Find amazing deals on flights and never overpay for a hotel room ever again with these helpful new online travel tools.
The internet has made booking travel easy - but what's tough is wading through all the sites and prices out there. Here are several new tools that can help you find amazing deals on flights and hotel rooms.
Hopper is one of my must-have travel apps. Pop in a flight search and it can tell you the cheapest dates to fly, plus predictions on when to buy your ticket.
Hopper's new feature is called Flex Watch. This is for a more open-ended travel search. You pop in a variety of destinations and a range of dates and the app uses algorithms and big data to surface some amazing suggestions on where to go for cheap.
You can be as specific or as general as you want. You can type in a particular city, state, country or continent. When it comes to dates, you can say weekends up to a few months. Flex Watch is available on iOS right now and is coming to Android soon.
Pruvo has a simple mission - to make sure you never overpay for a hotel room, even if the price drops after you book it. This recently happened to me - I booked my hotel room weeks in advance, but close to the travel date, I realized that the price for the same room was about $50 less. I called the hotel and they were able to match the new rate, and I felt smart. But what if I didn't happen to stumble upon the new, lower rate before I checked in?
Pruvo takes care of the details for you. Just send them a copy of your hotel room confirmation and they will monitor for price drops. If the price does drop, they will guide you through the re-booking process, which usually is just a few clicks online. I haven't personally tried out Pruvo just yet but I love the idea, and it all makes sense. Hotel prices fluctuate frequently. Pruvo doesn't charge for its service - they just make a small commission when you re-book your room through them. The only thing they require is that you book rooms that you can cancel. This way you can re-book if the price drops.
Hipmunk Fly Club is a way to get notified about amazing flight deals from your home airport, and it works through Facebook Messenger. Sign up by starting a chat with their bot. It will ask you a few questions like where you travel from. Then, just sit back and wait for the deals to come through. You'll get a Facebook Messenger notification when Fly Club finds something you might like.
Recent deals it served me include LAX to Barcelona for $434 roundtrip and LAX to Tokyo for $418 roundtrip. It also tells you the savings off the average price, suggested dates and how long the deal might last.
You can also text Hipmunk whenever you want flight or hotel advice.
This is a fun new feature on the KAYAK mobile app. This is perfect for finding a great weekend getaway. All you have to do is open the KAYAK app on your phone (make sure you have the latest version installed) and shake your phone! KAYAK will search for a flight that is less than 6 hours and under $500 round trip. Shake Me Away focuses on fun destinations like Miami, Denver and Seattle. Try it out and see what you get!
BONUS: Check out the Robot Restaurant I saw while traveling in Tokyo.