Prepare your holidays without going through the services of a travel agency or a tour operator? More and more French people are taking the plunge, helped by a multitude of websites facilitating their design from A to Z of their next holidays. If you need a little time and organization, this house planning can often make great savings, and especially to concoct a stay tailored. A brief, non-exhaustive overview of the most practical sites, step by step.
● Find your destination
If you do not really have a destination idea, some tools can help you sort first. Direction Google Flights: The home page allows you to “discover trips” according to your dates and length of stay. It is possible to refine depending on the type of vacation sought: rather beach, city discoveries, nature … Google Flights advance suggestions based on the price of airline tickets. For June, it proposes Montreal 410 euros in direct flight, or Bangkok 440 euros with a short stopover. Need a wider choice? Just click on the world map to see the best prices for hundreds of cities. Note that. Beware, however, of bad weather surprises. Better to check that the selected country is not in full monsoon during your holidays!
● Find the best flights
Do not expect to do good business starting in July and August and during the holiday season: promotions during these periods are almost nonexistent. Only way to lower prices, agree to make one or more (long) stops. A comparator like Sky scanner makes it possible to find the best combinations.
Outside of these black periods, the traveler’s best friends are airline newsletters, as well as their Facebook pages. This is the most effective way to be alerted to promotional offers, which often only last a few days. Air France organizes very regularly flash sales of 24 to 72 hours on a selection of destinations.
Another option, Pirate Travels. This site, which has more than 6 million fans on Facebook, finds the best plans to go for a broken price. But to take advantage of the best deals, it’s better to be very flexible on your holiday dates, do not be afraid to make a stopover, and be prepared not to go back and forth from France. Voyages Pirates thus found tickets for Australia with Qatar Airways for only € 520 in June, leaving Paris … but returning to Birmingham.
Do you have doubts about the reliability of an airline? You can see many reviews on What the Flight. The Flight Report site is composed of flight reports, sometimes extremely detailed, with photos to support. Another way to check the quality of service and comfort of a company.
A golden rule: always buy tickets directly on airline sites. Comparators can find interesting offers, but they too often contain hidden fees that can significantly increase the bill. In addition, in case of problems, communication with the company will be much easier without intermediary.
To avoid being left 12 hours next to the bathroom door, the Seat Guru site allows you to consult the seating arrangement in your plane. Each place is rated according to its comfort. Attention, often, the most advantageous places (those next to the emergency exits) are paying.
● Organize your stay
What to do once on the spot? If they do not dispense with the reading of a good paper guide and the consultation of blogs “logbooks”, the forums of travelers make it possible to work its route and to enrich it with the suggestions of the Net surfers. The Routed forums are a must, as is the very rich and active Travel Forum. Their members will not hesitate to sound the alarm if your schedule is too busy, or if you plan too many nights in a place with little interest …
The TripAdvisor app also has great ideas for excursions and tours, noted by users in the “Activities” tab of a city or region. Original museums, unknown neighborhoods, beautiful hiking … the app teems with suggestions often absent from the guides, lack of space.
● To stay
Regarding hotels and bed and breakfast, it is better to read a maximum number of guest reviews to avoid unpleasant surprises. The most reliable are on Booking and Hotels.com: to write its opinion, the user must have made a stay, booked through these plants, in the establishment concerned. What strongly limit false comments … If you opt for Asia, turn to Agora or Rakuten Travel (for stays in Japan) to more comprehensive databases than their Western competitors. Once the choice is made, it is sometimes more advantageous to book directly on the site of the hotel, which can offer special discounts.
Airbnb and its competitor Homestay are dedicated to those who prefer to rent an apartment or a house rather than to take a hotel room. An often economical option for families and friends. Solo travelers and couples can opt for a homestay, for a more “local” experience. Again, read the traveler reviews carefully and talk to the host before making your choice.
● Move on the spot
Is it better to take the train, the bus, the car or an internal flight to go from the capital to this charming seaside town? The Rome2rio website lists all the means of transport possible to go from point A to point B, the required travel time and its approximate price. For a couple, going from Lisbon to Faro, Portugal, is more economical by train than by car, for an equivalent journey time (about 3 hours).
Are you preparing a road trip? Pay attention to the Luxury Indonesia travel time between each of your stages. This is particularly true in North America, where what may seem “next on the map” actually requires 5 to 7 hours of driving … To save you from spending your vacation driving, you can use the option Directions from Google Maps to calculate average travel time between two places. Another solution is the Road tripper’s website, which also reports hotels, attractions and points of interest on the road. This site is however particularly centered on the United States.