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TRAVEL: Place your bids!

touring cyclists

<strong> © <a href='http://www.dreamstime.com/Naumoid_info'>Dmitry Naumov</a> | <a href='http://www.dreamstime.com/'>Dreamstime.com</a></strong>

Signs of worry in the travel industry just before an upcoming holiday is good reason to hit the travel auction sites. There are bargains to be had.

With the Labor Day weekend coming up, and forecasts of a downturn in holiday travelers making the country’s travel providers restless, this would be a good time to start scouting for some last-minute deals on airfares, hotels, rental cars, even whole weekend packages.

And that means it’s time to start working the travel auction sites.

You know, the Web sites that let you bid on airfares and what-not, with the chance to score yourself some true money-saving deals.

We’ve talked before about these sites and how they work. For a refresher, click here.

By now, just about everybody knows about Priceline,the McDonald’s/Walmart/Donald Trump of travel auction sites. They’re everywhere, or at least their incessant advertising makes them seem to be.

But there’s no denying you can find good deals there, provided you know how to play the game.

But they’re hardly the only game in cyberspace when it comes to travel auctions.

So here, in no particular order, is a handy list of travel auction sites for you to check out prior to Labor Day. and Thanksgiving. And Christmas. And New Year’s. And…

  • SkyAuction
  • eBay
    The grand-daddy/godfather of online shopping/auction sites.
  • Hotwire
    Almost as ubiquitous as Priceline. They do flights, rental cars and cruises, but as best known for their focus on hotels.
  • EasyClick Travel
  • LastMinute
  • BidShares
    A travel auction site specializing in vacation timeshares.
  • eBid
    Fancies itself a rival to eBay, especially when it comes to travel auctions.
  • uBid
    Another eBay competitor in the travel realm.
  • CruiseCompete
    Bot a travel auction site per se, but you can get cpmpetiting bids on cruise packages.
  • LuxuryLink
    Specializing in high-end hotels, vacation rentals and cruises.
  • Generous Adventures
    Travel auctions with a twist — they auction off vacation packages to the highest bidder, then donate the profits to charities.

Meanwhile, there are now two Web sites devoted to giving you info/intel/4-1-1 on how to work the travel auction sites to your best advantage.

The one I wrote about last year, which is still around, is called Bidding for Travel, is still around. The new one (new to me, anyway) is called Better Bidding.

These sites are basically message boards, albeit with some interesting bells and whistles thrown in, where users share information on winning bids they’ve made, the Web sites where they made them and what their bids won for them.

Armed with that knowledge, you have a better chance of making a winning bid yourself.

So take advantage of the angst in the travel industry, and go stalk some wild travel deals. and if you find some, come back and tell your fellow IBIT travelers!

After you’ve booked your own, of course.

NOTE: As always with any commercial Web site, do your due diligence, check them out thoroughly and ask lots of questions before you pull out your credit card. And never use a debit card for ANY online transaction. It’s just like writing a check; once you click on the button to accept the deal, the money is gone. Unlike a written check, however, you can’t call your bank afterward and request a stop payment order if there’s a problem.

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