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BOOKING

Tripit

Got multiple reservations and people on one trip? This app is excellent at organizing all of your travel details in one place. Simply forward your reservation email to plans@tripit.com, and voila, it's imported. Keep adding until everything is added, and then invite your friends to the same trip. Every one has access and can make changes, if necessary. It's a great way to organize a trip and share travel plans. 

Booking Deals and Mystery Getaways!

I've recently come across two new search engines that can change the way you travel.

The first is Next Vacay. $25/year will get you personalized travel alerts from your home airport of choice. After their search engines find the best deals, you receive an email alert with instructions on how to book the flight directly with the airline. It takes the hours of searching and cross-comparison off your plate, and if you don't like the service, you can ask for a refund within 6 months.

The second is for the traveler who wants to be pleasantly surprised and relaxed for a 3-day weekend getaway. Pack up & Go takes the thinking out of a short trip, so you can simply enjoy the ride. Select your budget, answer a survey on your likes and dislikes, and then show up for your hand-selected adventure! No plane trip is too far, so you spend more time in the location, and less time at the airport.

**A cautionary note about your typical discount booking sites:

All-in-one sites, such as Expedia.com are great for finding deals, but when it comes to making changes, things can get a little tricky. If you feel certain that nothing will change, you can find amazing flights using a combination of airlines put together for you; however, if you anticipate changing anything, dealing with third-party customer service can be overly complicated or pre-paid perks may be completely unrefundable. I tend to use these sites to get an idea of which airline has deals, and then book directly.

 

Bottom line: use with care.**

Where should I stay?

If you're not going the hotel route, it's nice to stay with friends or friends of friends. If that's not an option, a few other ideas are:

About hostels...they've seriously stepped up their game. Take a look at some of the Most Unusual Places to Stay from Hostelworld. From modern and swanky to relaxed and poolside, there's something for everyone.

Last minute airport change? Try this app.

Many big cities have multiple airports. You may have checked your confirmation emails, verified online, and anywhere else to make sure you know where to be, with enough time to check bags and make the flight. Unfortunately, airlines can change your departure airport at the last minute, and if you haven't allowed enough time to reroute, you may miss your flight. To avoid this issue, leave enough travel time and download the Tripcase app. Simply import your itenerary, and their tools will help manage all the details.

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