These new online travel-helpers all exist in that golden how-have-I-survived-without-this realm -- and the fact that they’re all completely free makes them a no-brainer. So add these gems to your trip-ready arsenal: You’ll find a shortcut to low-rate car rentals, a new all-in-one way to track rewards points, and an app that finds you the best seat on the plane, among others.
Autoslash: Airline loyalty programs often offer all sorts of rental car add-ons -- but are those at the best price? If you’re lacking the time or patience to sort through your options, AutoSlash can help. It searches for the lowest car rental rates using any publicly available discounts in its search (like promo codes you might not even be aware of!), plus, once you've booked, it keeps re-pricing your rental. If the rate drops, you’ll get an alert with the option to rebook at the lower price.
AwardWallet: Many travelers accrue frequent flier or hotel points from an enormous variety of programs -- who can keep track? Enter AwardWallet, which tracks your hotel point balances and expiration dates all in one spot (saving you from logging on to a bunch of airline and hotel sites every time you want to check your info)!
EVReward: Airlines typically have their own online mileage malls, offering extra bonus miles or points with partners that include even big names like Target or Apple. But how can you tell who will award you the most points -- or if there’s any difference at all? EVReward lists the potential points you can earn for any purchase you decide to make. For example, a holiday gift-ready Harry & David Tower of Treats for $27 lists miles rewards from 13 different airlines, with the top reward -- 8 points per dollar spent from Choice Privileges Hotel Reward Program -- easily identifiable from the sea of 2-3 point rewards. So if you’re going to buy it anyway, why not earn more?
HopStop: This site isn’t brand-new, but its usefulness is unparalleled. HopStop tells you how to get from point A to point B -- via foot, subway, bus, or taxi -- and exactly how long your journey will take. If you haven’t used it yet, test it out as a planning tool on your next vacation -- and find out exactly when to book dinner.
SeatExpert: All you need is your airline and flight number to pull up a detailed map of the best (and worst!) seats for your upcoming trip, so plug in your info before you accept a seat assignment. As the site proclaims -- and as any seasoned traveler can attest -- “all seats are not created equal.”
Zoombu: So far, this site focuses solely on Europe -- but if you’re based in the UK or traveling anywhere within the Continent, it’s a gem. Plug in where you’re headed, and it provides you with three smart door-to-door route options -- the cheapest, the fastest, and (our favorite) the greenest -- that include modes of transportation, travel time, and cost.
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Posted by SpecialK3883 (Kelly L. Phillips)