Looking to book your next vacation? Here are some tips and tricks to save money when booking flights, selecting hotels and applying for credit cards.
Travel bundling — booking flights, accommodations and attractions on one platform — is becoming more popular as it saves time from bouncing around to different sites. And booking multiple parts of a trip in one place oftentimes saves money.
Travelocity, Expedia, Hotwire, Orbitz and Kayak are go-to websites for travel bundling, where users can book flights, hotels and rental cars, but newcomers are jumping into the mix, and other platforms are expanding their offerings. Priceline and Google have both made announcements this month, introducing new travel bundling and travel planning features on their platforms. Others, including Airbnb, continue to build out experiences alongside their hospitality portfolios.
Here are 6 places where you can alleviate the hassle of trip planning:
With aims at streamlining the travel planning process, Google announced this month a new travel experience on desktop and mobile where you can search for flights, accommodations and activities, plus research destinations all in one place via Google.com/travel. Travelers can build a trip timeline; book flights and hotels; and manually change reservations. Useful information will also be provided for trip dates, from weather, suggested day plans and popular nearby restaurants and events.
On Monday, Priceline announced a change to its platform so that you can now choose from over 2 million listings of private accommodations, including apartments, vacation homes, boats and tree houses. Priceline also unveiled Trip Builder, a new booking platform that lets you bundle flights, private accommodations or hotels in different cities into one transaction, where the total price could be hundreds of dollars less than if booked separately. For example, Priceline says four-star hotel stays in downtown Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. all booked in one transaction on Trip Builder amounts to savings of $330.
You can book flights, hotels, accommodations and car rentals on Booking.com. Last week, Booking.com announced at a conference a way to book experiences without having to also make an accommodation booking. At times travelers may want to book attractions outside of a travel bundle. The product is currently available in in 10 cities: Amsterdam, London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, Vienna, Prague, Edinburgh and Dubai. In order to make attractions bookings, you search for “attractions” in one of the 10 launch cities (for example “attractions in Amsterdam”) on the website.
Trying to narrow down your holiday destination isn’t easy with all the choices in front of you.
From tiny houses, castles and tree houses to beachfront homestays, Airbnb’s accommodations span over 6 million places to stay in nearly 100,000 citiesand 191 countries. In addition to Airbnb’s vast accommodations, you can book excursions through Airbnb Experiences. There are over 30,000 activities that are run by hosts in more than 1,000 markets. These experiences range from cooking classes to kayak excursions. For example, history buffs can visit Versailles during a historian-led bike tour; foodies can take a food tour in Dublin; travelers can book a personal photographer in Paris; and adventurers can go on a 4 x 4 tour of the countryside in Costa Rica.
You can book hotels located in 131 countriesas well as activities from the Marriott Bonvoy website. Marriott Bonvoy Tours & Activities includes options ranging from culinary and entertainment to sports. Also, Marriott Bonvoy Moments are exclusive to members for “money-can’t-buy experiences,” where members use their points as the only way to gain access. Moments include Chicago Cubs club box seats; concerts at Madison Square Garden; and a multi-sensory dining experience in Shanghai. Between the two programs, there are over 120,000 experiences in 1,000 global destinations.
IHG franchises, leases, manages and owns more than 5,600 hotels in over 100 countries. If you are looking to book a hotel accommodation on the website, you can also select the IHG Trip Extras. Extras include car rentals, restaurant reservations, tours and activities in the area and transportation services. For example, typing in New York City will bring up activity options such as Brooklyn Street Art Tours, helicopter tours and buffet dinner cruises while searching in Cali, Colombia, will bring up salsa lessons, mountain bike tours and river tubing. IHG Rewards Club members are also able to earn additional points when booking Trip Extras.
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