Kiplinger on Travel: Best cruises, airlines, and booking sites for your travel dollar
Sunday, November 16, 2014

 By Miriam Cross and Kaitlin Pitsker

 
 Who doesn't love a getaway? But traveling can be expensive - and daunting as you try to find affordable airfare and accommodations, plan the perfect trip and deal with all hassles of getting to your destination.
 
  To take the stress out of your next vacation, we've rounded up several resources to help. Below you'll find Kiplinger's Personal Finance's picks for the best booking sites for flights, hotels and vacation rental properties, the best airlines, the best hotel loyalty programs and the best cruises. 
 
With these resources, you're sure to get the best value for your travel dollars.
 
  Booking site
 
  Hipmunk ranks airline search results using an "agony" filter - top results have the best combination of lowest price, shortest duration and fewest stopovers - or by price or schedule. Hotel searches use the "ecstasy" filter, which ranks by price, amenities and reviews.
 
  Airline for on-time arrival
 
  Delta Air Lines has the best track record for sticking to its schedule. Over the past year, 86 percent of its flights were on time.
 
  Airline for baggage 
handling
 
  Virgin America gets your bags to your destination more often than any other airline. In the past year, the airline has lost only 1.21 bags per 1,000 fliers.
 
  Hotel loyalty program
 
  With more than 1,100 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries, it's easy to rack up and redeem rewards with Starwood Preferred Guest. Members can often earn a free weekend night in as few as three stays. Prefer smaller, boutique hotels? At Kimpton Hotels, loyalty members receive free Wi-Fi and other perks.
 
  Vacation rental Website
 
  Like other rental sites, Airbnb displays houses and apartments for rent worldwide. But it expands your options to private and shared rooms. It also includes user reviews and holds your payment in escrow until your reservation begins.
 
  Cruises  For families
 
  Disney Cruise Line caters to the whole family, with kids' clubs and activity centers plus live musicals and poolside movies.
 
  For value
 
  Celebrity Cruises offers luxuries that include recently updated dining options and spacious staterooms without the luxury price tag.
 
  For luxury
 
  All cabins on Seabourn's small ships are suites. And plenty of extras, from cocktails to on-deck mini massages, are included. There's a no-tipping policy on board, so you can enjoy the frills without reaching for your wallet.
 
    For more on this and similar travel topics, visit Kiplinger.com.
 
This article was printed in the November 16, 2014 - November 29, 2014 edition.
 

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