I had to come up with an idea for my blog. Energy was taken so that was off the table as was everything you wanted to know about Adam. Plus I don’t have the technical skills that blogger has. I could get into obscure town political issues like MB but I’ll end up falling asleep as I key. So I decided to do something in an area that I do have a degree of experience with - being a cheapskate.
Coupon codes. Where do you get those silly little codes that you see embedded in online sites? Try this place http://www.retailmenot.com/ That one is my favorite and in just the last week I had $50 knocked off a three night stay on a booking via Expedia and another $20 a night booking at Red Roof Inns. The material can be dated at times but new additions are constantly being added. What really makes this site great is the comments section that tells you what success or lack of others have had, clues to use and any other complaints or suggestions. A second site is http://currentcodes.com/ that is OK but not quite as friendly as the previous one. Another site that is usable is http://www.dealcatcher.com/ that can find you “stuff” before you buy. A final suggestion is http://www.shopzilla.com/ for comparison shopping.
Hotels can be a pain to book since rates can vary drastically for the same room. One place I occasionally use is http://www.yogoyo.com/ that is a consolidator. A consolidator is like a ticket scalper in that they purchase blocks of rooms to resell and sometimes they have rooms to dump. Three nights at The Allegro in Chicago last year for $159 a night or one third the rack rate. A second one is http://www.hotelconxions.com/Default.aspx?tabid=127 that can catch the occasional bargain as will http://www.quikbook.com/ that specializes in NYC. http://airfare.travelzoo.com/north-american-airfare/ has always been a favorite of mine for just about anything to do with travel. TZOO usually pulls in info from several other sites and also some that seem rather obscure. Last year I got a $200 a night weekend rate at The Millennium in Times Square. This is a four star hotel and they tossed in breakfast for two and a $50 hotel coupon good for anything. I checked their rate online and it was $600 a night with NO goodies tossed in. Usually $200 a night in NYC will not even buy you a cot over a subway grate. TZOO will also have some Broadway theater tickets at steep discounts. With hotels it is always a good idea to call direct to see if there are any special promotions available that are rarely included on internet searches. Some chains will also guarantee lowest rate.
http://www.kayak.com/ and http://www.bookingbuddy.com/?departure_city=boston&source=kayak_boston_airfare will patrol every site for you. This is essential the same site but I have noticed differences when I do a search. The problem I have had with both at times is that when they connect me to the providers site the fare changes. Air Tran and Jet Blue really just suck at doing that to you. Kayak will also give you the total price rather than when you connect and find another 50% in fees. http://insideflyer.com/ is a subscription site as is http://www.bestfares.com/ but they do have some “stuff” that can help. On both I have often found the offered fares restrictive or hard to book.
I always recommend that you cross check any potential bookings. Go to various sites and, of course, the providers site. Airlines have sign ups for specials and last minute deals that are sometimes not available at the traditional sites. You will also find that virtually all travel sites have very similar rates but their fees may be different. It’s a generality but I’ve found Expedia. Com to be the most reasonable and Hotels.com the most expensive. As far as response when you “get screwed” I had exception customer survive from expedia and orbitz. Expedia called a Las Vegas hotel direct and got me in an upscale room and several coupons and it was the hotel screw up. Then they emailed me a $50 good faith coupon. This was for a $200 booking! So sometimes customer service is a plus.
A place I ALWAYS visit before I book a hotel is http://www.tripadvisor.com/ that gives reviews that are excellent. Reader submitted and a lot more in depth than the review links from travel sites. A few miscellaneous sites are http://www.friendlyplanet.com/ and http://www.cheapcaribbean.com/ that offer some interesting deals. Last year I was on Friendly Planet and saw a 18 day cruise in Australia and New Zealand including air fare from California for $1,800 TOTAL! I actually called them up and it was correct and was told if I booked in 24 hours it would be an outside cabin and a $100 ship coupon. We could not go but this is the type of stuff you can occasionally run into. Here is another I got for next week that I passed on since I’ll be in Texas. Outside cabin for a four day cruise at $199 PP and that is a 192 sq. foot cabin. I called and was told that an inside was #399! Go figure. Sometimes you will find something right out of nowhere.
A final suggestion is one I never used but others do it for peace of mind. http://www.insuremytrip.com/ As I said I’ve never used them but others have and claim they are top notch.
So far I have just scratched the surface and listed a few favorite places and there are many, many more. Again, double check everything.
Anyone feels this has any value feel free to copy it to your site, blog or tattoo it on your spouse.