Amazon launches a new travel service

Amazon has launched a new travel site that encourages people to get into the car, not hop a plane.

Amazon Destinations, with the tagline “Hit the road: Book local getaways”, is emphasizing local getaways that are within a short drive from home.

Amazon said that more than 40 percent of all U.S. trips are short-term getaways that last from between one to three nights. “However, travelers often have a hard time planning local getaways. It’s difficult to know where to go, the process is labor-intensive, and people often miss out on finding great places to stay,” an Amazon spokesman said.

So far it is offers about 150 lodging choices in the Los Angeles, New York City and Seattle areas that are mostly independent hotels or large brands looking for an additional exposure.

This isn’t Amazon’s only foray in the travel arena.  Since 2012, Amazon Local has offered customers flash deals and other deep discounts on hotel stays in the range of 40%-60% off.

Amazon Destinations goes up against travel service sites like Expedia and TripAdvisor and is part of Amazon’s broadening online service offerings across the board. Last month it launched Amazon Home Services, where businesses can sell to customers services like house cleaning and small renovation projects like TV wall mounting and garbage disposal installation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.