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Great Escapes (on the Cheap)

Before you nix that family trip, go on a little fact-finding tour. There are deals to be had -- the secret is knowing where to look.
Find the Lowest Fares

There are so many travel Web sites it can be hard to know where to start your search. But each one has different strengths, so focus on the features that are most relevant to your family's vacation needs.

  • searches hundreds of online travel agencies -- after you plug in your destination and dates of travel -- for the least expensive air, rental car, hotel, and cruise prices.
  • specializes in packages that can save you big bucks when you book your flight, car, and hotel accommodations together.
  • offers deals on departures ranging from three weeks from the time of the search to three hours.
  • sends a "Top 20" e-newsletter listing the week's best deals.
  • earns you reward points that are good for air travel at any time (no frustrating blackout dates).
  • boasts savings such as AAA-rated four-diamond hotel rooms from $49.
  • compares car rental prices from Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, and Payless as well as local low-fee dealers at your destination.