February 19, 2010 at 12:49 pm , by Jennifer Castoro
I just got back from a trip to Las Vegas, and boy, are my arms tired! (Sorry, I had to say it. It’ll never happen again.) It was my first time to the city, which lived up to every expectation I had (some PG, some not), and I came back to New York with hilarious memories, great pictures and a lovely fridge magnet.
In the course of trip planning, I probably looked at 85 different websites, just so I felt I wasn’t being ripped off/shortchanged/cheated in any way. But I could have saved myself some time (and headache) if I’d checked out one of these super helpful new sites:
Fly.com: Part of the Travelzoo brand, Fly.com’s only business is searching through the mountains of flight information online and presenting it to you, price, time and airline included. You can’t book your trip on the website, but you can see virtually every option, including international airlines, domestic ones and travel sites like Expedia and Orbitz, so you clearly know your choices. It also presents the cost of the flight in real time, so you know what you see is what you’ll get once you decide to book.
Oyster.com: Oyster Hotel Reviews is a pretty, easy-to-read site, with tons of photos of the hotels they cover (the part I like the best!). It’s similar to other sites that offer details on rooms, location, cleanliness and other helpful nuggets, but the reviewers are professionals who work for the site, not just lay travelers. So you get an accessible, honest expert voice without any bias towards particular hotels (the writers pay to stay at each place, just like a guest).
EVRentals.com: This site is similar to a time-share setup, without the hour-long sales pitch. The properties on Endless Vacation Rentals include villas, homes and cottages, in the U.S. and abroad, so it’s meant for travelers looking to stay in a home instead of a hotel. It’s run by the Wyndham hotel chain, so you’ve got some customer-service help, too.
Perfectfamilyvacation.com: It bills itself as “pre-selected family vacation lodging,” which means your search will bring up options for larger groups that include kitchens and multiple bedrooms and bathrooms.
Photo courtesy of NNowack.