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Trip planning can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know when or where you want to go. So, how can you find the best travel deals without spending hours and hours scouring the internet? Here are the top 4 places to start your vacation planning so you can book an amazing trip without breaking the bank!
#1: Google Flights
For a while now, my favorite search engine for finding the best flights has been Google Flights. I use it all the time to compare prices on flights.
I love the calendar view, which shows me the best prices on flights to my destination of choice on each day of the month. This is a great way to save money on airfare because it allows me to find the cheapest day to fly.
Not sure where you want to go? Hit the Explore tab to bring up the map view. This will allow you to compare prices on flights to a variety of destinations at the same time.
Additionally, you can search and compare prices on hotels in your desired location or find things to do on your trip.
Skyscanner is another great place to start your vacation planning. I also use it quite a bit when shopping for flights. I like using both Google Flights and Skyscanner to give me the most information so I can make a smart choice on flights.
Skyscanner gives you much of the same information that Google Flights does but in a different layout. There are some pros and cons to both sites.
The calendar view on Skyscanner is not as useful as that on Google Flights, but it does give you a box across the top of the search results which shows you the best, cheapest, and fastest flights available at a glance.
Another benefit of Skyscanner over Google Flights is that the search results give you more details about each flight without having to click on each one.
Additionally, I find it easier to modify my search on Skyscanner.
The biggest downside to Skyscanner is that it doesn’t have a map view to let you easily compare flights to different destinations.
#3: Travel Zoo
Travel Zoo is one of the best places to start your vacation planning. It has become my go to site when doing my initial research. This is where I go when I haven’t decided where to go yet.
Unlike Google Flights and Skyscanner, Travel Zoo isn’t a search engine. Instead, it offers a collection of vacation deals that range from special rates on specific hotels to vacation packages that include airfare, hotel, ground transportation, food, and tours.
Travel Zoo offers both international and domestic deals. The deals can be searched by area, type of vacation, or activity type. You can even search for road trips!
I find that this is a great place to get ideas on where to go, even if I don’t take advantage of the deals they offer. After looking here, I usually hop over to Google Flights and/or Skyscanner to search for flights.
You will have to join Travel Zoo to take advantage of their deals because they are available for members only. You can see the basic deals without joining, but you must join to see the exact details of each one. It’s free to join!
This is another recent discovery I’ve made, but it is quickly becoming my new favorite site! Momondo has everything that Google Flights and Skyscanner does, plus more. It offers suggested destinations if you are not sure where you want to go.
The calendar view on Momondo is better than Skyscanner, while the map view is better than Google Flights.
I also love that it allows you to search for and compare vacation packages instead of just the individual components separately. It also allows you to search for train travel, which is a unique feature that neither Google Flights nor Skyscanner has.
Another awesome feature of Momondo that most search engines don’t have is the ability to customize your flights by picking each leg of your trip individually instead of as a round trip. Sometimes, this can save you loads of cash!
Bonus: Best Place to Find Hotels
Once you decide on where and when you will go on your next family vacation, then you’re ready to start booking! And the best place to find hotels for your trip is Hotellook!
This search engine will find you the best prices from a variety of booking sites. And, unlike most booking sites, Hotellook gives you the total price of your stay, including all taxes and fees. This will allow you to see exactly how much you will pay right up front! I love that!
For other great places to book hotels, see my post on the 5 best places to find hotels.
Trip planning can be frustrating and take up tons of time, especially if you aren’t sure where or when you want to travel. But with the help of the above four sites, you can start your vacation planning with the confidence of knowing that you will find the best of the best without wasting all of your time!
Good luck finding your next amazing vacation!
For more help planning your vacations, see how to take amazing vacations on any budget, how to plan an epic vacation, tips to save money on hotels, how to take a vacation when you can’t afford it, and how to save for vacation.
P.S. Need help finding the best places to go on your family vacations? My Ultimate USA Bucket List for Families will instantly give you 60 of the best vacation destinations for families in the United States! Get it for FREE in the box below and start planning your next trip today! Plus, as a bonus, you will receive my weekly email newsletter full of family trip tips and inspiration!