Online Travel Sites

Reagan National Airport

Online travel booking is easier than ever. And for us lucky folk in Washington DC with three airports (Dulles, Reagan, and BWI) there are flights everywhere and lots of deals. Below are some useful travel sites.

Travel Reservations

Travelocity – early leader in online reservations with roots back to CompuServe and AOL. Now known for the gnome commercials.

Orbitz – developed by airlines in response to Expedia and Travelocity.

ITA – uses the search system that powers Orbitz, but allows far more complex trips.

Priceline – offers standard purchases or allows you to name your own price for flights, hotels, and car rentals. Pitchman is now William Shatner.

Expedia – started by Microsoft, bought by Ticketmaster, now independent.

Hotwire – owned by Expedia. Unique in that you purchase hotels based on location and star rating. You only find out the name of your hotel after the purchase.

Kayak – travel search aggregator. Kayak does not directly sell tickets, but links to all the sites that do and makes a small amount of money on click throughs.

Bing Travel– recently renamed from, now owned by Microsoft. This site has flight price trends and predictions to help you decide if you should buy or wait for a better fare. It’s not perfect has helped me on a couple of occasions with suggestions to wait for a better price.

Special Airlines

JetBlue and Southwest airlines are not part of the above travel reservation sites. You can only book with them directly.

Other Resources

The Savvy Traveler Blog – deals and news by Rudy Maxa who often discusses travel on WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Show on NPR in DC.

Flyertalk – forum for frequent flyers to discuss deals and reward programs. This is where serious deal seekers go to discuss optimizing their points and airline status.

Liftopia – discount ski lift tickets and ski hotel deals.

TripBuzz – find local activities.

Have other travel resource recommendations? Email me to let me know.

6/12/16 UPDATES: Updated ITA Link and added TripBuzz, thanks to Phoebe.

Holiday Shopping Deals Online

Deal Sites

It’s easier than ever to find good shopping deals online. The biggest sites that aggregate online deals are:

These sites have forums where people discuss Hot Deals, Black Friday Deals, Freebies, and Coupons. This is where people go to find amazing deals.

Shopaholics also enjoy the innovative site, which sells one item a day until it is sold out. Occasionally there are “woot-offs” where they sell multiple items sequentially over a 24 hour period, each until they sell out. During a woot-off, they might sell what they call a “Bag of Crap” (BOC) which is 3 random things for $15. It could include a new Xbox 360 or it could be pens. Oddly, people on the slickdeals and fatwallet forums get very excited about the BOCs. I guess it appeals to people who like to gamble.

Some lesser-known deal sites include:


As noted in an earlier post, you don’t want to get ripped off at a big box store when buying electronics. Look at Newegg, Amazon, and for their deals. And whatever you do, don’t buy any cables from Best Buy. Best Buy and most retail stores sells HDMI cables for $100 that can be bought for $5-10 from

There is also no need for a warranty from Best Buy, as the items are normally insured by the manufacturer. The most common failures are discovered immediately, when you can still bring the item back to the store for a return.

If you want to shop locally in the D.C. area for electronics, the best store is MicroCenter in Fairfax, Virginia. They have knowledgable staff and a wide selection of computers, electronics, software, game systems, and TVs for reasonable prices.