Travel sites worth visiting on the Web

Published: Monday, January 29, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 28, 2007 at 11:52 p.m.
One of the Web's most common uses is to research and book travel. From time to time I visit travel sites looking for new features and better deals. Here are some of my most recent favorites:
  • Car Rentals ( - This site serves as a multi-site search engine to gather and present car rental rates from around the Web.
    Put in a request here, and you'll get back a list of vehicles presented by price from most major car rental companies.
    You can request either on or off-airport locations. Rates are shown both as a base rate and a rate with taxes and other fees, which can be substantial, especially for on-airport rentals.
    You can also sort by car size, and select a different drop-off location if needed.
    Another helpful feature here is to be able to look at the terms for local office issues such as using debit cards, fuel charges and additional drivers.
    Unlike other discount car rental sites, no credit card or prepayment is required to use this site.
    Car Rentals also offers occasional exclusive discounts and rates from smaller companies at major airports missed by larger travel sites. It's a simple site to use, and the fact it doesn't require prepayment makes it even more useful
  • Hotwire ( - Hotwire has become one of the leading sources of discount hotels, flights and car rentals.
    Hotwire is a cross between a conventional travel booking site and Priceline, historically the largest discount travel supplier.
    The main difference between Hotwire and Priceline's "Name Your Own Price" service is that Hotwire offers a discounted fixed rate for cars, hotels and flights.
    Buyers still aren't sure until they book and pay for a service exactly what hotel, flight or car rental company they will receive. However, discounts can be substantial, especially on hotel and car rentals, and availability is guaranteed.
    Hotwire's auto rental rates can be exceptionally low, but in some cases buyers must have a major credit card. An option is provided to search for debit card rentals only if a particular location offers both credit and debit card companies.
  • Better Bidding ( - This site functions as a bulletin board for both Priceline and Hotwire in providing user information about what hotels and car rentals are actually offered by the two services. Listings are offered by state, city or airport code and star level.
    In addition, information for Hotwire usually includes a description of what amenities are listed to help further clarify the property likely to be provided.
    While the information on BetterBidding isn't generally as detailed as that found on the similar, the fact it includes Hotwire information in addition to Priceline makes it a very useful travel resource.
  • SideStep ( - SideStep has both a regular Web site and an optional "travel bar" that searches for hotel, car and flight rates at the same time you access other travel sites to offer comparison rates.
    SideStep uses a number of sites and aggregates the results. I have often found SideStep's travel bar to be useful in offering rates, especially on hotels, from a wide variety of sources not always found on other sites.
    Tom Meek is a computer and media consultant working with businesses and individuals on computer and Web issues. Reach Tom at, or via, where a column archive is maintained.
  • Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

    Comments are currently unavailable on this article

    ▲ Return to Top