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Top Tips for Planning Your Vacation Online

Planning the perfect vacation can seem daunting at times. Online travel planning can save you time and money, if you know what to look for and how to find it. To help you get started, here are some favorite tips and web sites of Stephen Kaufer, CEO of TripAdvisor,, the award-winning search engine for travel.

  * Start with a dedicated travel search engine - Traditional search engines
    just don't help much when trying to plan a vacation online.  Type "New
    York" at any of the popular search engines and you'll be overwhelmed
    with a lot of useless information.  Instead, try to
    make quick work of finding the best information out on the web on where
    to go, where to stay and what to do.  TripAdvisor's focus on providing
    relevant, insightful information for the leisure traveler makes it the
    perfect starting point for vacation planning.

  * Use specific search terms - When you're searching for information on a
    site, be as specific as possible. For example, if you're planning a trip
    to New York City, don't just type in "New York".  You will get much
    better search results if you are more specific with your terms, such as
    entering: "Plaza Hotel New York", or "Guggenheim New York".  This will
    eliminate many useless search results and bring back more of the
    information you are looking for.

  * Get inspired for an adventure - There are a number of excellent travel
    sites that focus specifically on adventure travel.  For plenty of
    inspiration, as well as the ability to research specific tour packages,
    check out,, and  All have great pictures and interesting content to
    inspire the couch-potato in all of us.

  * Take the time to fill out that profile - Many sites offer
    personalization features that automatically refine the information
    brought back to you. However, these personalization features only work
    if you fill out the profile. At, for instance,
    suggested articles, as well as hotel and attraction listings, are sorted
    according to your individual preferences.  So if your preference is to
    stay in small, luxury hotel, make sure you let the website know about
    it!  Other sites, such as and, use the same approach to provide specific
    vacation recommendations.

  * Check out the bulletin boards - Nothing beats word of mouth for helping
    you make a travel decision. If you want the scoop on what others are
    saying, check out some of the web bulletin boards. There are many
    valuable nuggets of information up on some of these sites. Some of the
    better travel postings are at, and

  * Bookmark or print out your research - There's nothing worse than
    spending hours researching a trip and then forgetting where all the
    information resides. If you can't print out all the websites, be sure to
    bookmark the valuable information you find. You can add a great
    book-marking tool called Backflip to your browser by going to and clicking on "get tools".  Backflip allows you to
    save your favorite web pages and then share your bookmarked pages with
    friends and family.

  * Shop around for the lowest airfare - We all know that the same ticket on
    the same flight to the same city has many different prices.  How to get
    the lowest one?  Certainly, advance purchasing and a Saturday night stay
    help a lot.  But it is still worth shopping around.  Try and for basic fare shopping for
    airfares, hotels and rental cars. You should also try one of the new
    price search engines like or that scour
    dozens of other sites for the best fares, including the internet-only
    specials that many airlines offer.

  * Consider a package deal - Often, the best way to save money on a
    vacation is to combine the airfare, hotel and even a rental car into a
    single package. While it used to be the case that only the travel
    agencies knew of these deals, now many are advertised on the web.  Try, or for some
    interesting deals.

  * Bid for it - The ability to name your own price for an airline ticket
    can be very cost-effective  ...  if you are flexible in your travel
    plans.  In exchange for not knowing when during the day you will be
    traveling, and whether or not you will have a stopover somewhere ...
    Priceline can save you some real money.  First, spend some time
    researching the lowest published fare, either with a search engine or on
    a mainstream travel site. Once you have found the best price, you can
    safely make a bid.  But remember, it is a commitment to buy the
    ticket(s) if your bid is accepted.  Finally, auctions are a new and
    interesting way to buy a vacation.  Check out for
    some interesting traditional auctions, as well as where
    the price declines the longer the ticket goes unsold. Feeling lucky? Buy
    it cheaper tomorrow ...  unless someone else buys the lastone today!

  * Look for reputable sites - And finally, a word of warning.  Anyone with
    Internet access can put up a web site offering great deals to imaginary
    places, and spellbinding accounts of staying at mansions that don't
    actually exist.  Just because it is written, doesn't mean it is truthful
    or valuable. In terms of getting travel advice, always look for a second
    opinion.  In terms of buying a ticket or vacation package online, buy
    from a reputable source. Check out the "About Us" page that most web
    sites have, and look for signs of a serious company (i.e. a public
    company, or venture funded).  If you are buying a ticket, make sure the
    site posts an 800 number for customer support.

TripAdvisor's search and directory services mine the wealth of the Web for the most relevant and personalized travel information. TripAdvisor enables consumers to more quickly and easily plan where to go, what to do, and where to stay on their next vacation. TripAdvisor is a privately held, venture-backed company based in Needham, Massachusetts. For more information on this topic or for a tour of the site, visit

   For more information, contact:
   Suzy Spivey
   TripAdvisor, Inc.
   781.444.1113, x 227

SOURCE: TripAdvisor

Contact: Suzy Spivey of TripAdvisor, Inc., 781.444.1113, ext. 227,