Laurie McAndish King’s article below about online sources for travel information originally ran on Examiner.com in April:

One “benefit” of the current worldwide economic crisis is the super-low airfares we’re seeing lately. Cruise lines, too, have some amazing specials. In both cases, the bulk of the owners’ costs — building and owning the planes or ships, or having already committed to a cruise on a particular vessel at a particular time, are already “sunk.” That means the owners need to sell space at whatever price they can get — in some cases, they’re even selling at rates that are lower than their actual costs — in order to recoup at least a little of their investments.

Here are some websites to help you find the best travel deals:

  • Airfare Watchdog “The airlines lower airfares every day without advertising them. Our team of fare experts tells you about these ‘hidden’ fare reductions and alert you to $0 ‘blooper’ fares and other air fare bargains that you might otherwise miss. Airfarewatchdog.com is the only fare listing site that shows fares on all airlines, even Southwest.”

  • Kayak and Sidestep (merged into one company): “We search over 200 travel websites to bring you the very best travel values on the web.”

  • Skytrax is “the leading passenger guide to over 620 airlines and 645 airports — ranking, opinions, news … and more,” and includes reviews, forums, links to airline and airport sites.
  • SmarterTravel.com (also operates Booking Buddy) “is the largest online travel resource for unbiased travel news, deals, and timely expert advice. Our experienced editors spend hundreds of hours each week researching the latest and best travel deals, compiling travel guides for destinations worldwide, and offering money-saving tips for travelers. SmarterTravel.com members are eligible for special discounts on airfares, hotels, car rentals, and more.”
  • TravelDodo.com is “Your online travel guide & agent with reviews on hotels, hostels, sights, bars, nightclubs and more vacation spots!” They offer free tourist maps and free mobile city guides, an interactive packing list, and user-reommended Do’s and Don’ts for many locations.
  • “10 million travelers trust Travelzoo’s reviews and recommendations. Travelzoo® employs a staff of 35 travel deal experts to source, research and test recommended deals before publishing. We also provide our subscribers tips on when offers are available and where to find the best deals.

    “At Travelzoo our mission is to give you the best and smartest information. You don’t book tickets on our site — you click through to the travel company itself for that. And we don’t charge you for our information, our newsletters, or our advocacy work on your behalf. So who pays for our offices and our experts and our cappuccinos? We make our money from the travel companies themselves. They pay us to distribute the news about their latest offers. But they could dangle all the money in the world in front of us, and that could never make us approve a bad deal. Your confidence in the credibility of what we’re offering you is the heart and soul of our business.”

  • TripAdvisor.com provides provides recommendations for hotels, resorts, inns, vacations, travel packages, vacation packages, travel guides and lots more, with “over 20 million traveler reviews and opinions.”

  • Yapta “conducts daily price checks on the specific flights and hotels that you choose, and alerts you when prices drop or when they fall within your budget. Yapta also alerts you when you can use your frequent flier miles to book award seats on the flights of your choice.

    “Already booked an airline ticket? Yapta can still help you save. Most U.S. airlines have ‘guaranteed airfare’ policies that enable you to claim a travel credit if the price of your flight drops after booking it. Not many people know that the policy even exists — nor do they bother to check the price of their flight after purchasing it. Yapta will track the price of the flights you’ve already booked and — if the price drops below what you paid — it will alert you when you’re eligible for a refund or travel credit from the airline.”


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