Travel sites become more savvy

These websites predict travel fares, help you plan the best trip, find the best deals and even tell you which seat to select.

Beyond providing information on destinations and a convenient way to book, some travel websites are offering more innovative ways to help you plan the best trip or score the best deal. The sites offer all sorts of useful information such as free email alerts on changing fares, advice on which day to purchase your ticket and how to make the best seat selection.

While some of these websites are geared for U.S.-based travellers, Canadians will no doubt find them useful as well.

FareCompare.com
The site offers a comprehensive tool for flight comparisons. Airfares are constantly moving targets and the website provides regular updates and free email airfare alerts.

While you can’t actually book flights if you’re in Canada, you can monitor fares to and from Canadian airports. The website also provides information on fare trends, as well as advice for discounted first class airfare and cheap domestic and international airline tickets.

Farecast.com
After surfing various travel sites, you’ve finally found the best airfare. But should you book it now – or wait a few days and hope for an even better deal?

Farecast.com is designed to help answer such a dilemma. Touted as something of a crystal ball for travellers, Farecast.com uses historical data and price trends to forecast if your fare will rise or fall in coming days or weeks. (Note: Forecasts are available only on flights to and from designated U.S. airports.)

Here’s how it works: after you enter your itinerary, the website tells you its prediction and whether to buy now or wait until later. It also displays a 90-day fare history for a trip and reveals how confident it is in its prediction. On its website, the company claims that 74.5 per cent of its predictions are accurate.

If you decide to purchase tickets, you can then book directly with the airline.

Farecast was recognized as one of TIME Magazine’s “50 Coolest Websites” and one of the “Best Trip Planning Tools” by Business Week readers.

SeatGuru.com
If you’re looking for a source for airplane seating, in-flight amenities and other airline information, you’ve found the place.

Providing information on over 40 airlines (including Air Canada and WestJet), you can refer to an airline’s seat map before selecting a seat or use it as a guide to help you select your airline. Based on various features such as leg-room, degree of recline and location, seats are rated as “good,” “be aware” or “poor seat.”

You can also find out what amenities are offered such as audio, video, AC power, internet connections and food service.

AirlineMeals.net
While the thought of airline food may not make your mouth water, it can be useful to know what, if any, food service to expect as well as any special pre-ordered meals (i.e. vegetarian) an airline offers.

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