Paddle Your Way to the Best Travel Prices

Summertime is vacation time. Perhaps you want to go to the beach. Or maybe you’re committed to visiting that aunt and uncle who always pinched your cheek as a kid. Maybe you have a week off and just want to get away, anywhere, preferably cheap and romantic.

Pete and I have long been using an extremely helpful website to help us get the most for our travel dollars. Yet, as I’ve talked to friends and relatives, I’ve realized that no one seems to have ever heard of it. Don’t start with the airline, rental car, or hotel website. Don’t even bother with Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, Cheaptickets, or the like. Rather, combine your searches at one site: www.Kayak.com.

The beauty of Kayak.com is that they search all those cheap sites mentioned above, and a whole lot more. They do the comparisons so you don’t have to bother. Then they summarize the results in an easy-to-read chart.

Here in Colorado Springs, we have our own airport, COS, and are also within driving distance of Denver’s international airport (DEN). Kayak allows us to combine airports that are near each other into one search.

Similarly, you don’t have to get specific with the timing of your flights, unless you want to. You can search a range of times and dates to find what works best for your schedule and your budget.

If you travel frequently, it is worth your time to log in and create an account with your personal preferences such as your frequent-flyer programs, window vs. aisle seating, etc. You can also track prices, compare add-on airline fees, get travel trips, and have it all at your fingertips via your iPhone, Blackberry, or Android.

A recent search for a randomly picked flight showed that round-trip flights in August from Denver to LAX ranged from $152 TO $217, depending on the airline and the day of the week. It’s easy to look at the choices and make your selection according to your needs.

Similarly, a rental car in Portland, Oregon currently costs between $58/day (wow, that’s high!) to a whopping $236/day. And I got this information with one click of my mouse.

Kayak.com doesn’t just have flights, hotels, and cars. They also list entire vacation packages and cruises. In addition, there are special deals sorted by categories such as Romantic, Family, and Luxury Auctions. You can also find last minute deals on tour packages that haven’t sold out yet.

I love the “explore” feature. It shows a map of the world (obviously powered by Google Maps), covered with little boxes showing how much it would cost me to fly to that spot. That’s the stuff I dream about!

And no, they didn’t pay me to write this article. (I wish!)

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