We all know about how some awesome online sites have revolutionized travel. But there’s a new crew of travel startups taking flight and shaking up the industry even more. These startups help you book flights, find the right hotel room, assemble an itinerary and save money. Here we list, from A to Z, with a lot of blanks in between, of sites that will help you land amazing vacations at better prices than ever.
Adioso: A startup that lets cost-conscious travelers who have a flexible idea of what they want to do on vacation see if there are deals available. If you search for something like, ‘New York to Bangkok in September for 11 days’, the results will provide a few itineraries and prices. If it’s too high, you can save your search and receive email alerts when prices drop. If you’re not dead-set on going to a specific place, Adioso could help you find a great deal on a unique vacation.
Bag2go: Fewer things are more dreaded than arriving at your destination after a long flight only to have your baggage lost or left behind. But Airbus recently unveiled the ‘Bag2Go’, a ‘smart bag’ equipped with GPS, RFID and 2G mobile data capabilities. Bag2Go lets you track your bag’s progress, so you can ensure it made it into the aircraft’s belly. The device turns off for the flight, so you won’t be breaking any rules pertaining to electronic devices.
BlackJet: Filling the space between private jets and flying commercial, Blackjet with its ‘Uber for private jets’ business model has jets with anywhere from six to fourteen seats onboard. With flights available in and out of Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Florida and Seattle, looking to book your trip on the fly is no worry as there is an iPhone app for that.
Find My Itin: Travel planning is a major pain point for 49 percent of travelers, and travelers spend on about 29 days visiting 20+ websites during the research and planning phase. It is a time-consuming process and often difficult to find a fully baked itinerary that connects the dots. The new site integrates hashtags into travel planning to help you craft itineraries based on three pillars: inspiration, itinerary creation and sharing. With hashtags penetrating mainstream culture, this could make for an interesting way to discover new places to go.
HotelTonight: Launched in 2011, HotelTonight helps people find last-minute hotel deals. But the company recently went one better with its price guarantee — if you find a better rate for the same hotel on a given night, HotelTonight will match that price. And to piggyback off the rise of the visual web, HotelTonight has a ‘Snap Your Stay’ feature that offers money to guests who take photos of various hotel features in their hotel and brings more compelling imagery within the app.
Peek: Ruzwana Bashir is revolutionizing travel planning with Peek.com , which is part travel agent, part tour guide. Peek curates high-quality activities, displays them in a visually beautifully interface and makes them easily bookable on whatever device you’re using. You can look for activities based on a number of categories — romantic, under $100, adventures, off-the-beaten-path, tours and more, or you can see what local celebs, chefs, musicians and travel editors note as must-sees in Peek’s “My Perfect Day” section of itineraries.
Routehappy: Launched last spring Routehappy helps you book the best flights based on the whole in-flight experience, and each route has an expert. The startup’s data team has compiled a comprehensive database to find out seat layouts, plane types, travel time and amenities for any flight in the world, combining them all into an overall ‘happiness score’.
TheSuitest: There are hundreds of thousands of hotels around the world, so it can be hard to find the right one for your trip. TheSuitest helps you find the one through a vast array of filters — Indicate the dates you’re traveling, the amenities you’re seeking, your budget and more, and TheSuitest will give you a list of eligible and swanky rooms, enabling you to compare easily.
Tingo: When you’re planning a trip and trying to stick to a budget, there’s no worse feeling than finding out the hotel you booked for $220 a night is now running for $180 a night. Tingo, which lets you book most of the hotels found on established travel sites, will automatically rebook your room at the lower rate and give you a refund if the price drops. The difference will be refunded to your credit card shortly after your stay, and there is no limit to the refund.
Triposo: Ditch the Lonely Planet guides, Triposo’s Android and iOS apps serve up custom, dynamic recommendations for things to do and places to go — museums, shopping, parks, beaches, restaurants, clubs and more — based on your location, the time, the weather and your personal preferences, helping people experience destinations in a new way. Triposo has up-to-date information, detailed maps and data-driven recommendations for more than 15,000 destinations in 200 countries.
Triptease: Amazing photography is a central component of daily life, and along with it, travel. With that in mind, Triptease is setting out to revamp the travel review and discovery system with lust-worthy imagery. People have emotional reactions to stunning photos, and when you’re planning an itinerary, seeing a glimpse of someone else’s breathtaking experience in a place can be the difference between a destination being a ‘must-see’ and an ‘if we have time’.
Zaptravel: A digital travel agent, Zaptravel uses a semantic search engine to scull through its database (10 million flight routes, 2,000 destinations, 10,000 trip inspirations, 15,000 events, 400,000 hotels and 10 million hotel reviews), then sources the best price from several providers. Because so much travel planning time is spent comparison shopping — and time is money — Zaptravel scores every deal against prices for alternate weekends, similar hotels, favorable guest reviews, events at the destination during your visit, directness of flights and other criteria.