April 22, 2010 is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, a day to think about the environment and keeping it green. Since my own personal definition of saving green includes saving the green in in my wallet, here are my High Fives — the five best travel websites to help you save both the environment and your budget —
1. Cheap flights — Kayak.com does more than help you find an inexpensive flight for your family vacation, girlfriend’s getaway or romantic escape. Now that airlines are charging you $15 to $50 to check a bag, it can bump up the cost of an airline ticket from affordable to forget about it. Since not all airlines charge for the first bag, Kayak.com has thoughtfully added an airline fee chart to compare airline policies without having to visit each carrier’s site. And it’s not just baggage — meals, too, since some airlines feed you, and others don’t.
2. Best hotel deals — Hotelicopter is a new website for finding the best hotel deals. With a single click, Hotelicopter searches 30 travel sites in real-time, and tells you their rates and availability, along with photos and video. Unlike some other hotel sites, this one also lists bed and breakfasts. It’s also the first major travel site to integrate with Facebook Connect, so you can plan a trip together with your Facebook buddies.
3. Vacation home rentals – If you prefer to rent a private home or condo for your family reunion or ‘mancation’, then you should know about KnowYourTrade.com. It’s a directory that reviews more than 60 home exchange clubs, with their rates — both the prices and whether it is a three-star accommodation or not. If you’ve never swapped homes, this website has tips on how to, including how to save money.
4. Budget car rentals — We all know that rental car chains at airports are more expensive than companies just beyond an airport’s borders. The trick is finding them. CarRentalExpress.com does exactly that. This handy website lists car rental companies that sit outside expensive airport real estate, and are usually cheaper than the ‘brand name’ on-airport companies.
5. Find an affordable restaurant — MenuPages is a database of restaurants in top cities in the USA and Europe, including New York City, San Francisco, Paris and London. You can search by neighborhood, type of food, or price level, and see the menu, too. There’s also a free iPhone app.
On Earth Day 2010, you can save green everywhere, including the green in your wallet.