Start following these travel sites for insider bargains
Price sleuthing has never been easier thanks to travel sites’ Twitter accounts. From just-released airfare prices to last-minute hotel rates, Twitter is abuzz with daily deals. Check out:
Founded by former travel writer George Hobica, Airfarewatchdog.com finds immediate deals thanks to an old-fashion resource: people. Many of those people are former airline employees and travel agents, he said. This allows the site to find fares other sites miss, such as deals on Southwest Airlines, which doesn’t allow computer programs to grab its fares.
Recent Twitter steals: A “Fall Fare Sale” from Southwest; a 20 percent promo discount from Porter Airlines; and a “fare of the day” from New York to Monterrey, Mexico for $218 round-trip, taxes included.
Tip: For summer weekend getaway deals, look early in the week. Deals usually come out on Tuesdays.
Shifting through a myriad of travel prices takes time, but with practice, you get a nose for solid bargains. At least that's been the experience of the 100 travel experts at Travelzoo.com. “It only takes a quick sniff test for us to know what’s hot and what’s too good to be true,” said Travelzoo publisher Jamie Samuels. "We have our Test Booking Center triple check all of the deals we publish.” The result? A weekly top-20 airfare, hotel and entertainment deal list posted on its Web site every Monday and then tweeted and e-mailed to subscribers.
Recent Twitter steals: A beat the heat deal on a luxurious Utah mountain resort ($154/night with $100 hotel credit); an all-inclusive European vacation during the Thanksgiving holiday for $749 (roundtrip airfare included); and last-minute discounted one-way trips on Jetblue ($59 from JFK to Chicago’s O’Hare.).
Tip: In the case of European summer vacations, Samuels notes that, while airfare is high, most European hotels discount up to 60 percent during the months of July and August. twitter.com/Travelzoo
To avoid hotels’ spin, Oyster Hotels’ reviewers stay anonymously and pay their own ways. The recently launched hotel review site (oyster.com) features pros and cons for each hotel and hundreds of undoctored photos from properties in NYC, D.C., L.A., Hawaii, Miami and more.
Recent Twitter steals: Last minute weekend deals on NYC hotels ($161/night at The MAve!) and a Dominican all-inclusive ($112/night at Grand Paradise Playa Dorada).
Tip: “Keep in mind that the cheapest hotel isn't necessarily going to give you the most bang for your buck,” said editor Kelsey Blodget. “A hotel that is $200 a night might seem like a better deal than a hotel that is $250, but maybe the $250 hotel has free Wi-Fi, breakfast and is closer to the sites you want to see, saving money on transportation.” Twitter.com/oysterhotels
This site is like a travel-savvy friend who has stayed at the world’s top hotels and gets you preferential rates at all of them. Once handpicked by Tablet, top international and domestic hotels can join the site for free, and are carefully reviewed by members who have stayed there. “Most of our competitors require that hotels pay to be included on their sites,” said marketing manager Julie Waters. “And many of them allow anyone to review hotels, allowing for fake reviews from hotel owners and hotel competitors.”
Recent Twitter steals: Austin's Hotel Saint Cecilia at rates as low as $207/night and almost criminal rates for Thompson LES (as low as $197/night).
Tip: To become a free member, amNY readers can go to tablethotels.com/amny.