On the Road Again: Sites to Help You Plan a Family Vacation

   By SheSpeaksTeam  Apr 03, 2012

Have you planned a vacation this year? School breaks and summer vacations are just around the corner, so for many of us, it's time to start planning a vacation to the perfect destination. Take the stress out of your holiday planning with a solid plan, a clear budget and lots of forward planning. With all the new sites and social media mashups there are some great new ways to get a friend's recommendation, book, and take a virtual tour of your destination. We all want to begin enjoying that vacation feeling so if you are still looking for a destination or just looking to learn more about what to do when you get there, stay tuned for some ideas.

We've put together a round up of some of the best sites to help you be inspired, plan, book and connect with others for your vacation. To be entered to win one of our giveaway prizes this week, simply submit a comment below sharing your favorite vacation spot or submit a review for a travel website that you love. Better yet, do BOTH and get two chances to win!

HomeAway:homeaway HomeAway is an online vacation rental marketplace. The site connects you with homeowners and property managers who advertise their properties as available to rent for travelers who want an alternative lodging option besides the basic hotel. For example, you can search "Costa Rica" on the site and get a list of properties, along with pictures and price quotes, that are available to rent by the day, week, or even month, depending on the duration of your stay. You can also read reviews on any lodging you're considering and see what other people who've rented the property have to say about their stay there.

Trip Advisor / Yelp These sites make it possible for you to read what other people are saying about restaurants, clubs, hotels, shopping centers, and everything in between. These sites cover destinations and cities across the country. Both sites effectively organize everyone’s recommendations into an easy-to-use format to help you plan your travel destination and also what to do (and what to avoid) when you get there.

Kayak / Hipmunk: hipmunkKayak and Hipmunk are both sites that make it much easier to compare prices for many different aspects of the travel process. While Hipmunk specifically focuses on modes of travel, such as planes, busses, and trains, Kayak offers price quotes for hotels, car rentals, and much more. A great feature of Kayak is that it offers trip managment tools to store trip plans in one place, set alerts for price changes on specific flight routes or hotels over a certain timeframe, and keep track of reward program points. Hipmunk's appeal comes with its layout. Hipmunk presents search results in a timeline, based on time of day, on one page. Moreover, it ranks the flights by price, schedule, and "agony", a score based on factors such as duration of the flight and number of stops.


Still looking for inspiration? These three sites take a slightly different approach to the standard vacation.

TravellersConnected.com: TravellersConnected is a great site that allows you to find and connect with people who share similar interests to you when it comes to traveling. The site also provides you with great deals for travel insurance and frequently updated safety tips for all destinations. There’s also a travel journal you can use and links to help you find and book cheap flights. On top of this, you can create photo galleries of the places you’ve visited and chat with people on the site’s forums.

Wanderlust:  This site puts the world’s most famous itineraries on your travel agenda. From Amelia Earhart’s flight around the world, to Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe, Wanderlust provides you with the routes of these explorers and gives you great travel destinations in the process. For example, use Wanderlust to help you plan for a vacation where you retrace the steps of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Homeexchange.com: List your home for an exchange with this easy to use site, and look for homes around the world that will open their doors for you and your family to enjoy a vacation where you really do live like a local. They've had some great reviews!


Now we’d like to hear from you! How do you effectively plan for a family vacation? Do you have a favorite travel destination? To be entered to win one of our giveaway prizes this week, simply submit a comment below sharing your favorite vacation spot or submit a review for a travel website that you love. Better yet, do BOTH and get two chances to win! Comments and reviews must be submitted by 6pm EST on April 9th, 2012. Good luck!




High Sierra Swerve Backpack
neck stash

Lewis N. Clark Deluxe Neck Stash
toothbrush sanitizer

Violight VIO200 Travel Toothbrush Sanitizer
travel comfort set

Lewis N. Clark Travel Comfort Set

The contest starts April 3rd, 2012 and ends April 9th, 2012 at 6pm EST. Must be a US resident. No purchase necessary. 


Make a Comment

noelrocs by noelrocs | LANCASTER, SC
Apr 08, 2012

My favorite vacation destination is Myrtle Beach, SC! Broadway at the Beach is one of my favorite places to hang out with my family/friends & grab a bite to eat & shop a little bit. Other fun stuff: Ripley's Aquarium, Carolina Opry, mini-golf courses, seafood restaurants, ice cream shops and the flea market. There are many hotels to choose from. I like the zoo and Alligator Adventure. Many places will offer for you to get in 1/2 price the next day with your ticket stub from the day before. With all of the fun stuff to do at Myrtle Beach everyone can enjoy themselves! You can just relax & enjoy the ocean & breezes or you can go out and enjoy all of the fun activities. I always use Trip Advisor before our trips--always--it offers photos & reviews from real people.

darlyn63 by darlyn63 | STERLING HTS, MI
Apr 08, 2012

It has been far too long since, I've had a real vacation. I am so over due, last time was in Jan 2003. Ready for one anytime...Work and everyday life, takes up most of my time.

stef42678 by stef42678 | LAS VEGAS, NV
Apr 07, 2012

My favorite place to go is definitely Hawaii and anywhere with a beach. For a local trip I love Sea World and Disneyland and use YELP a lot to plan trips and Expedia to book hotels and travel packages.

Brandywww by Brandywww | FAYETTEVILLE, AR
Apr 06, 2012

We usually go to Las Vegas and have a great time. Before going the last time I had broken my favorite travel purse, the zipper broke. The trip was fine, but I had to use a new purse that just didn't feel right. Wish I could find one just like the old one. It was a PERFECT design. Just a thought, I believe most purses are designed by men, they really don't know to design one. We didn't win anything in Vegas, but did have a good time. I've thought about purchasing one of those Lewis N. Clark Deluxe Neck Stash, but was always afraid I would still have to take it off going through security.

zenfulwoman by zenfulwoman | West Babylon, NY
Apr 06, 2012

My goal this year even it if it is a day, is Montauk. I just want to go and have the opportunity to be at the Atlantic Ocean. It is so serene and I know my kids love it.

cammih by cammih | SILOAM SPGS, AR
Apr 05, 2012

I tried to leave a review for a travel website but was redirected .. never found the "travel" review section .. :) ??

cammih by cammih | SILOAM SPGS, AR
Apr 05, 2012

We love visiting florida but one of our favorite areas is Navarre Beach. If you are looking for a quiet spot, away from a lot of hub bub and activity, this is great! We took our two girls and were able to fish, snorkel, swim walk the beach... Just peaceful and enjoyable! I also recommend using VRBO.com if you are looking for a great rental while you vacation. Much cheaper than hotel stays and you will have a kitchen and laundry!

babsywabs by babsywabs | Notre Dame, IN
Apr 05, 2012

Whenever my husband and I travel (which, sadly, isn't often!), I do a web search for the Visitors Bureau of the locale we will be visiting. There have been several times that I've discovered fun places to visit, or out of the way places to see, that I would not have known about had I not gone online. One other thing we've started doing - instead of eating at chain restaurants, we ask the hotel staff where THEY like to eat. We've been steered to some amazing eating establishments this way. In fact, I had the best Mexican food I've ever eaten in a strip mall in Richmond, Indiana after asking the desk clerk at our hotel where the locals like to eat!

CassandraP by CassandraP | Newport , NC
Apr 05, 2012

My family and I are going to New Orleans next week and instead of making the 181/2 hour drive, I booked our airplane tickets on Kayak back in November and got a round trip, non-stop ticket for $250! Such an awesome price, I couldn't pass it up!!

BonnieS by BonnieS | GRAND BLANC, MI
Apr 05, 2012

My fiance and I are going to Punta Cana, Domician Republic next month. I am so ready for rest and relaxation!

wizardewu by wizardewu | SHUTESBURY, MA
Apr 05, 2012

One of my favorite places to vacation is southern Utah. I love the red sandstone canyons.

Tannersmom by Tannersmom | BOISE, ID
Apr 05, 2012

Like to go camping with my family in the Idaho mountains.

Elliesings by Elliesings | West Orange, NJ
Apr 04, 2012

I love the website Family.Go.com It gives you a whole bunch of places to visit and then offers suggestions based on the ages of your kids. So it tells you what to do with babies, school age kids, tweens and teens. The suggestions are great and varied. There is also info about lodging, shopping and places to eat. We used this site to travel to Lancaster Pa and Stowe VT. The suggestions are spot on and my kids have had awesome vacations!!!!!

minnesotagirlinla by minnesotagirlinla | Rohnert Park, CA
Apr 04, 2012

We love road trips!! Little staycations but on the road. Since I'm still pretty new to LA every weekend feels like a vacation though as we explore new territory =)

elicabeta by elicabeta | Miami, FL
Apr 04, 2012

Since we live in sunny Florida, our favorite family vacation spot besides themeparks (i.e. DIsney World in Orlando), it would have to be the beach. We once went to Daytona Beach when I was a kid and I loved it so much that every time we road trip by, we'd make a detour there. What's great about the beach is that it's fun and you don't have to pay admission fee and exorbitant food prices. It's nice to listen to the waves pound against the sand while you laze on the soft sand and think of nothing but sun and warmth and people-watching.