Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
JD Power has a new ranking of the best travel sites for bargains as decided by you, the traveler.
In first place, we have Booking.com, which is owned by the Priceline people. This site gets almost 400 million unique visitors annually. When you do a hotel search, it shows you the best rate at every hotel.
In second and third place, we have Hotwire.com and Priceline.com. Both are blind-booking sites and I book more travel on Priceline than anywhere else, principally for hotels and cars.
The traditional players like Orbitz.com, Expedia.com and Travelocity.com are all in the middle of the heap.
Two bargain sites for air travel didn’t get great scores: CheapoAir.com and
Meanwhile, two of my favorites, Kayak.com and
Mobissimo.com, did not place in the survey.
Why does this matter? A new Harris study finds the average American will leave nine days of vacation on the table this year. Don’t let this be you.
My thing is, I take a good amount of vacation. I believe it makes me a better employee. I’m just fresher for the next six weeks or so when I come back from vacation.
I know money still remains tight for many. Yet you can find a way to vacation without having to break the bank or having to stay tethered to home during a staycation. Popular options include going to state parks, renting a cabin, or even staying at an inexpensive motel.
As just one example, I was recently at a three-star hotel that I booked for $45 a night. It was a nice hotel and, no, it wasn’t one of my crazy Priceline or Hotwire deals. It was a deal I just happened to find while looking online, and I booked it at the hotel chain’s own website.
– Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog