Take a Trip
“Wait a minute,” you ask. “People take trips for spring break. For summer break. For Thanksgiving or Christmas. Who takes a trip in January?”
A few people. But that’s not the point. Have you ever booked a flight the day before you wanted to leave? Bet that got pretty expensive. And if you want to get out of the country, you’re going to need a passport — that takes time, too.
Thus, when people are reviewing their lives in January and thinking to themselves, “I’ve never been outside of Appleton; I should travel,” they’re probably going to start the hunt sooner rather than later.
Enter Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN) and Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE), which allow would-be travelers to find deals on and book trip essentials like flights, hotels and rental cars. Both stocks have surged in the past three years, with PCLN up more than 200% and EXPE up about 160%, though Expedia has had a far better 2012, nearly doubling to Priceline’s 33% returns.
PCLN has been in decline ever since peaking above $760 earlier this year, and just recently made a deal to buy rival Kayak (NASDAQ:KYAK) to expand its offerings and turn its fortunes around. Individuals who don’t have much money to invest also should note that PCLN has a prohibitively high sticker price of $625 per share.
But before pulling the trigger, you might visit TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP), a travel info website that offers reviews of hotels, restaurants and other businesses. The company, which Expedia spun off just less than a year ago, operates sites across six continents, including its flagship namesake site here in the U.S. TripAdvisor might be the best bet of the three because it can benefit from New Year’s daydreaming even if visitors decide to punt booking an actual flight or hotel down the road.
Kyle Woodley is the Assistant Editor of InvestorPlace.com and is perfect just the way he is. As of this writing, he didn’t hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Follow him on Twitter at @IPKyleWoodley