Travel Tips for Women

TRAVEL TIPS #1
We have one recommendation for on-line travel booking. If you know where you want to go and don't need any help making your reservations, we recommend Kayak.com. What we like about Kayak is that they do a comparison of six different travel web sites: "Hotwire," "Hotels.com," "Priceline," "Expedia," and "Travelocity." Makes it easy to see what the "big guys" are offering. And now Kayak is available as a free application ("app") on the Apple iPhone, iPad or any Android-based phone. With this app you can make/change hotel and air reservations and compare prices using your cell phone. Give Kayak a try.

For another take on this subject, read the recent (November 30, 2012) J.D. Power and Associates Independent Travel Website Satisfaction Report, (2,000 respondents) on the 10 most highly ranked travel-booking websites. Price, not surprisingly, turned out to be the #1 criterion for web shoppers.

Here's how the J.D. Power respondents rated customer satisfaction with travel-booking websites (based on a 1,000 point scale):

Booking.com: 816 [Note: Hotels-only. Site owned by Priceline]

Hotwire.com: 813 [Note: This site is owned by Expedia]

Priceline.com: 808

Orbitz.com: 799

Hotels.com: 798

Expedia.com: 795

Travelocity.com: 793

CheapOair.com: 785

CheapTickets.com: 785

Travel.yahoo.com: 777

Be aware that "Kayak" and "TripAdvisor" would not be included in a survey of this type, since neither directly books travel, but refers readers to other sites like the above ones that do.

For the complete report, go to the J. D. Power website.


TRAVEL TIP #2
Tom Parsons and George Hobica are two bloggers who host
handy travel web sites. They constantly track airline rates and alert flyers to price changes and flag differences in airfare rates, such as when weekend travel is less expensive than during the week. Recently Tom reported on his findings that Europeans get a 30-40% price break on international fares compared to US travelers. For example a recent Paris to Atlanta roundtrip fare was $544, while the same airline charged $902 when the flight originated in Atlanta.

George reported the disparity has been going on for at least a year, noting that, in his view, it's a matter of supply and demand. Americans are willing to pay more--not knowing the bargain their European counterparts are getting. These are two sites worth bookmarking.


TRAVEL TIP #3
If you like finding travel bargains (and what gal doesn't?) you should periodically check out the blog of the Frugal Traveler. Matt Gross, a columnist for the New York Times, updates this site frequently with helpful, money-saving tips and real life travel adventures. Check it out.


TRAVEL TIP #4
Did you happen to see the October 2010 Travel & Leasure issue? There's a great reference article titled, "TOP 70 TRAVEL WEB SITES." If you missed it, here are their top recommendations for 8 different categories. (In case you're wondering--we're not on the list...YET. Hey, we're the new kids on the block). To read the complete article go to their website.

Sorted by topics: Air Travel: Their #1 site is one we've already recommended--Kayak.com. There is an App for this site available both on the Apple iPhone (our pick for phones) and any phone using Google's Android operating system. (See our Travel Gear page for a comparison of these two fine smart-phones.) T&L's second choice in this category is Mobissimo.com.
For Hotel booking they recommend Priceline.com for its "Name Your Own Price" feature. This is available as an App on just the iPhone presently. Runnerup is Hotware.com.
The Trip Planningrecommendation is Tripit.com. This site automatically builds a trip itinerary for you. Just email your flight, hotel, and car rental info to them at plans@tripit.com. An App is available on both the iPhone and the Android.
For Vacation Rentals try HomeAway.com. This site contains over 200,000 vacation properties for rent. Some are by owner, others by property managers.(no App mentioned).
The recommendation for Cruises is CruiseCritic.com. The site includes over 50,000 critiques by editorial contributors and cruise customers. The runner-up is CruiseReviews.com
If a Road Trip is in your future, T&L recommends Mapquest.com. They give this site a slight advantage over Google Maps for ease of use. Apps for both are available on the iphone.
T&L's choice for sharing vacation Photos and Videos is Flickr.com. This popular Yahoo site has a map feature that automatically shows where your photos were taken.
Under the general category of Resources, the suggestion is Yelp.com. This site consists of user-generated reviews of over 12 million local businesses, including restaurants, hotels, spas, pharmacies and more. You get the idea. Yelp helped me find Luv-It Frozen Custard here in Las Vegas. This is absolutely the best soft ice cream you've ever tasted. Luv-It is a secret of Vegas locals--until now, anyway. Yelp is available as an App on the iPhone.


TRAVEL TIP #5
Want to decipher Car Rental Fees?
Rental car companies are even more clever than the airlines when it comes to tacking on extra fees. That makes it difficult to do comparative shopping. Well, help is on the way. A new website, www.TruPrice.net, claims to be the first to sort out the fees for 22 different equipment charges, such as, navigation units, child car seats and ski racks. They do this for nine rental companies at 50 US airports.


TRAVEL TIP #6
Don't you just love packing for a trip. I mean the experience itself. Okay, nobody does. Well, here are some Packing Tips.