As a new year arrives, many of us take a moment to think back on where our travels took us over the past year and begin to ponder where we would like to go in the next one. Planning a fun and successful family vacation is a top priority. There are many decisions to make beyond where you are going. Like, how are you going to get there, what are you going to do, and are there any hip, celebrity chef restaurants you don’t want to miss. Here are 7 travel planning websites that will guide you in making some smarter choices in crafting your family’s next vacation.Black Sand Beach Hawaii by Sara Kendall

Looking for a house to rent? Want to stay in a tree house? Yes, you can book a tree house in places from Costa Rico to Hawaii on this site. Search by destination, dates, and number of guests. Choices will pop up including photos and descriptions. Find a place you like, contact the host for questions if needed, and then book it. You will find unique worldwide properties, from city apartments to country villas.

The site guides you to buy airplane tickets at the best possible time. It compares tickets from more than a hundred sources. It will analyze historical data to predict whether the price you see on the screen is likely to rise or drop in the coming week. A big, green Buy Now icon will appear if the analysis tells you it’s the right time to make a purchase. It has a 75% accuracy rate, which is better than going about it blindly.

 Isle of Palm by Sara Kendall

Fly or Drive Calculator 

Use’s fly or drive calculator to determine the cheapest way to reach your destination. Simply put in your trip, driving, and flying information and the site gives you an estimate by using sources from AAA to Google Maps.

Thinking about a road trip? Simply upload your destinations and it will map out what you should see. Browse for ideas from attractions, accommodations, entertainment, and restaurants. It gives you some fun points of interest to make your ride on the road more entertaining. If you are heading through the Georgia Mountains, you can stop and have lunch at Goats on the Roof, which is a deli that has live goats grazing on the roof. Kids can feed the goats too.

Blowing Rock by Sara Kendall

A hotel review website that strives to provide the true reality of hotels around the world. They have people go in take photographs and give you the facts about hotels. Look through their Photo Takeouts to see the difference between hotel marketing photographs verses what they have discovered. You will be amazed how misleading photographs can be. It will make you think twice next time you are looking through a hotel’s marketing piece.

With more than 260 million unique monthly visitors, I’m guessing you have been here, but it’s a tried and true mainstay in travel reviews. It’s a great source for honest opinions from travelers just like you. Not sure what to stay, what to go, or which restaurant to choose, look here to give you some guidance.

Charleston Battery by Sara Kendall

Need some help deciding where to go? Use a panel of six sliders to help determine your next vacation by selecting choices like relaxing or active and beach or mountain. The site will automatically give you a set of best matches tailored to your selections. This fun site might give you an unexpected destination your family wasn’t thinking about.


  1. whywasteannualleave Reply

    I can’t even remember the last time I booked a holiday without looking at TripAdvisor – not sure there’s been one in the last decade!! Now I have a few more sites to check out too! Useful post!

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    • Sara Kendall Reply

      Timeshares are a good way to travel especially ones that allow exchanging to other destinations.

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