Now that summer is upon us, I thought I'd pass along a couple travel tips.
Seat Guru is a website (www.Seatguru.com) that provides complete information about the layout and services provided on specific airline flights. Just browse by carrier and airplane type (this information can be found on your itinerary) and you get complete details about the plane - preferred seats, seats to avoid, video layout, exit rows, etc.
While this might not be very useful on a regional jet (aka: flying school bus), on long flights the difference between a good seat and a bad seat is immeasurable.
Vacation Rental by Owner
This website, www.vrbo.com, offers a selection of condos, apartments, villas and homes for rent worldwide - from your basis Florida condos to 15th century Tuscan villas, and everything in between. There is lots of standardized detail about each property, allowing for easy comparison. Plus, prices are usually cheaper than going through a broker.
Tip: Consider renting an apartment for a week as an alternative to hotel rooms the next time your family travels to a major city.
There are lots of ways to search for discount airfares and hotel packages these days, but I find it hard to commit to a hotel sight unseen, or at least without a recommendation from a trusted friend. One way to get around problem is by using Trip Advisor, www.tripadvisor.com, a site dedicated to aggregating the opinion of avid travelers. While I don't usually rely on the opinion of anonymous web surfers, I do find the average opinion of several hundred to be generally on the mark.
If you look up a hotel under consideration, you can see the average rating, read a few reviews, and quickly come away with a sense of the quality and fit. They even have restaurant reviews and trip ideas, so it can be an excellent resource when visiting a destination for the first time.
Enjoy your summer!