Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Web can cut stress of vacation planning



Tucson Citizen

My husband and I have been seriously considering becoming “Zonies.”

Yes, we’ve been thinking about a summer getaway to San Diego. If we undertake such a journey, we will be joining the annual mass exodus of Arizonans to the beach during the ungodly heat of July and August.

But neither of us is all that familiar with San Diego and we don’t know where to stay. We’d like to be near the beach and to stay in a relatively nice neighborhood, but we don’t have a lot of money to throw around. And, since we’re soon to be a family of five, a place with a kitchenette would work best for us as eating out three meals a day would break the bank.

So where does that leave us?

On the Internet, of course.

In this troubled economy, vacation deals abound and the Internet makes it really easy to research the best ones. Condo rentals offer the best opportunities this summer and several Web sites can help you book the one that’s right for you.

First, there’s vacationrentals.com, which features some 35,000 family-friendly rentals across the U.S. I also really like Pickpackgo.com, which features professionally managed rental properties. It’s really easy to use and features an interactive map to help you determine exactly where the particular rental property is located – a very valuable feature when you’re not familiar with your travel destination.

If you’d like to deal directly with the property owner, go to VRBO.com. While the site isn’t as easy to use as Pickpackgo.com – and there are no maps to help you figure out where the properties are located – it’s still a good resource for those wanting to go directly “to the source” for their rentals.

Time shares are another option. Redweek.com features listings of time shares available for rental. They are usually rented by the night, rather than the week and sometimes have date restrictions.

As with any travel arrangements, protect yourself by paying with a credit card. Should something go wrong, you’ll have more recourse than if you pay by check or debit card. Credit card companies can often intervene on your behalf if there are disputes regarding charges or other problems. If you pay by check or debit, you’re on your own.

Romi Carrell Wittman is a writer and the communication services director for Trico Electric Cooperative. E-mail: romi.wittman@comcast.net.

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