The first one is called TripAlertz, a groupon-style website for travel deals. Everyday they feature a great hotel deal listed at an amazing price. The more people that purchase it, the lower the price gets. By the time the deal closes, the cost of the hotel can be half of the normal price. The great part is that membership is free. And after joining, you can earn trip cash--which can be applied to any deal you purchase--by inviting your friends and family to join. TripAlertz also offers the chance to win a trip by creating your own itinerary for a dream vacation. The more "likes" your trip gets, the better your chances of winning. I just submitted a trip today, so if you happen to be a member or plan on joining, go ahead and vote for me!
The other website I love is Wanderfly. A site that helps you find affordable trips that match your specific criteria and personality. You can search many different ways. A simple method is just entering your budget, home airport and date when you want to go, and Wanderfly instantly provides recommendations to match, with flight and hotel options, as well as the final budget posted in bold. For instance, I entered:
- Home airport: Chicago
- Budget: $1000/person
- Date: Mid March
- Length of Stay: 5 days
- Place to Explore: Anywhere
Santa Maria is a city in Santa Barbara County, on the Central Coast of California. While it contains all the amenities of an urban community with its hotels, theaters, museums and more, it still retains the charms of rurality with its sand dune beaches and famous wineries. Visitors are also always free to indulge in horse-riding, surfing, sunbathing, or simply driving off the beaten path and exploring numerous country roads dotted with farms, wineries and little towns.
It then gave me a reasonable round-trip flight and a hotel for a total of $824 for the whole trip. That's an extremely affordable trip, and it's one I would pick for myself. (Because anything with Northern California and wineries is a winner in my book.) It's also a place that I would have never considered before, and anything that opens me up to new experiences and destinations is certainly worth looking into.
You can also narrow down your search by choosing a theme or interest (i.e. casino, romance, eco, spa, party, etc.). You can select one or many, and results that match your criteria will appear. If you don't like the first selection, simply click the arrow next to "change trip" and the next destination will come up. After putting in "food" and "entertainment" in my search, I was given Saint Charles, Missouri. Since this is not really my scene, I saw what was next and it suggested San Sebastian, Spain. That's more like it.
I will definitely be frequenting these websites in the new year, and hopefully I've opened your eyes to the wonderful benefits they provide. Enjoy!