I will preface by saying I may be biased. I am a fan of two websites to plan most of my travel (although I will stray for discount airlines). These are www.kayak.com and www.hotels.com. Kayak does a great job of fare comparisons of the majors and makes it easy to link and buy. Hotels.com is typically the same price or better than conference rates and you earn a free stay for every 10 (when you travel for work this adds up fast... like two free nights in Dublin :) )
Now I know there are cheaper options when it comes to hotels however I have been burned by both hotwire.com and priceline.com. If you know the city you are traveling to well than these can be great options. However they are businesses out to make money and often their "zones" include sketchy areas outside of what the zone is named. Example- the banned hotel in DC on NY ave that is considered close to the conference center (2 miles close with no transport and amongst strip clubs). So if you are brave go for it... but if you are going on the blind better to be safe.
So this brings me to my next business trip to Germany. There are two conferences back to back in Bonn and Karsruhe. Both of these are local to Frankfurt which is a nice direct cheap flight from the Brum. So the plan is: Thurs- Friday Bonn, Friday- Sunday Frankfurt, Sunday- Tuesday Karlsruhe. Planes, Trains and conferences don't scare me... but where to stay and what to do in Frankfurt (I will be bringing the boy out to join me) I am left clueless.
Over the last couple of years all my travel has been for work or family leaving me no time to think of what I would do if I actually was to take a vacation somewhere. (OK yes we are going to Dublin but I have been there before, they speak some odd form of English and we intend on watching six nations and going to St. James Gate). Master of the web to coordinate travel I am, but I have no clue where to go to get suggestions on sites to see. Over the next week I will be investigating good travel advice sites and report back. Until then... kayak away!
(Doesn't this look like part of a Christmas Village?)