The Sane Girl's Travel Guide to a No-Stress Summer Vacation
Stress-Free Travel on a Budget
If you're like us, you look forward to summer vacation like the paparazzi salivate over a Brangelina baby sighting. But you also obsess over the details. Will you get a good rate on a flight? Will you have a safe trip? Will lifting a pina colada be the most exercise you get (and will it go straight to your thighs)? We've compiled this travel survival guide so you won't stress while you're planning the damn thing and can truly relax when you finally hit the road.Score the Best Deals
You could get carpal tunnel syndrome browsing through the zillion travel sites. Save your index finger with these 10 smart picks.
For Last-Minute Types: Go to site59.com to save as much as 70 percent on a vacation up to three hours before departure. Click on categories like "Outdoors," "Luxury" and "under $250" for current specials.
For the Roadtripper: Worried about the cost of filling the tank? (Who isn't?) Go to gasbuddy.com for the cheapest gas stations along your route. Not looking forward to sitting in gridlock on the Interstate? Check out traffic.com for free customized traffic information that can be sent to your cell phone or e-mail address.
For the Comparison Shopper: Travelzoo.com and bookingwiz.com are more comprehensive than some of the other travel sites. They sometimes publish lists of airline Web specials, hotel packages, and the best deals offered by other sites.
Another tip for those in the know: Book your flight on a Tuesday. Airlines traditionally release their weekend Web specials on Tuesday, so reserve early that day to ensure you have the best selection of available flights. Translation: You can score a really cheap round-trip plane ticket.
For the Control Freak: If you hate being at the mercy of airline specials when planning your trip, set your own price by going to skyauction.com. You bid on a flight to a particular destination, like at priceline.com. However, with skyauction, you not only choose your destination, you also know what airline and departure time you are bidding on. Bonus: If your bid is accepted, you can often purchase up to eight tickets at the same price. The downside is that if it isn't, you may have missed your window for booking a cheaper ticket the old-fashioned way.
For the Adventurer: If you're off to parts (fairly) unknown and there's no Holiday Inn in sight, get traveler-reviewed hotel recommendations on zuji.com, mobissimo.com, or travelocity.com.
For the Cruiser: Sail the Chilean fjords or Greek isles for dirt cheap by going to worldwidecruises.com. Although you can book a cruise that fits your own itinerary, the site specializes in inventory from the major cruise lines.
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