usually prefer to book with the airline directly, however when doing multi-leg trips you may be forced to book with the travel aggregator, as sometimes the airlines for some unknown reason wont be able to book the same trip for you?  – As in my last booking for YVR-HKG, HKG-SIN, SIN-HKG-YVR. The Airline was going to cost about $600 more than Expedia? – Sometimes if you are booking direct flights, you can find discount codes on forums such as FlyerTalk.com which may help save you 10-20% on flights!

I also often like to use a travel agent, if you are not sure what the best option is speak to a travel agent, but DO NOT go to travel agents like FlightCentre, they are awful!  I shouldn’t say all of their people are awful, but all of the people I have dealt with are a) not well traveled nor experienced well enough with finding the best deals. – When I use a travel agent, I like to use someone who is well traveled and experienced and who has been in the business for quite some time.  – I guess I do expect lots from the people I buy some and I have an amazing travel agent in Richmond, BC who I often use if I am booking a complicated trip.

If I am not sure where I want to go, for example if I am in some country on business and have a few days vacation time or have a long weekend. Maybe I want to find a good deal to go explore another city. What I really like to do is go to http://www.Kayak.com/explore – this allows me to set my departure location and then set my budget, I am then able to see what options I have! – Also Kayak.com has a fantastic app for the iPad as well! I have had some great success’ with this site and have found some banging deals in the past!

My key note for booking flights is the following: If you are booking a flight, do try and book direct with the airline directly as they are most likely to be able to help you more efficiently if you have a problem or need changes.

A couple other tips: – Look at flights that go to nearby airports (ie. Tokyo Narita or Tokyo Haneda / Vancouver, BC or Bellingham, WA or Seattle, WA). Another option is to look at booking two one way flights. I have seen this being cheaper, but usually it is not and sometimes you might have to then fly with two different airlines.

Hotels:

1. PriceLine.com – PriceLine is known for its *Name your own price deals, this is exactly what I do, i have gotten 5* hotels for as low as 81 in Singapore, and 3* hotels for as low as 37 in downtown Vancouver.  – It works in most places around the world, however in some countries it is not as good.
2. Agoda.com – Agoda is a pretty decent site for booking hotels, it seems to lack a little modern technology but they have great rates and they also have a fairly decent rewards program.
3. DesignHotels.com – Although, I have not yet used these people yet. They have access to some of the coolest and most unique Boutique Hotels in the world. If only I could get the approved budget to stay in some of these swanky places! – I am very keen on one of my next personal trips to try out one of these hotels!
4. StarWoodHotels.com – When I can find a good deal, I like to stay at StarWood Hotels – Le Meridien, Sheraton, Aloft and a few other brands. BTW, Aloft hotels are one of the coolest brands ever – I’m a big fan!

Car Rentals

1. PriceLine.com – PriceLine is known for its *Name your own price deals, this is exactly what I do for car rentals. It is fairly easy to score a good deal on a car if you are not too picky about which vendor you rent from.
2. LastMinute.com – LastMinute.com usually has some fairly decent deals to score on car rentals!

Travel Review Sites

1. TripAdvisor.com – TripAdvisor is awesome if you are are looking for reviews of hotels, attractions and even has travel suggestions based on your travel interest.
2. AirlineQuality.com – Check out this site if you are looking for reviews on Airlines, Airports, Seating, Travel Lounges, etc.
3. FlyerTalk Forum – FlyerTalk is a great forum to learn about anything travel from places to eat, reward programs, hotels. It is a full travel forum with something for everyone! If you have a question about anything, these are the best people to ask about anything!

Other Useful Sites

1. http://www.SeatGuru.com – When I travel, I know I always book my flights according to what seat I can get – YES, it makes a HUGE difference when sitting in cattle class for 10-12 hours at a time.
2. http://www.SeatCounter.com – This site has ‘been under maintenance’ for quite some time, but when it is working it is extremely useful to find out how many tickets are left for each cabin class. This can help you determine the best fares as well as to find out if there are any upgrades available to get.
3. http://www.LonelyPlanet.com – Lonely Planet, also has a fantastic App for the iPad which is worth the mention, it is called 1000 experiences and gives some good travel inspirations. With lots of great photo’s and a little information on the places it is a great place for inspiration!
4. http://www.Fodors.com – Good travel information and a place to find some inspiration.

I hope you will find the sites I have reccommended to not only be useful in booking your next vacation but hopefully they will allow you to explore and be inspired! Get out and see the world, you only got one life to live!

Mk

Ps. If you have questions about any of the sites listed, please let me know. Also if you love travel and have some other favorite or suggested sites, please send them to me!

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