Sometimes a little insider knowledge goes a long way. These days we are our own travel agents. We research, re-search and search some more to find the best travel destinations and deals online. But what if we can make it just that little bit easier for ourselves? Here are 10 travel websites you need to know about, pronto!
Rome 2 Rio
R2R is the bomb dot com. Well, not really… its rome2rio.com, but if there could be just one website to top the list of helpful travel resources, this website would be it. In a nutshell: you type the destination you want to travel from and the destination(s) you want to travel to. R2R robots work some magic behind the scenes and BAM! The R2R fairies will tell you how to get from point A to point B the fastest and cheapest ways – listing them in order of best-worst. They’ll even calculate an estimate on how much the flight will cost or how much petrol will be used. Genius.
It baffles me that some (many) Americans don’t know about this website. If you’re an offender, it’s okay. I forgive you. Welcome to road trip planning heaven – your life will never be the same again. In a nutshell: Roadtrippers is the ultimate resource for roadtripping around the USA. It will pinpoint all of the hotels, all of the attractions, all of the weird kooky stuff and everything in between, and save it for you as a map. Awesome.
I get the shock of my life every time someone tells me they haven’t yet heard about Skyscanner. In Australia and Europe its a staple go-to-website for booking flights, but somehow ye Americans haven’t yet caught on to the flight comparing search engine. In a nutshell: Skyscanner compares flights and shows you the cheapest option. But my favourite feature is the ‘everywhere’ button. Say for instance I want to go on a trip from Melbourne, Australia, but I’m not sure where to. I simply select “everywhere” and the magic elves behind the screen will tell me my options from cheapeast – most expensive. Great for the spontaneous travellers.
Once upon a time you wouldn’t be able to travel to popular cities without booking accommodation months in advance to ensure you weren’t a) stuck out on the street or b) left to pay a fortune for a last-minute room. Gone are the days of low supply and high demand, and in are the days of choices, choices, choices. In a nutshell: AirBnB makes it possible to rent someone else’s private apartment or a room inside for a night, week, month or more. Great for those who enjoy a more local, authentic experience outside of hotels.
If Viator didn’t insist on making their tours and airport transfers way more expensive than the norm, I’d use them all the time. But because they insist on hiking the prices on unsuspecting travellers, I only ever use this website as a first port of call, followed by booking the tours direct once I know whats out there in a city. In a nutshell: A directory of tours, airport transfers and private city tours. Its much more expensive than booking direct, but a great searching tool.
Spotted by Locals
If you like to explore a city more like a local and less like a visitor, this is a great resource for you on the road. In a nutshell: Spotted by locals offer city guides catered to the traveller who likes a more local, ‘off-the-beaten-path’ experience.
Chances are you don’t know your airline rights. That’s okay, most of us don’t. But when things do go wrong, you’re gonna wish you did. Airhelp is a great resource for recovering money when things go wrong and knowing your rights. In a nutshell: A website that helps you get money back. Now that’s a winner!
A great resource to find out what is happening in the travel industry. Who’s doing what, what’s news, what’s old news, breaking industry news… you get the gist. In a nutshell: Skift is a news website for travel geeks. Hoorah!
Another resource to help you find cheap flights in a less-traditional route. Skiplagged lets you find cheap flights by highlighting hidden cities. For example, say you want to fly from Boston to Philadelphia. It may be cheaper for you to book a flight through to an alternative destination with Philadelphia as a stopover. You book that flight (found for you by the skiplagged fairies) and simply get off at your connecting airport. In a nutshell: A genius little invention for one-way travellers.
Travel Blogs (Google is your friend)
Last but not least, the world wide web is full of great travel blogs (you’re on one right now – hah!). But on a serious note, there are truly some great travel blogs out there. There are many reasons why blogs are a better resource than guides – first off, they’re free! You can peruse blogs for hours and find loads of relevant information without paying a cent. But my favourite reason for choosing blogs over traditional travel guides is the personality behind them. You can match up your personality with that of a travel blogger and trust their travel tips to suit your own personal needs. In a nutshell: blogs are the way to go in the present day! A great way to keep up with your favourite blogs is to follow them on Bloglovin’ (a site that allows you to save blog posts for future reference and discover new blogs you’ll love along the way!!). But of course, google is a great way to search for great blogs. Simply type in a few key words or a phrase that will help you find what you’re looking for and google will do the hard work for you. The best blogs out there will come up on the first page of the search engine. Problem(s) solved!
So, over to you! What are some great travel blogs you can recommend to other readers!? Would love to see your recommendations in the comments below!