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2009 Best List: Travel

Find flights, lodging and cruises for less

With these tips, you can score a deal in every travel way possible.


Southwest lets you book a flight, change your ticket, check two bags, and grab a snack and a nonalcoholic drink for free. With other airlines, you can easily spend well over $100 on that stuff.


The best one-stop travel-booking site, KAYAK.COM searches hundreds of travel sources for the cheapest prices on plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, vacation packages and cruises.


For a free stay, swap homes with other travelers. Join HOMEEXCHANGE.COM for $100 a year and set up as many home swaps as you can swing with any of the network’s 29,000 listings.


Search for stays at more than 85,000 properties on HOTELS.COM. It offers the best bargains with weekly specials, including last-minute deals. And frequent travelers can earn a free night.


COSTA RICA has pristine beaches, exotic rain forests and plenty of deals for your dollars. Over the past year, the dollar has gone up 5% against the country’s currency. Many locales accept greenbacks.


Foundering cruise lines are offering great deals to lure travelers aboard their ships. Choose your voyage on CRUISECOMPETE.COM, where more than 300 travel agents bid for your business.

Best Guru for Frugal Travel

BOB JONES, the “FrugalWiz” of, puts his 45 years of travel experience to work for the budget-conscious masses. He sifts through several thousand deals from travel sites, such as Travelocity, Orbitz and Expedia, then finds the top three to include in his site’s newsletter each week. For example, in mid October, he dug up a $159-per-person deal for a four-day, round-trip cruise on Carnival in November from San Diego with stops in Mexico. To subscribe, put your e-mail address in the “optional newsletter” box on the site.