At the Mom’s Night Out: Sip and Plan Your Summer Trip event last week, we had a lot of questions around where to shop and find good travel deals. I’ve pulled together a few of my favorites in several categories to help you make smart decisions when shopping for travel. Here’s a round up of where to start shopping for your family trip. Bookmark this page and come back to it when you need a little inspiration, or are ready to shop for that next trip!
Shop for Airfare
Almost all of these airfare sites search hundreds of websites, including airlines, and allow you to sign up to get deals by email. We recommend you sign up for alerts to help you track prices for your trip and stay on top of price drops when they occur. Check out our 7 Savvy Secrets for Airfare Shopping.
Bing Travel – free airfare predictions, search tools to help you know when to buy and where to go for your budget, deals from your city.
Kayak.com – compare and search hundreds of travel sites for airfare, get deals by email.
FareCompare.com – expert advice, tips for shopping for airfare, airfare search.
AirfareWatchdog.com – airfare deals and money saving tips from airfare experts.
Fly.com – airfare search, results include both economy and premium seating, integrated deals from TravelZoo.
Cheapoair.com – cheap flights, deals, search for business and first class fares.
Yapta – pay too much for your airfare? Yapta helps you get refunds after you buy.
SeatGuru – if you fly with kids, finding the right seats can make all of the difference. Compare and view seatmaps from all of the major airlines and know before you buy.
Shop for Hotels and Vacation Deals
There are many places to shop for hotels. We typically start with hotel search sites and online travel agencies and then narrow our search. Almost all of the above mentioned airfare search sites also have hotel search. As pictures count when shopping for hotels, we like sites like Expedia and Orbitz to compare properties side by side, and then you go directly to the hotel website to go deeper on ammenities and accomodations. Hip tip: Hotels offen have special deals for families, such as 50 percent off a second adjoining room. Often times these specials are not advertised, and you will need to call the hotel directly to book.
Expedia – shop for hotels, vacation packages and get exclusive discounts, comprehensive images of hotel properties.
Hotels.com – same inventory as Expedia, shop hotel rooms with reviews, discounts and deals from more than 85,000 hotels worldwide.
Orbitz – hotel deals, airfare and packages. Price assurance guarantee, free nights and discounts.
Travelocity – hotel search, deals, airfare, vacation package discounts and customer service guarantees.
TravelZoo – travel deals on hotel, airfare, cruises and packages.
Hotwire – four star hotels at two star prices, discount hotels, airfare, vacation packages.
Priceline – name your price and score deep discounts on hotels, airfare and vacation packages.
Tripadvisor – comprehensive hotel and vacation user reviews, also has a new vacation rentals search for reviews and deals.
Shop for Vacation Homes and Rentals
Staying in a vacation home can save families a whole lot of headache and cost of eating out. Here are a couple of our favorite sites for searching for vacation rentals.
VRBO – search over 140,000 vacation rental by owner properties worldwide.
Shop Luxury for Less
The recent emergence of “invitation only” sites offer deep discounts on luxury travel hot-spots and hotels. All you need to do is sign up using an email address and you can access hotels and packages for 65 percent or more off retail prices. These sites highlight premier properties, so you can get a little luxe for less.
JetSetter – sales are valid for a limited time only, and offered on a first come, first served basis. You can filter by family friendly options and sign up for email alerts. Get your invitation code at Conde Nast Traveler.
LuxuryLink – a network of sites including FamilyGetaway, Vacationist, offers 65 percent off travel packages to the best places in the world.
FamilyGetaway – world’s best family friendly hotels, tours and cruises, luxury and affordable vacation packages for families.
New and Notable
Off and Away – a new way to bid and win luxury hotel suites at the best hotels, up to 90 perecent off retail rates.
Family Travel Tips
Need a little family travel inspiration? Being inspired is part of the planning process. There are a lot of family travel sites out there that provide useful and insightful tips for traveling with kids. Each have their own style of travel and kids of all ages. Here are a few of our favorites. For a comprehensive list, you can find it here.
Cascadiakids – tips and destination guides for traveling with kids in the NW and Canada.
CiaoBambino – shop and book family-friendly hotels and villas, reviews written by and for parents.
DeliciousBaby – tips for making traveling with kids fun, international travel with young kids, city guides for families.
HipTravelMama – hip tips for family travel, expert travel advice, luxury hotel reviews, luxury travel for less, luxe style, food and wine inspiration.
Mother of All Trips – trip inspiration, practical family travel advice and insightful meditations on motherhood and travel.
Traveling Mamas – family vacations, romantic escapes, girlfriend getaways, solo trips.
Travel Savvy Mom – network of moms who have been there. Family-friendly hotels reviews, gear and destinations.
The Vacation Gals – expert advice on family travel, girlfriend getaways and romantic escapes.
WanderMom – resources for independent family travel, expert advice on traveling internationally with kids.
WeJustGotBack.com – expert advice, tips and travel deals for families.
On the Road: Best Mobile Apps
iPhones, iPads and other smart devices now give us the option to shop, book, manage travel and keep little ones entertained while on the road. Here are a few of our favorite lists and places to find some of the hottest new mobile travel and kid-friendly apps.
Top 20 iPhone Travel Apps – National Geographic lists their picks for favorite iPhone travel apps.
Best iPad Apps for kids – reviews on best kid-friendly iPad apps put together by moms Jen Leo (lead blogger, LA Times Travel Blog) and Jamie Pearson (TravelSavvyMom) to keep little ones busy on the road.
Have a favorite site or app that we’ve missed? Include it in the comments or submit the website and link using the Simply Linked form below. Note: HipTravelMama reserves the right to remove any submitted sites that are not relevant or appropriate.