Travel sites are quickly becoming a dime a dozen. You can find information, discounts and planners everywhere, and each with both similar and unique features that endear them to their customers. Many are so similar that you might not know how to choose one over the other. All while some are based on a singular service, rather than the more broad travel companies online.
When stacking the main ones side by side, how do they add up? Here is a list of some of the more popular travel sites on the market right now. While it isn’t a comprehensive list, it is enough to get a good look at where travel sites stand.
UK based Airbnb is a full vacation rental booking site. People who are going to be out of town for a few days or an extended amount of time can offer their home/apartment as a vacation home for someone who wants a homier accommodation than a hotel or hostel. The price is usually about the same as different hotels would be, sometimes less.
They charge 9 % – 15%, split between the renter and the owner. This is a figure most people don’t understand, because the site advertises it as a 3% fee for the owner without mentioning the overall amount, plus the impact that has on the rent per night.
Last year, there was a major controversy attached to the site. A woman came forward after returning to her home and finding that it had been trashed by a drug addict that had used false information to get the apartment. This led to a great deal of damage and the arrest of the woman who had been staying there.
Shortly after that, another customer came forward, saying something similar had happened to him. He had returned to find his home badly (and strangely) vandalized, and meth pipes all over the house. Both filed complaints against the company, and faced what they said was less than helpful service from the CEO and customer relations.
However, this issue was resolved with all parties and the customer service staff was increased. They started coming up with better and more thorough ways to check up on the identities of renters and owners alike, and there have been many lets without problems.
This is an advertising site where you pay to post your ad for a rental. The renter can then contact you through the site to set up details, such as rate and payment. The site facilitates all contact, giving an extra layer of protection for the initial discussions, without giving out too many details to a stranger online.
Unlike Airbnb, transactions are not handled on the site. No fee is taken from the resulting exchange, but there is no security for payment, either. All responsibility is laid on the renter and owner, and any legal action has to be taken as third parties.
Just like with any classified site (VRBO is similar), there is a chance of scams. Just watch out for classic signs, such as people trying to send overpayment checks in exchange for you sending back cash, or them offering a sum much higher than is advertised.
Full Travel Planners
You have probably seen the commercials featuring a traveling gnome. The idea originated from a real prank from the 1980′s in Australia. Since then, it has become the very well known symbol for one of the most popular travel sites on the web, Travelocity.
The site lets you look at vacation packages, flights, hotels, cats and rail, cruises, travel deals, activities and features location spots. You fill in details, such as what you want to compare, your origin and destination, travel dates and passengers. It will then give you a list of options that can be narrowed down by price, quality and more.
I don’t know if anyone can think of Priceline without thinking of William Shatner as “The Negotiator”. But the site itself is very similar to Travelocity. You look at flights, hotels, cars, packages, cruises, activities and pricebreaker deals that work as additional discounts. These are basically last minute bookings from airlines, hotels and car rental agencies that need to fill slots so cut the price.
Priceline is better known for the “Name Your Own Price” feature, which lets you say what you will pay for an item. This is then accepted or rejected, and allows you to get things for less.
These are only a few out of a very long list. But as you can see, travel sites are getting better, more user friendly and more focused on making travel a less expensive hobby. Which is good news for those of us who love a nice trip, either domestic or international.
Jessy is the blogger and community manager for Dobovo, the travel resource of finding Kiev accommodation.