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Travel - Shopping Guides

Travel was one of the first retail markets to migrate to the Internet. The reasons for this were pretty obvious. Even before the Internet came to life, they were one of the first industries to have complex computer distribution system. Anyway here is the low down and shopping for travel on the Internet.

There are only a handful of “vendors” with respect to hotel rooms, and most of these vendors also now have deals with the major airlines, rent a car companies, cruse ships, and increasingly vacation rental homes., Expedia, Travelocity, and Priceline are the major vendors. Within these systems there are several ways to search and buy hotel rooms, airfares, rental cars, and vacation package deals. Yes you can save money if you buy a “package” sometimes as well.

Rolling the dice with Hotwire and Priceline

I spend more money on Hotwire than just about any website on the Ineternet. This is how it works. You get to buy a “4 start” hotel in a specific area of town, but they don’t tell you which hotel you are buying form. Normally you get a HUGE discount, frequently at a really nice hotel. If you stay in the same city all the time you can start to figure out who uses Hotwire. Many times you can “Google it”, and find out on message boards what hotels are the hotwire choice.

Priceline works almost just like Hotwire but they also have plane reservations. The catch is you don’t’ know when your flight is leaving and if you “bid” the cheap price, it’s normally leaving at 6:00 am or so, and sometimes you can fly all around the country ALL day.

Southwest Airlines almost always has the cheapest flights, you have to buy the tickets directly from them, they do not sell their flight through vendors like Travelocity or Expedia.

Searching the all at once.

There are all sort of website out there now that will search all the major vendors at once and pop the results up in different windows.

Kayake is the biggest

It’s also a good idea to try to find some local website, sometimes you can find great deals on their websites that are not on the major websites like Increasingly the Hotels are trying to sell their rooms online directly from there website.

Other tips

Pay attention to parking. If you staying is an urban area (like New Orleans where I travel frequently), parking can be 1/3 of the price of the hotel room.

Stay in the “Business District”. In New Orleans the hotels in business district are only a few block from the French Quarter, cheap, quite, and not in the “bad part of town”

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