The web has had a definite effect on the travel industry, enabling people to be their own travel agents. With the improvements in mapping technologies and the ability to share knowledge, it has never been easier to find the information you need regarding the places you want to see.
The following list of sites can be useful in your planning. Some help you find the best airfares and hotels, while others help you decide what you should do when you get to your destination.
If you are traveling some time soon, use these sites to save yourself money and find all the best kept secrets of your destination that will make your holiday as memorable as possible.
Save, Save, Save
Traveling shouldn’t have to come at the expense of selling off body parts or one of your children. These sites can be used to find the best deals on flight, hotels and restaurants.
Kayak is one of the more well known travel sites. It’s basically a search engine focused on travel.
It searches for your specified criteria across thousands of travel sites to bring you the best prices on airfare, car rentals, hotels, cruises and more.
SideStep is almost identical in functionality to Kayak. The really is not much difference between the two.
yapta is another similar service, but it focuses more on getting travel discounts. You can set it to track the prices on specific flights or hotels and it will send you alerts when it’s the right time to buy.
Another smart feature is that it will continue to track prices even after you purchase. This way, you can receive an alert if the prices drop and you can request a refund from the particular vendor.
Formerly known as Farecast, bing travel is the travel portion of Microsoft’s search engine. It offers similar functionality to Kayak and SideStep.
Tripit is a different tool altogether. It’s focused on creating an online, digital itinerary that is easy to share with others.
Another site that goes in a different direction, Tripology is more of a service than a self-service. You enter in your desired destination, and what you’ll need. Tripology arranges for 3 travel agents to contact you with the details.
They build your itinerary for you.
The Next Level
The next sites take the idea a little further. There is more of a community focus intended to help you learn from more experienced travelers. These are the tools that look fun to use and can really make your trip more enjoyable.
Planet Eye is for those who do want to plan their own trip and who want to do a little research first. Research your destination, organize your trip and read reviews of other seasoned travelers all within one tool.
This site is built on the premise that other travelers can give you the best advice on where to go and stay. Their slogan says it all:
Get the truth. Then go.
Offering similar features as Planet Eye, Dopplr is built as a social community site.
My personal favourite in this genre, duffel offers an unique interface for planning your travels. It gives you a large corkboard-like interface to plan your itinerary.
It also has great integration with Google Maps — almost all travel sites do these days. But duffel takes the integration even further and displays your itinerary events in the map.
Overall, a very nice, new tool that seems a little under-hyped.
The Misc. Category
There are other sites that are helpful in regards to traveling, but don’t fall in to the categories above.
So many tools simply integrate Google Maps that it’s easy to take it for granted. But when I’m going on a trip, it never fails that go to Google first to check out where I’m going, get directions and search for interesting places to see.
I think it’s worth mentioning on its own.
For those who travel a lot, you know how valuable it is to pack light. This site is intended to show you all the tips and tricks to learn how.
Then put the Internet to good use and make sure you give yourself the best trip possible.