New Visitors Privacy Policy Sponsorship Contact Us Media
Baby Boomers Family Green Home and Auto In Critical Condition Just Starting Out Lifestyle Money
- advertisement -
Bankrate.com
News & Advice Compare Rates Calculators
Rate Alerts  |  Glossary  |  Help
Mortgage Home
Equity
Auto CDs &
Investments
Retirement Checking &
Savings
Credit
Cards
Debt
Management
College
Finance
Taxes Personal
Finance

Special section Jump into travel

Whether your vacation begins by land, by sea or by air, you can save money on transportation to your destination.

Save money on getting there

Finding great, last-minute getaways
 

Burned up, burned out or just plain brain dead?

When you just can't wait any longer for that planned vacation still months away, last-minute vacation getaways are easy and fun to find on the Internet.

Even if you're not sure where you'd like to go, several travel sites are ready and willing to help you plan your weekend getaway from start to finish.

... Airlines are evolving online travel to the next level of relevance for the consumer. ...

A good place to start? Lastminute.com. The site is designed especially for last-minute travel packages. "You can find the best last-second deals." says Giovanna Garlati public relations and communications manager at lastminute.com U.S. "The choice of destinations is really wide so it's ideal for people with busy agenda."

Last-minute packages
If you don't already have a destination in mind, Lastminute.com will help you decide what kind of getaway you're looking for whether it's skiing in Colorado or sunbathing in the Caribbean. Its "idea box" feature allows you to choose from different types of vacations, including sun and beach, romance, casinos or offbeat trips. The only downside to the site is that you can't book just a flight independently; you must combine a flight with either accommodations or car rental. You can, however, book just a car and hotel if you plan to book a flight on your own.

Lastminute.com's technology and content also power the last-minute and getaway sections of Travelocity, AOL Travel, Cheap Tickets, Yahoo! Travel, American Airlines Vacations and Delta Air Lines Vacations. It's owned by Sabre Holdings, the same company that owns the European version of LastMinute.com. So, don't be surprised if the same flight options and hotels keep popping up throughout your search.

Alternatives to Lastminute.com include Orbitz, which has a "Deal Detector" page that offers a deal of the week, and Expedia, which offers a last-minute travel deals section, as well as a tip box for finding last-minute fares. "Occasionally these third-party sites will pick up on last-minute fares offered by different airlines but they won't get them all," says Elissa Richard, airlines editor at Sherman's Travel magazine and associate editor at Sherman's Travel, a company that compiles deals and offers from airlines, vacation package providers, cruise lines, hotels and more.

Airlines' e-fares
Richard also suggests visiting the airlines directly to get a more holistic view of the deals that are out there. The carrier sites offer other perks, too -- they allow you to book last-minute flights independently, in case you don't want to buy a package -- and their deals include both domestic and international travel. Most of the airlines also offer weekly e-letters, which you have to sign up for. These e-letters conveniently arrive in your inbox on a Monday or Tuesday, just in time for you to sort out your weekend plans. If you'd rather not receive e-mails from the airlines, you can visit their sites directly as they often post their e-fares.

Some airlines are making it even easier to access their deals. Henry Harteveldt, vice president and principal analyst with Forrester Research who follows travel trends, recommends checking out Southwest Airlines' downloadable "Ding" tool which brings live, updated offers directly to your desktop with a chime, allowing you to get a jump on the latest fares. Currently, no third-party site offers fares from Southwest, so you must book it directly from the airline's site. "This feature is a perfect example of how airlines are evolving online travel to the next level of relevance for the consumer," says Harteveldt.

Deal screeners
If you'd rather have the deals come to you in a comprehensive, neatly packaged way, check out Sherman's Travel, Smarter Travel and Concierge, all of which specialize in screening the best last-minute deals on the Web and consolidating them for you in an e-letter.

If price is the most important factor in your travel decisions, you may want to check out Hotwire and Priceline. Neither site will let you see flight times or airline carriers until your credit card has been accepted. But Hotwire lets you see the price before you buy the ticket, whereas priceline.com doesn't show you the price until after you've placed a bid. Hotwire also reveals if your flight is a red-eye.

"These sites tend to offer less expensive tickets, but they do come with many trade-offs," says Bill McGee, a consultant for Consumer Reports WebWatch, a project of Consumers Union. "For the regimented traveler, saving a few bucks may not be worth it."

-- Updated: June 21, 2007
<< Previous article | Next article >>  

INTRODUCTION
  Save money getting there
 
 
Compare Rates
NATIONAL OVERNIGHT AVERAGES
30 yr fixed mtg 4.45%
48 month new car loan 3.77%
1 yr CD 0.89%
Rates may include points
- advertisement -
RELATED CALCULATORS
  How much life insurance do I need?  
  Calculate your payment on any loan  
  What will it take to save for a goal?  
VIEW ALL  
BASICS SERIES
Begin with personal finance fundamentals:
Auto Loans
Checking
Credit Cards
Debt Consolidation
Insurance
Investing
Home Equity
Mortgages
Student Loans
Taxes
Retirement
- advertisement -
- advertisement -

About Bankrate | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Online Media Kit | Partnerships | Investor Relations | Press Room | Contact Us | Sitemap
NYSE: RATE | RSS Feeds |

* Mortgage rate may include points. See rate tables for details. Click here.
* To see the definition of overnight averages click here.

Bankrate.com ®, Copyright © 2014 Bankrate, Inc., All Rights Reserved, Terms of Use.