Essential Websites & Tips For Your Travels

Dec 07, 2010 View Comments by Steve

An indispensable bundle of our favourite web services that help our travels go more smoothly and help us grab the best bargains.

By Rail

  • Timetables & BookingYou can quickly get timetable and ticket information from The Trainline. Find the absolute best prices if you can be flexible on travel times using Fare finder. Use their ticket alert tool to be notified when advanced tickets first become available and are likely to be at the cheapest prices. Save an extra £1 and book through East Midlands Trains who don’t charge a booking fee and generally have all UK train journeys available.
  • Check for Delays National Rail Enquiries have a neat alert tool and gives you a text if your train is delayed. You can also manually check for delays and disruptions
  • London UndergroundPlan your tube journeys, check for delays and check ticket prices at Transport for London’s website. If you’re going to make tube trips with any frequency you’ll save a ton of money with an oyster card.

By Road

  • CoachesCoaches can often work out a lot cheaper than trains but be prepared for it to take longer. The most comprehensive UK coverage comes from National Express with some bargain airport runs available from Easy Bus.
  • TaxisAlthough there are specific taxi finding websites we still think your best bet is the easy to use local business directory at Yell.com.

By Air

  • Best Flight Deals Rather than scanning lots of different sites for flight deals try Kayak which is a neat, fast website that looks up your request against a very comprehensive worldwide database of flights include economy airlines. Indispensable if your planning an itinerary of flights. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on Kayak then you may want to try skyscanner or travelsupermarket.com
  • Check for Delays Worried about what’s going on at the airport and whether your flight is actually going to go on time then try the free service at Flight Stats

Hotels

  • Finding Good Hotels We found booking.com to be the easiest site to browse, read reviews and quickly get to the best hotels at the best prices. However Late Rooms came close and is another great hotel website. For hand picked boutique luxury try Mr and Mrs Smith and for baby friendly luxury why not try Baby Friendly Bolt Holes. For city hotels Simon Seeks, from the founder of travelsupermarket and moneysupermarket Simon Seeks offers really easy to understand expert ratings on hotels and a league table format so you can quickly see the best hotels at the best prices. This is an editorial site with expert reviews and rating and format I think works very well.
  • Review Sites The most popular review site normally means the best as it has a broad range of recent user opinions so the award here has to go to Trip Advisor. Look at the popularity rating and recent user comments as well as the very useful popularity index at the top right hand corner of each hotels trip advisor page. This tells you how popular a hotel is in comparison to other hotels in the area, a very useful measure indeed.
  • Bargain Quality Hotels Lastminute.com offers some top secret hotels at bargain prices. Basically its because these hotels don’t want to openly advertise the fact that they are selling off rooms cheaply. The thing is they are not that top secret and with the help of yoursecrethotel.co.uk you can make sure you know exactly the hotel you are booking. Just copy the title from lastminute.com and paste it into the search box on yoursecrethotel.co.uk and fingers crossed it will tell you exactly which hotel it is
  • Budget HotelsThe main budget hotel chains rarely show up in hotel comparison sites so your best bet is to head direct to their own sites the most popular being Travel Lodge and Premier Inn. Both offer very good deals if you book early.

And there’s more

  • Car hire Try Kayak, and travel supermarket for the best prices and availability on car hire.
  • Travel Insurance Make sure you get your free European Health Insurance by applying for a card here. Obviously this only covers you for medical treatment so you will likely still want some travel insurance and Money Supermarket normal comes up trumps here with some good deals.
  • Organise your Itinerary Trip it is a fantastic simple itinerary organising tool. Just forward any flight or hotel booking emails to a special email address and the TripIt bot will read them and generate an itinerary. Clever stuff.
  • Travel Diary Tell the world (or just your friends) about how you’re getting on during your big trip by writing an online diary for free. We love the simplicity of Off Exploring which also has a neat little iPhone app. You might prefer Travelpod the original and most popular travel blogging site with tons of features, but no mobile apps yet.
 

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