"I'm Done Editing" royslaven's Profile
My world map is well shaded, the product of much private travel and long term overseas work assignments which has sent me to some wonderful places from my native Australia. A combination of good luck and good management, it has been a fabulous ride and it continues in Belgrade, Serbia. Still not sure what I want to do when I grow up..........
Hats off to all you VTers who have created some extraordinary home pages with great info. and photos.
I have been gathering websites over the past few years and concealing them in folders in Favourites. How silly is that ? They should be shared, so here goes.
Unless someone else pays, I usually go for 2-3 star hotels, do non package travelling and I enjoy reading other travellers tales. My list of sites reflects this. I like a bargain (who doesn’t?) and as I am retired I have time to scan the various search engines and airline websites for the best deal.
BUYING CHEAP TICKETS
For some years I have purchased internet tickets using search engines or direct from airline websites. From my experience they are cheaper than anything offered by travel agents in Belgrade, Serbia, where I live at present.
Depending on where you live, it may be that travel agencies and airline offices still offer competitive prices. I have not had to change an internet purchased ticket, which is my only concern about buying on the net.
Generally speaking the earlier you buy the ticket the cheaper it is. But in the present economic climate airlines are offering good deals at unusual times to tempt travellers so booking late need not cost you more. Prices on some routes in 2009 are the lowest I have ever seen.
Low cost carriers have changed the airline business and forced traditional airlines to be more competitive. These days there is less difference between fares when everything is taken into account. For example a Ryanair or Easyjet flight to London might be cheaper than say British Airways but by the time you add on the extra charges for bags, online checking, payment fess and the cost of getting into London from Stansted or Luton airport, it might be cost neutral to fly BA to Heathrow.
There are specific low cost search engines. Other search engines focus on traditional airlines and some claim to search everything. In fact none search all airlines which is why it is important to use several and to check airline websites. The fare on the airline website will usually be cheaper than the engine and there may be special airline deals on the website which won’t be offered by the search engine.
All airports have websites these days and their arrival and departure schedules will tell you which airlines fly in and out. You may see airlines you have never heard of which fly at a suitable time and have a good price on their website.
Most search engines have sections which post airline deals and promotions and some undertake to update you regularly by email. Though tempted to ask for this service, I fear being inundated with a lot of unrelated junk so have declined.
Travelling from Tuesday to Thursday is often cheaper than weekend travel and flying at non peak times during the day can also save you money. If travelling to or from the Middle East, take into account the fact that the weekend is Friday and Saturday. Prices increase in country-of–departure school and other holidays.
Currency fluctuations can work for and against you. At present, the UK pound is relatively weak so if you can purchase tickets calculated in pounds you should save money. For sometime now it has been cheaper for Euro based travellers to buy tickets calculated in US dollars and more expensive doing it in the opposite direction.
One way tickets and multi city tickets are no longer ridiculously expensive. But search engines and airline websites can behave strangely and it pays to try options to get the lowest price. For example, in 2008 when using the Icelandair site to book a London to Reykjavik return ticket, I found it was 50 pounds cheaper to buy two one way tickets between the two cities than a return ticket.
Earlier last year I flew Continental Airlines from Newark to San Jose in Costa Rica then to San Francisco. On the Continental website in the multiple destinations search box I entered the two legs of the journey - Newark to SJ, SJ to San Fran and the search produced a fare and an itinerary with 4 flight numbers and sectors - Newark to Houston, Houston to SJ, SJ to Houston, Houston to San Fran. Out of curiosity I entered these 4 legs in the multiple destinations search box and the search gave me the same sectors and flight numbers and a fare which was $80 different !
European and North American low cost airlines are well known, e.g. Ryanair, Easyjet, JetBlue and Southwest Airlines. Very well known in Asia is Airasia.com which has revolutionised travel in that part of the world. In the Middle East and with coverage from Greece to India and North East Africa is low cost carrier Airarabia.com. But there are many more - see attitude travel and wikipedia for the global list of low cost carriers.
Some airlines are more likely to offer deals than others. Because of where I fly, I regularly check for deals on traditional carriers Gulf Air, Kuwait, Emirates, Etihad, Qatar, Malaysian and Singapore Airlines. Kuwait Airlines is sometimes missed by search engines and if booked early enough often has the cheapest return fares from London to Bangkok and Manila
airline quality lists global airline websites.
The websites provided below I have used or have been recommended. They are current as of June 2009. There will be sites I should have included but didn’t because I either overlooked them or don’t know of them. I tried to order them as logically as I could but travel doesn’t fit neatly into categories and so it is with this list.
Thanks to J (Leics) for her suggestions including several good sites.
AIRLINES and AIRPORTS
Airline, airport, flight, lounge and seat reviews airline quality
Calculating air miles
List of low cost carriers
Information about international airports
international airport guide
Seating plans for most major airlines seat guru
How to get to and from airports by car, bus, train and other forms of public transport to and from the airport
Guide to sleeping at airports sleeping at airports
Courier delivery services which forward luggage from home to your destination
fly my case and first luggage
FLIGHT SEARCH ENGINES and SPECIFIC INTEREST SITES
(Many also offer hotel, car rental and other searches)
To begin with try VT
Low cost European carrier routes and who flies them
which budget and hare fares
Low cost flights fly low cost airlines and low cost
Long haul flights from the UK net flights
Specialising in multi city and round the world tickets air treks
Has a useful “buzz” page which displays destinations and prices in recent searches kayak
cheap flights finder
International but specialising in travel from India clear trip and make my trip
Discount fares from USA to Asia cheap asia fares
Caribbean packages including cruises cheap caribbean
Adventure travel - walking, trekking and special interest holidays on and off the beaten track
French language site offering ethical tours and flights to Francophone Africa point afrique
Travelling light one bag
Global single travellers travel buddies
Canadian singles travel club singles travel club
Travel site for women journey women
Hospitality for touring cyclists warm showers
TRAINS, BUSES and TAXIS
International train travel seat61
German railways deutsche bahn
Long distance European bus travel eurolines
Hop-on hop-off bus network Europe bus about
Main UK bus carrier national express
Low cost bus service operating in UK and USA mega bus
International taxi fare calculator world taxi meter
Transportation options from major arrival locations (airports, ferry terminals, train stations)i hate taxis
Holiday planner with accommodation reviews (& VT parent company) trip advisor
Hotel bookings venere and booking.com
Hotel bookings with a bidding option where travellers can name their own price (which may or may not be accepted) priceline
Budget hotel bookings in Europe and USA eurocheapo
Asian accomodation asia rooms
Asia, Australia and New Zealand accomodation asia oz
Hostel bookings hostel bookers
Last minute hotel bookings late rooms and late stays
Global network of accommodation offered by locals for a nightly charge air b & b
Find people to stay with around the world free of charge, or host them where you live
Upmarket Indian hotel group - forts, palaces and stately homes turned into hotels. I stayed in the Neemrana Fort Palace which was superb neemrana hotels
TRAVEL NEWS, INFORMATION and FORUMS
Tourism Offices Worldwide Directory tourism offices worldwide
Electricity around the world - voltages and plugs (with pictures).
Specific country travel advice from the UK Govt travel advisory
Specific country health advice from NHS Scotland health advice
Travel news daily travel news
General info website with numerous topics, many travel related about.com
Scroll down under “Explore Our Topics” to air travel which has much relevant information including a list of current deals and specials offered by airlines air fare specials
Travel magazine brave new traveller
Travel blogs and diaries travel blog
Low cost carrier blog low cost airlines blog
Comprehensive travel site lonely planet with good travel forum thorn tree
Guardian newspaper’s travel section guardian travel
Travel site with articles - click on Travel Writing travel intelligence
Travel info. with emphasis on low cost travel for independent travellers
100 best travel websites according to The Times dated 18 March 2009
times 100 websites
A global events guide, covering numerous events - music, sports, shopping, family entertainment and festivals whats on when
Travel insurance for Australians one cover
Travel insurance for everyone. I use this company and the one relatively minor claim I made was settled reasonably world nomads
Maps world maps
UK street map street map
CAR RENTAL and ROAD TRAVEL
Car hire – I have used them frequently and never been disappointed rental car group
Car hire by the hour in UK, Australia, USA
European road trip planner from UK Automobile Association aa route planner
Road trip planner for travel in Europe, North America, South East Asia, Southern Africa and Middle East. I find this very useful via michelin
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