Heading out on a business trip? Check out the latest in travel websites: They’ll help you find the best hotel deals, connect with other travelers, and even suggest things to do as you pass over cities along your flight route.
Hipmunk.com has one advantage over other flight search sites: It’s much more graphical. Once you tap in your departure and arrival cities, and enter the dates of travel, you can view a colorful graph that shows you the best flight deals. Hipmunk recently added integration to Google Calendar so when you plan out your flight, you can avoid double-booking with your weekly sales meeting.
2. Google Hotel Finder
In case you haven’t heard, Google has a new service for helping you find the best deal on a hotel. The main advantage is that the service is all map-based and removes any extra clutter. To use the finder, you just draw on the map to indicate the area where you want to stay. The Hotel Finder then shows you the best deals, along with a quick review summary. You can add potential hotels to a quick list. While you’re at it, it’s also worth checking out Google’s new Flight search engine.
Next time you fly, consider trying MondoWindow.com. The site shows you real-time information about where you are flying during the flight. So, if you’re travelling from San Francisco to Los Angeles, you can find out more information about Monterey as you fly over that city. The concept works well: If you plan on visiting a city that’s on your flight route, you can plan what you want to do.
4. Bing Travel
You may have already tried Bing.com, the popular search engine by Microsoft. The Bing Travel section has steadily added new features, some ideal for business travelers. One of the best features is an airfare estimator that suggests whether you should buy right away or wait a while, based on historical ticket prices. Deals on last-minute airfare and hotels are better than average.
Many sites purport to help you form social connections when you travel. Ajungo works directly with the social sites you’re already using—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others—to let your contacts know you are traveling, get advice about where to hold a business lunch, and even find out who will be traveling on the same dates. You can also post updates about how the social connections helped your business trip go more smoothly.
6. Nerdy Day Trips
Looking for something to do after your business meetings end? Nerdy Day Trips pinpoints places to visit on a map. The interface is fast and easy to understand. You can also add your own destinations—from parks to art museums—with a link for more info.