Believe it or not, there are other places to go on vacation besides Cabo San Lucas. Heresy! Heresy, I know, but give me time to redeem myself.
The three main factors in getting away for the weekend are budget, time and location. Sure you could get away for the weekend to Hoboken, but it really doesn’t have the charm. And we’d all like to go to Fiji, but ticket prices aren’t too competitive right now.
What Farecompare has done is created a tool that factors those two variables into one that displays the lowest price of tickets in a region against a Google map. It’s called a Getaway Map; you know you want to get away at some point this fall, you know you’ve got three hundred bucks and you know you want to go somewhere in Central America. Plug in your hometown to the root Getaway Map page, click on the Central America page and you’re set.
Farecompare takes the cheapest fare from a broad survey of fares from the present to deep into 2008, so to get the price you want you may have to tinker around with the software. There can also be small discrepancies in price; international tax isn’t always calculated correctly and it will sometimes take a few hours for new fares to load (I’ll explain that later).
Along those lines though, one nice thing you can do is set up a fare alert to tell you when cheap fares to any particular region go on sale — Toledo to Europe for example. And since the fares load early, you often know about the sale before it shows up on Expedia and you can call your girlfriend in a panic telling her to break open the piggy bank. Not that I have done that.
Point is, Farecompare is a very powerful tool for those who are flexible on vacation date, budget and location. Plug in a few sample destinations and give it a try. Between you and me, Farecompare is one of the only three travel websites that I check multiple times a day.