Air, Car & Hotel Trip Planner Tools

Multipurpose Trip Planner Sites

 

Multipurpose Trip Planner Sites

These are a few multi-platform air, car rental, and hotel trip planner sites that are very useful. Obviously local tournaments are hotel only. But the National and Regional bowling tournaments potentially require all three and at least two travel options.

 

TRIPADVISOR

Tripadvisor by far is a favorite trip planner tool for hotel stay planning. Enter your location and search for hotels and Tripadvisor will display a customiz(able) list of hotels based on availability, price, location, amenities and most important ratings. The ratings feature cannot be overstated because hotels give themselves star ratings, but the Tripadvisor ratings are independent and are screened for content. So important are Tripadvisor ratings, that hotels post their current Tripadvisor rating statistics in visible locations on their properties. Additionally, the site can be used for restaurant and entertainment planning once you arrive at your destination.

Expedia

Expedia is the most comprehensive and 2nd favorite trip planner site. With Expedia you can plan the flight, hotel and car rental or any mismatch of the three. There are numerous options and ratings and endless ways to customize your searches. If you become a member, you earn points for stays or trips booked thru Expedia, just remember to upload your frequent flyer or hotel / car rewards information to receive credits for those as well. Expedia also frequently presents refundable options, for hotels in particular.

Trivago

Trivago is fairly new but is quickly showing itself to be an invaluable trip planner service as well. So much so in fact that I slipped it ahead of Priceline even though Trivago does not have flights or car rental. Trivago is valuable because it's filters are so good. Trivago checks all other hotel sites, similar to Tripadvisor but adds very intuitive hotel quality filters as communicated by user ratings. These are displayed as five faces and range from sad to a cheesy grin. Couple this with the exact dollar filter tool and you can pinpoint hotels of say $150 or less with smile or cheesy grin ratings. I typically use this site in concert with Tripadvisor to confirm my selections.

Priceline

Priceline is interesting and (arguably) the last trip planner site in my list as i don't actually plan trips here purposely. I typically end up at Priceline because I saw a low price shown when reviewing options on one of the other sites. That said, Priceline is a fully comprehensive site for flights, hotel and car. And the times that I've used it I have had no issues on the back end.

Individual Hotel (Trip Planner) Platforms

The following are individual hotel trip planner platforms tools. There are listed by reward program. Additionally, I have included two multi-car rental trip planner platforms that I find to be very useful.

Hilton Honors (HHonors)

HHonors is arguably the creme de la creme of membership rewards programs and my personal favorite. The brand is deep, Hilton, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, Home2Suites and of course Embassy Suites. I can honestly say I've never had a bad stay at any of their properties and I've frequented all named multiple times and multiple times per year.

 

Marriott (Marriott Rewards)

I said arguably for Hilton because Marriott is arguably the second best rewards program. I would rate Marriott a close second because  the Hilton brand (free) breakfast is better. Nevertheless, Marriott's brands are top notch as well, Marriott, Courtyard, Starwood Preferred Guest, Sheraton, Residence Inn, TownPlace Suites... I've frequented all named multiple times and multiple times per year and generally always had positive stays.

International Hotel Group (IHG Rewards)

IHG  intercontinental.com is the home of Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, good brands. Also included are Crowne Plaza, Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites. I've stayed at all but Staybridge and have always come away impressed with Holiday Inn Express.

Choice Hotels (Choice Hotel Rewards)

Choice Hotels is the most affordable of the brands listed. However do not let the affordability fool anyone into believing that comfortable stays are sacrificed. Comfort Suites is consistently good as are Quality Inn and Suites and Clarion. Do not sleep on this brand (no pun intended).

MultiVendor Car Rental Service Providers

Rounding out the list of recommended trip planner tools are two multi-vendor car rental service providers.

 

Hotwire (Hotwire.com)

Hotwire has consistently great rates and exceptional ease of use. I would recommend beginning any car rental search with Hotwire.

Rentalcars (Rentalcars.com)

Rentalcars.com is relatively new for me but similar rates as Hotwire with the same ease of use and execution.

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