When Margo Ratafia makes travel plans, she often makes www.tripadvisor.com her first stop. She says, "People will tell you about if the beds were comfortable, they'll tell you about the thickness of the towels, I mean you'll get a lot of feedback." While hotel Web sites have lots of information about the property itself Trip-Advisor has travel reviews from recent guests. Ratafia gave this example: "This past Christmas, we were down in Aruba and from going on Trip-Advisor, they had recommended that we bring floats down for the lazy river at the pool. And if we didn't bring them down, we probably would have had to pay double or triple for each float for all the kids."
But Lisa Lee Freeman, of Consumer Reports, says don't hit that "Buy" button yet. There are other sites that are great resources too, like www.travelzoo.com. Perfect for last-minute trips, Travel-Zoo digs up discount prices for airfare, cruises, and vacation packages then posts a weekly Top 20 list of the hottest deals. Freeman says, "You have to move fast though, because with 12-million subscribers, there's stiff competition for the best deals."
If you've got time to plan ahead, www.farecast.com can help you size up whether you're getting a good deal on a flight. It gives you historical lows and highs on airfares from 75 different cities … and even tips you to buy your ticket now or wait for prices to drop.
Confident you've found the best deal out there? How about the best seat on the plane? Consumer Reports says for that check out www.seatguru.com. This site clues you in to which seats recline farther and have more leg room.
So hitting a few choice Web sites before you head out on your next trip can save you money and hassles.