If you love to travel often then there are some websites you need to check out so you can make the most of your money, your time, your journey, or just ward off some nasty jet lag. And the best thing about this article is there won’t be any bothersome pop-ups for subscription magazines (because of course you are out traveling not at home). And there won’t be any sites that are advertised everywhere already (because of course you’ve already used or avoided them). So enjoy this little trip around the internet where I hope you not only find travel websites you haven’t come across before, but also sites that you will find awesomely useful!
So onward with the road less traveled!
Most everyone is aware of TripAdvisor, a site that allows everyone to leave reviews about places, but it is great to be able to cross-reference the average person’s short sometimes snarky review with an expert’s review. That is what TripExpert allows you to do. You type in your destination or accommodations and it will give you what the experts are putting in print from A to Zagat!
Sometimes we get faked out by wonderful photos that stretch rooms out of proportion or minimize crowded beaches. Oyster is “The Hotel Tell-All” and has a page dedicated to comparing hotel’s photos to Oyster’s own, so you can decide if a place is a myth or a legend. Oyster’s reviews also go beyond the good, the bad, and the ugly about even the best of places. We appreciate their honesty because honestly no one wants to spend their money on a bad vacation.
Still making up your mind whether to stay here or there or to eat this or that in the destination of your choosing? Then maybe Yelp will help! I put in the same location (NYC), in each site to see what the reviews would say, and Yelp had very specific commenters that left pictures, ratings, and more. You can even scroll through the pictures associated with your search. Reviewers are assessed too, so you can see if this is a one-time reviewer with a bone to pick or if it is someone that has checked in a few times and knows well what they are reviewing. To some extent, you might be able to tell if this person’s evaluation would be comparable to yours. Maybe they are a member of your trip tribe.
4. Trip Tribe
As soon as I thought it, I knew someone must have that domain name for a travel site! Trip Tribe lets you put in your personality, suggests vacations and places to stay, and puts you in touch with others like you in age, relationship status, and interests. It isn’t exactly a dating site, but if you crave a journey, you can follow people that crave the same things. It is kind of inspired.
I came to Rom2Rio via a few different travel blogs that raved about it, so I tried it out, and I’m intrigued and inspired! You can compare with tools (like very easy on the eye visuals and sidebars with drop-down menus) how you want to travel, the cost of travel, and it will even give you very specific information such as the bus line or airline you can use. I went ahead and selected where I was departing from and where I wanted to arrive and was able to click easily through all the way to the airline’s website to purchase exactly what I was inquiring about.
This site is bananas! Did you know a ticket from one city to another can be half as much if you just take a different flight pattern with a different layover destination?! Say you want to go to Miami. You can go directly for $200. Or you can endure an hour layover and pay $160. Or you can pay $86 if you do an hour and a half layover in another city. If you can endure more time in your layover, or can put up with a layover in a different state, you can save half.
It can happen unintentionally, but it can also be preferable under some circumstances. So if you need to sleep in an airport, versus getting a costly hotel room, it can come in handy to know what kind of accommodations there are. Sleeping In Airports has reviews, assessments, and recommendations for the weary and wary traveler.
I love the saying, “Take only photos. Leave only footprints.” And I love the idea of unique and rare vacations. That is what this company is all about. You will get recommendations that promise more than a few days off. You are shopping small and personal. You can decide what type of vacation you want to go on such as a couples honeymoon or a family getaway. You can decide if you are going cycling or shopping. There will be several places to choose from with pricing, pictures, descriptions, reviews, and suggested itineraries. Additionally, there will be a breakdown of how responsible the accommodations are, sometimes including the materials used in construction. If you are interested in ecotourism, this site is designed for your conscience.
I almost couldn’t stop looking at this site. You get to look at other people’s “Perfect Day” and you can plan your own. There are suggestions by high profile residents of cities, like fashion designers, and there are offers and deals for tours. It is fun to see how others have spent a day in George Town or see where a sports car rental will take you in…. Vermont? Well, there is something for everyone!
If you are wild about trains and world travel, this is your website of choice. If you haven’t thought about it, maybe you should start considering it and use this as a way to find some of the best experiences. Train travel in different countries can be a memorable experience. Doing your research will make it a good one! Get routes, get pictures, and get an expert perspective from The Man in Seat Sixty-One.
11. Black Tomato
I say tomato, and you say Black Tomato! And I say what? Black Tomato is a site that allows you to discover luxury vacation packages that are very dreamy. Do you want to do a multi-destination honeymoon? They have an itinerary for you. Do you want to experience a cuisine inspired vacation? They have an itinerary for you. Is this something to put on your bucket list? Login and save it under “bucket list.” They are ready for all sorts of dreamers.
Did you ever want to know before a flight if your legs would get cramped or if your layovers would be torture? This site has an “Agony Scale” for flights to let you know just that. And if you are booking a hotel, there is a heat map that will tell you using color bars where the nightlife is compared to your accommodations and sometimes if that nightlife is fun or not fun for you. Because sometimes, we don’t want a bedroom window too close to the rowdiest bar in town. We’d rather take a cab ride.
If you lost your luggage, been delayed, or otherwise abused by the airlines, you might want to check out AirHelp. This website helps you know what your rights are and what compensation you are entitled to. Whatever your travel plans are, doing your research before and after something happens sounds like sound advice to me. It is worth investigating.
Staying informed about what is going on in the travel industry could be good for you. If some bad news is brewing, this site would help you learn about it before you booked a non-refundable trip. Also, if an airline or another company you are about to do business with is in distress, you might consider making other plans. Even the latest in technology to make travel better is featured, so maybe you get to download an app to make the best of your travels.
15. Home Exchange
What if you live somewhere great and you want to see somewhere else that is great? Then Home Exchange could give you a fun and affordable way to find accommodations. I heard about people renting out their balconies for festivals, like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but if you have someplace awesome, you can trade spaces for a time. Lucky you!