Best Website Travel Resources
Monday, June 13, 2011
Researching and planning your next business trip or vacation is just a point and click away.
Remember when the idea of planning a trip online seemed as foreign as paperless bank statements and getting rid of your landline phone? Well, times have changed. These days, more than 90 million Americans use the Internet to research everything from airline tickets to local attractions and travel routes.
And while initially only a few names dominated the virtual playing field, now pioneers like Orbitz and Expedia have plenty of company in an online marketplace crowded with players. Beyond serving as virtual travel brokers, some sites are aggregators, pulling from multiple sources to let you compare apples to apples. Others take a page from the social networking model, offering consumer reviews from a community of like-minded travelers. Figuring out which site works best for you is the fun part.
- Get started with Hit the Road Country, an easy to navigate portal of road-tested, family-approved itineraries divided into popular destinations, such as Colonial Williamsburg and Phoenix, as well as by activities category, like Founding Fathers Country and Sun and Surf.
- Figure out what your travel M.O. is on Best Trip Choices by taking the quick Plog Travel Personality Quiz, agreeing or disagreeing by degree to statements like “I prefer to travel independently rather than with a group of people,” or “I will hurry to places even when I have plenty of time.” Depending on your answers, you’ll group with Venturers, Authentics or Centrics, and be guided to travel experiences that match your expectations.
- It’s all about the local’s point of view on NileGuide, chock full of free travel guides and advice from a team of local editors from around the globe. Content is also divided into themes like family travel and honeymoon destinations.
- Sharing tips with fellow savvy travelers is what Dopplr is all about, a (free) membership-based network of collective intelligence for frequent travelers ripe with insider info.
- Event-driven PlanCast organizes by geographic location and interest. Sign in using your Facebook or Twitter account and have at it. Members share events of all kinds, from 5K runs to strawberry festivals, allowing you to search your destination for fun things to do.
- TimeOut, which got its start as a series of print entertainment guides, offers a lively interactive site organized by destination, with special emphasis on arts, culture and nightlife. Select a city and then explore categories like Sports & Fitness, Sights & Tours and Music & Nightlife to create an itinerary you can download to your smartphone.