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

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

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!

 

review

backpack

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. 

GOOD LUCK!

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  • dreampeddler By dreampeddler
    04.03.12  

    My husband and I have twin baby boys ( 1 yo) and we have yet to take them on a vacation! We have yet to be away even one night from them so clearly we are due for a vacation of some kind!!!

  • dovefiend By dovefiend
    04.04.12  

    I love Myrtle Beach. We go twice a year. It is cost effective and the kids love it. There is something for everyone to do. If you are on a very tight budget - there are many things that can be done for free.

  • rstone215 By rstone215
    04.04.12  

    My husband and I have vacation buddies. This is the first tear that we are bringing our kids. We all love Jamaica, so that is where we are taking them.I am soooo looking forward to it! I know that the adults will have a great time, and I'm sure the kids will have a blast!

  • pchip28 By pchip28
    04.04.12  

    We our lovers of the beach. We love going to the shore and enjoying all the local activites--beach-fishing-kayaking-biking! Its all about enjoying the outdoors!! LBI--here we come

  • jesicaj1 By jesicaj1
    04.04.12  

    We are going to Disney this year and taking our kids for the first time. We'll see how it goes!

  • PaulaCM By PaulaCM
    04.04.12  

    My mother always told me i had to vacation with a man before I could marry him. so, we took a cruise to the Caribbean together 6 months into our relationship. A few years later, he proposed to me on our second cruise! Now we want to take one last vacation, just the two of us, before we start a family! Maybe another exotic cruise?

  • tmclark319 By tmclark319
    04.04.12  

    My husband & I took our daughters (4 & 7) to Disney in January. What a drive! Never Again! Next time we will save a little longer and fly.

  • NAvery1 By NAvery1
    04.04.12  

    I like to go to Zehder's Splash Village in Frankenmuth Michigan. Its an indoor water-park so we can enjoy it anytime of the year. Also Frankenmuth is a German based town so there are so many fun things to do and look at. With 5 kids we are always trying to find the best deals and packages on our vacations. We find travelzoo.com a good website with good deals for vacationing.

  • tmclark319 By tmclark319
    04.04.12  

    We are also planning a trip to TN to see family this summer. I've never heard of Hipmunk until this post. I think I'm in love! Using that and the Southwest site (since they don't publish rates anywhere else) I should be able to get us great priced tickets. Thanks!

  • AnAmericanHousewife By AnAmericanHousewife
    04.04.12  

    I can speak to the ease of using HomeAway. I first used them last year to plan a family Spring Break trip to the Gulf Shores area of Alabama. It was easy to search for the perimeters that I wanted whether it be price, number of rooms we needed or location preferred. We contacted the owner direct through the site, followed through with contracts and payments and everything went smooth. This year I used the site again to try to book the same place but alas, they were already booked for that week. It's a site I have bookmarked though and will use again.

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