A number of sites advertise protections for price drops after purchase. For example, the orbitz.com Price Assurance program automatically tracks and processes refunds if another traveler books for less before the start of a traveler’s trip. Tingo.com automatically rebooks hotel rooms at a lower rate if the price drops.
Flash-sale sites (such as spire.com, sniqueaway.com, and jetsetter.com) offer time-limited opportunities for price-conscious travelers to take advantage of significant price reductions on rooms and vaca-tion packages.
Many travelers check prices directly with airline, hotel, travel, cruise, auto rental, or rail suppliers (United Airlines, Marriott, Hertz, etc.) to take advantage of special offers or to confirm they are getting a good online deal elsewhere. (Booking air directly offers the convenience of selecting seats and obtaining credit for frequent flyer miles on the same site.)
Expedia.com, travelocity.com, and orbitz.com are full-service, online travel agents (also called third-party intermediaries) who broker airlines, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages for travelers. In recent years, priceline.com, which started with a name-your-own-price model, has moved to include conventional sales similar to the other big brokers.
Numerous tour operators, Pleasant Holidays (pleasantholidays.com) and American Express Vacations (americanexpressvacations.com), to name just two, also offer one-stop-shopping online packages.
Online tools have the potential to make it easier to organize trips. Utilities like tripit.com help organize all the details of flight, hotel, auto rental, and restaurant reservations. The site allows travelers to forward e-mail purchase confirmations to their TripIt accounts, automatically adding the information to their itineraries, which can be shared with family and friends.
SeatGuru.com takes the guesswork out of knowing how much legroom you will have, whether your seat is in the path of the restroom, and whether it reclines and has a tray table.
Google Maps (maps.google.com) and its mobile apps can be invaluable in planning your trip and figuring out how to get back to your hotel room if you get lost in a new city. It can also point you to directions for using public transportation.
Flightaware.com tracks the status of your incoming flights if you are worried about bad weather diverting or delaying your plane’s departure.
Weather.com helps you determine how to pack and whether you will need your umbrella.