Livin’ is a nonfiction memoir that takes you on a no-holds-barred romp around the world. The book includes trips to exotic destinations, from the Arctic Circle in Alaska to the southern tip of South Africa and from the Amazon rain forest to the Great Wall of China—and many places in between. One of the draws of these tales is the fact that I’m not a biologist or a mountain climber, but an everyman. I don’t have a million bucks in the bank. I’m a middle-class deal-hunter who chooses his destinations wisely. That being said, I want to hip you to some of my favorite travel-deal websites and tour companies where I do my hunting.
1) Travelzoo.com – This is the top of Everest. Travelzoo is a 21st-century travel agent. It compares and searches through hundreds of air, hotel, vacation, group tour, and entertainment websites and comes up with a weekly Top 20 list. This list goes out in an email each Wednesday to their subscribers. Sweet fancy Moses, the deals I have found on this thing. Travelzoo has made me excited to wake up on Wednesdays. Wednesdays! Do give it a look. I’ve traveled countless times via deals I’ve found on here, both internationally and within the continental U.S. When you can find round-trip flights to Spain for under $300, or an international hotel/air package for less than your health insurance, you know you’ve found a great site.
2) Viator.com – This is a tour site that offers reasonable tours, day trips, and add-ons for almost every region around the globe. It is a perfect site for finding a tour or day trip to see a landmark destination when you have booked only hotel and air and are not traveling with a tour. It helps check off bucket-list items when you dig on a one-day tour but want to fly solo the rest of the time. I’ve used this site in Africa, for a two-day trip to Petra from Jerusalem, and all over Europe.
3) Smartours.com – This is a group tour site that packs it all into its trips. When you travel with group tours you’ll meet people on the road who take group tour after group tour. I’ve never heard a bad word about a Smartour trip. They offer first-class accommodations and a plethora of choices. Prices are a tad on the high side, but if you’re looking to check off multiple items during one trip out of the country, these people put together tours that shine. Within the Livin’ stories, I booked my South Africa and Vietnam/Cambodia trips through Smartours.
4) Worldspree.com – If price is your draw, this tour company shocks the nonbelievers. Both times I used this company, I could not fathom how they made money, considering all that was included. The India and China trips in Livin’ are Worldspree tours. (Chinaspree is the sister company.)
5) Tripmasters.com – This is the site to visit for great prices on air/hotel packages. When you want to step away from group tours and explore on your own, the deals here are phenomenal. The Peru and Egypt/Greece trips in Livin’ were booked through Tripmasters.