Benefit from recent developments in cheap travel

Business & entrepreneurship, Internet, Tips for saving money

Here’s a spate of new sites and services to keep an eye on (or use, if you’re lucky enough to live in one of the cities they serve):

  • : figure out the best way to get around a new city by foot, bus, or metro. Currently in beta release, HopStop currently serves San Francisco, NYC, Boston, and DC, with other cities coming soon. Like Mapquest, you simply enter in your current location and destination, only this site tells you how to get there by foot and public transportation, not by car!
  • Buy your airplane ticket now, or wait and hope the price drops? Figure it out using : Good news if you live in Seattle or Boston. This company just launched a public beta a few days ago to serve these two cities (though it plans to include all domestic airports by year-end).

    If you’ve ever wondered whether you ought that plane ticket now now or wait ’til later and hope for a price drop, Farecast will help you make that decision. The company uses complex modelling algorithms to predict trends in airfares and advises you whether to wait or buy now, along with confidence levels about the accuracy of its prediction.

    The downside is that only two cities are being served at the moment, and low-cost airlines like Southwest and JetBlue aren’t included. They offer a dizzying array of graphical analysis and displays (which might need to be simplified for the average consumer). Another site offering related services is FareCompare.

    Both these websites are pretty new, but it’s always nice to see another service that creates better-informed consumers.

  • Traveling to Europe? Consider : This Irish airline serves several smaller airports all across Europe, much like Southwest does for the US. In fact, it’s even more profitable (22% margins) despite its low-cost emphasis. Not only that, but it aims to offer to everyone in the near future, and it’s not too far-fetched: 25% of its passengers already fly free. When we were living overseas, Ryanair would offer promotions like flights from Ireland to anywhere in Europe for 1&#8364.

    The way Ryanair operates is to charge a small fee for amenities (like food, checking in baggage, etc.), and to drastically cut any costs and unnecessary features from its planes that it can. It also offers advertising on the side of its planes to large corporations (sort of like an Internet model, where content is free because advertising pays.) Other low-cost airlines in Europe include and . Just in case you get tired of using a pass.

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