These tools help me planning my trips.
These are the main flights search engine I use. Google Flights is the newest, and it is very efficient. It has access to airlines that Sky Scanner isn’t aware of. Every time I look for a flight I check with Google Flights first. Its map feature is very convenient and helps me understanding the price range for the flights I am looking for. I also look at the fly from Tel Aviv to Everywhere feature in Sky Scanner. Kiwi is my latest friend, and I find it very useful when I need to make connections using low cost flights. It can combine different airlines very nicely. These three help me choosing a destination that fits my budget. I then look at prices in all search engines. However, finding the best flight doesn’t end there.
After getting the general idea from the search engines, I start scanning the airlines websites. I look mainly at low cost airlines as I am not a big believer in the services that airlines provide. If I need a suitcase, I will pay for it. If I want to eat, I will be a sandwich. I don’t need the “free” meal or the “free” extra luggage. These are low cost airlines that operate inside Europe. They offer flights for as little as $10. Wizz Air flies to Eastern Europe, and Easyjet to Western Europe. Ryanair flies form Eilat, and the others in the list offer less destination, but I still check them out.
These airlines offer attractive fares for travelers flying from the United States to Europe. Turkish Airlines is the second most popular airline in Israel. Istanbul is very close, and it is a massive hub to everywhere in the world. Turkish Airlines offer very attractive prices from Israel or Europe. Norwegian makes Scandinavia much closer to the United States, while Air Berlin will bring American to the center of Europe for a reasonable price.
When I look for hotels, I look first at Booking.com. I always had a great experience with the website. When I needed customer support, they were always there. In addition, after ordering many times from them over the past year, I achieved a “genius” status which gives larger discounts and improved customer service. As much as I like my experience with Booking, I also check Expedia, and Priceline. While Expedia is practically identical to Booking, Priceline offers a special feature called “bidding”.
I must say that Priceline and Booking.com are both part of the Priceline group, but Priceline still offers that cool feature. Bidding allows you to choose a price, and several criteria, and look for hotels that are willing to give you a room for that price. You can look for a 4 star hotel with free parking at the price of $80. If a hotel is willing to offer it to you, you will automatically book a room. Using this feature in the off season can save you a lot of money, as many hotels are looking to fill their rooms.
Some vacations require a car rental as you wish to leave the city. I do the same here as I do with flights. I use Rentalcars.com and Auto Europe to see the prices of cars in several companies. Then I go to the company’s website and look for possible cars that fit my needs. I also added Cruise America, we rented an RV twice from them in the United States, and had great experience.
When I look for attractions in the destinations I am travelling to I have three main sources. The first one is Trip Advisor. I always look for the top 10 or top 20 attractions to better understand the place I visit. Afterwards, I am looking for more specific details. I use both Amazon and Facebook. In Amazon I buy a book as it is still a very comfortable mean of acquiring knowledge. It gives me even more ideas that are more suitable for my preference. I also use Facebook, as I found out that almost every destination has touristic groups, that help tourists plan their trip. There are also groups about travels where people share their experience, and give advice to other people.