How to Travel with Technology

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By Julie Kostelnik

More and more people are taking to the internet to make their travel plans, but with hundreds of websites boasting they have the best air fare, hotel deals, and car rentals this can be a bit overwhelming. Which website will truly be the most helpful and how can you prevent yourself from being tricked by deals that are not the lowest? There is a lot of information to sift through, but don’t worry, we’ve done it for you.

Stay off the beaten path. Try Airbnb 

If you are looking for rubbing shoulders with the locals and staying off the beaten path, check out This site offers an eclectic list of accommodations offered by local hosts in their homes. The savings are unbelievable and you can find unique places to stay like guest houses on large properties, cabins and even a treehouse in over 190 countries.

Airbnb Windmill


Rather than unpacking in a hotel, you can come home to a rustic cabin in the forest, a castle, an igloo, a lighthouse, or a modern home with structures you wouldn’t believe. The options are nearly limitless.

Not only can you stay in these homes, but you can become a host yourself. You can list your home, making some extra money while you’re away exploring the world.

Hosts post tons of pictures of their space, lists of their amenities, the price, house rules, and sometimes a little bit about them. You can read reviews from past visitors which helps in making the decision to go unconventional.

Dine at a chef’s home

Photography by Albert Law :

Photography by Albert Law : is a social media site, “a passionate community of food lovers and world travelers.” Here is your opportunity to have dinner at a chef’s house. The community stretches globally.

EatWith isn’t going to help you get a hotel room or a cheap plane ticket, but it can make your experience travelling unique. EatWith allows you to eat out with the feel of a private dinner party or family dinner.

This isn’t traditional dining. Rather than sitting down at a restaurant you can be taken around town by a local, have a meal in an art gallery, or get a personalized cooking lesson before you dig into some delicious new food.

The chefs are interviewed by the EatWith team and only four percent of all applicants are accepted so you know you’ll be getting a quality meal. There is a wide variety of chefs from all over the world. Some are professionally trained while others are ordinary people with a passion for food.

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EatWith Tel Aviv

You’ll be able to get a meal you may have never experienced before and won’t find in recipe books or restaurants. Try homemade creations, family recipes, or authentic ethnic cuisine. You can go by yourself or with a group. To create an intimate atmosphere you’ll be seated at the same table as everyone else.

The website allows you to filter events based on date, party size, if it’s a special occasion, price range and the style of cuisine. Once you choose an event you’ll be able to read a short biography of your chef, what’s on the menu, and what the host has planned. You can also contact the chef and see who else is going to the event you’ve chosen to get a sense of who you’ll be sharing your meal.

You may walk away with a new friend from across the ocean and a cooking technique that originated in another country. Meet people and dig into some incredible food through EatWith.

4 more travel websites to explore

For booking travel arrangements, try Kayak, Trip Advisor, Priceline and


KayakKayak is a travel site search engine allowing you to search and compare many travel sites at once for hotels, flights and car rentals. It is a subsidiary of The Priceline Group. For example, a quick search for a hotel will result in comparison rates between Priceline, HotelPlanner,, and Expedia all in one page.


TripAdvisor is a travel site used for planning and booking trips. What makes this site unique are the advice and reviews from other travelers. With over 315 million unique monthly visitors and 200 million reviews and opinions of more than 4.5 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions, this is a robust site for any travel planner.

Reviews often are accompanied by photos of the hotel rooms, menu items or other fun stuff.

TripAdvisor also has a handy tool called, “Things to do.” This allows you to search attractions, activities, night life, and shopping options around a location. Reviewers tell you how much it costs to get in, if it’s worth the price, and how it ranked in comparison to other attractions.

“The Very Best of Travel” section features the best hotels and beaches chosen by millions of travelers. See the 2015 Award Winners here.


Priceline offers travel options for hotels, flights, car rentals, and cruises. Their unique selling proposition is the “Name Your Own Price” tool.

This feature allows you to bid against other people for the best deals. After filling out some information, Priceline tells you how many other people have recently won their bids and the average price for the area and type of hotel or flight you’re looking at. You can choose to either name your own price and try and lower this average or continue on and compare prices already given.

What’s the catch? You can’t see what hotel you’re bidding for until after you’ve paid for it.

Another unique feature of Priceline is their “Express Deals.” This shows you instant deals in the location you want to travel to without going through the bidding process and can save you up to 55%.

Views of Capri, Italy. Photo: is another good travel reservations website for hotels, packages and flights. You may have seen their current ads featuring the zany “Captain Obvious.”

You might like their rewards program where after staying 10 nights at any of their 100,000 eligible hotels around the world you can get 1 night free. You can redeem that night at any point in the year without any restrictions.

Bargain hunters will like their “Best Price Guarantee.” promises to “price match up” until the day before check-in if you find a hotel cheaper than what they’re listing.

Going with a group?  Check out their Group Travel Service where you can input the number of rooms you need, types of rooms, group type (like family or class reunion, wedding, sporting event, etc.), star rating, amount you want to spend etc. You will receive quotes from hotels that match your criteria.

10 Dos and Don’ts of Travel Websites

No matter which travel site you use, it’s wise to be cautious when booking online, whether it’s your first time or your hundredth. Before taking a look at any booking or review sites, check out this list of dos and don’ts for planning a trip online.


1.  Check the details of the hotels you are comparing. One might be cheaper because it has fewer amenities or is in a bad location. Price should not be your only concern.

2.  Use online review sites like TripAdvisor to see previous guests’ experiences and recommendations. The reviews can help save you from getting the loud room or booking a hotel with a cleanliness issue.

3.  Contact hotels and airlines. Sometimes you can actually get a better deal by speaking to a hotel or airline directly rather than going through a website or travel agency. Also, it’s a good idea to check that the hotel room you’ve booked is actually available and not a mix up on the website reservation system.

4.  Use your AAA or other affinity card to get discounts.

5.  Make sure freebies are actually free. That complimentary breakfast might just be for loyalty members. It’s always a good idea to confirm the information you’ve been given.

6.  Read the fine print. Don’t trust all price-match guarantees. They might have stipulations, an extra fee, or tax you’ve glossed over.


7.  Believe everything you read about the company. Some businesses will talk up their hotels or airlines while bashing their competitors on review websites to trick you into booking with them. It’s best to skip past any reviews that seem too good to be true or overly harsh.

8.  Assume the lowest price is actually the lowest price. A lot of these websites say they’ve got the best discounts and deals, but that is not necessarily true. Always do additional research and compare with other travel websites. Giving the hotel or airline a call first is a good idea too. Sometimes they have the best deal.

9.   Believe everything you read on the site.

10.  Do your own homework.

With summer quickly approaching, now is a good time to start browsing some of these websites for a unique place to stay, a new dish to try, and a cheap plane ticket to get you to the destination of your dreams. Begin building and customizing a vacation that fits you.











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