5 Sites for Cheap Holiday Travel

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The holiday season is here. The Rockettes are doing their eye-high kicks at Radio City, and midtown Manhattan is buzzing in preparation for the lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Center. For many Americans, the holidays involve traveling -- whether the destination is home or abroad with their family.

Yet booking trips and finding deals ever since the death of the travel agent has become somewhat complicated. There are dozens upon dozens of travel sites to choose from most of which seem similar and customers do not know if they are using the best one. Many people have heard of www.expedia and www.kayak.com -- both are great resources. However, below is a list of websites that can also provide deals and steals.

Site: www.skyscanner.com
About: "It offers free flight search service globally as well as instant online comparisons for hotels and rental cars," said Randi Wolfson, head of communications for the Americas. "We are inspirational, comprehensive, free, local and mobile, and offer an unbiased service."
Great Tip: Skyscanner is popular for European flights but lesser known in the U.S. (You heard about it here first, folks).

Site: www.vacationhomerentals.com
About: "We are unique from other travel sites, because we are a family-to-family vacation home rental site," explained Tom Gilmore, CEO of VacationHomeRentals.com. "Our website connects families looking to rent vacation homes directly with homeowners – no mark-ups or middleman involved. While other vacation home rental sites are meant for one night or single person rentals, VacationHomeRentals.com, is specifically geared towards family travel."
Great Tip: Vacationhomerental consistently offers a "last minute deals" section where a customer can find some really wallet-friendly prices.

Site: www.cheapcaribbean.com

About: "We are the only travel site that focuses completely and totally on beach experiences to the Caribbean and Mexico," explained Sophia Stoller Senior Director of Communications. "We have a team of product/buyers that have personal relations throughout the Caribbean and Mexico whose purpose is to find the best product at the best value for our travel customers."
Great Tip: CheapCaribbean.com is the only online travel site that allows you to split up your payments. With this program, you can make a deposit on your reservation at the time of booking, with your final payment due 21 days before your date of departure.

Site: www.hotwire.com
About: Hotwire is focused on getting travelers the deepest discounts on hotel rooms, flights and car rentals. It has deals at any moment, in over 3,000 destinations worldwide. Hotwire achieves its low prices through strong relationships with partners – offering them a reliable outlet to sell inventory (rooms, airline seats and car rentals) that may otherwise go unsold.
Great Tip: Hotwire offers customers planning tools: http://www.hotwire.com/planning/index.jsp These planning tools can provide automated price alerts.

Site: www.travelzoo.com
About: Travelzoo stands apart from other travel, entertainment and local deal sites, because it has hundreds of deal experts who hand-select and test each deal before it goes live on the site. This process ensures that each deal is of the utmost quality and value. Travelzoo has more than 26 million subscribers worldwide. It publishes deals from more than 2,000 travel and entertainment companies.
Great Tip: Travelzoo's fare calendar compares travel options across vendors, dates and times, showing online deal shoppers where and when they can get the most bang for their buck during the holidays.

Never-fail holiday travel tips are always to book early, avoid peak travel dates (like the Wednesday before Thanksgiving) and plan for the unexpected like snow or travel delays.

--Written by Leigh Held for MainStreet

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