10 Useful Websites For The Traveler

The whole idea behind traveling is to get away, but even travelers can’t get away from the all-encompassing  reach of the internet. Instead of trying to escape it, maybe it’s time to take advantage of it. Here are 10 websites that’ll help you save, stay, find, and ultimately, make your trip more enjoyable.

Couchsurfing
For no money, you sleep in the spare bedroom or on the couch of a local in the city you are visiting. This concept is pure genius and although some may be hesitant to ‘sleepover’with a total stranger, those who take an adventurous chance will be pleasantly surprised! Couchsurfing users create a profile with basic background information and use the site to connect with locals when they are on the road. Locals who have an extra bedroom or couch allow travelers to stay for a few nights to show them their hometown and meet someone from another country. 

Hostelbookers
Whether you are cruising atop a double-decker bus in London or sweating your way across Central America, Hostelbookers can be on of the most important tools on a good journey. A complete listing of hostels in virtually every country you could wish to travel, this website is the best way to find out where to spend your nights. Not only does Hostelbookers provide you with pictures, maps and complete descriptions of each hostel, but also it has reviews from people who actually stayed there and can tell you the truth about the experience. With no booking fees they are an average of 8.7% cheaper than Hostelworld, their main competitor. 

Skyscanner
The vast number of websites claiming to have the ‘BEST DEAL’ on flights is overwhelming and downright annoying. Skyscanner is this traveler’s choice for booking airfare because of the clean interface, excellent deals and plethora of useful and fun options. The website is a search engine for flight deals covering almost all the other websites out there.  For the flexible traveler, there is one interesting feature where you can simply put a country, continent or just ‘anywhere as’ your destination. Instead of searching for flight prices to a specific place you can see ALL flights that are departing from your hometown airport on any given day.

Matador Network
So you’ve booked your flight, packed your bags and got a nice hostel to stay in, but the question still remains of what will you do when you arrive? Most people turn to their trusty Lonely Plant guidebook to decide how to spend their time, but with so many people doing this they all end up in the same place! The Matador Network is a massive community of bloggers who write original articles about anything and everything concerning travel.  Instead of listening to the LP authors who are paid to tell you the best spots, give this website a look to gain a new perspective on your future destinations!

9Flats
Hotels and hostels are the norm for travelers to a new city, but why not try renting a local’s pad for a change? 9Flats is a tremendous website that allows you to truly ‘live like a local’ for a while, by renting a house or apartment directly from the owner. From all the amenities of home to useful advice from the renter, this opens up a fun new world for all different types of travelers.

Trip Advisor
Considered to be the Mecca of travel review websites, Trip Advisor should be the first place you visit before you plan a trip. The sheer magnitude and size of their community is the website’s greatest asset. If you cannot find a hotel, restaurant or place of interest with a review on this website, odds are it’s probably not worth going to! Reviewers have no bias in writing what they think of a place, so it’s a fantastic resource to get good, honest information.

Lonely Planet Thorntree Travel Forum
Sometimes when you are wandering through the small corners of this fine planet, strange questions of logistics arise. Intricate and specific bits of information about border crossings, embassies or almost anything you can think of are often shared and exchanged through this popular travel forum. Next time you find yourself wondering the locations of Paraguay consulates in Argentina, give the Thorntree travel forum a look and you will more than likely find that important piece of info that can change your trip for the better!

Home Exchange
The idea of exchanging your home for one in a foreign land is a new concept that is becoming more popular every year. While some people shiver at the idea of strangers sleeping, eating and hanging out in their home, all they need to remember is that they will be doing the same for someone else. The Home Exchange has one of the largest listings of homes to trade for a vacation and an easy-to-understand interface to smooth out the process.

Seat Guru
This website unveils an awesome secret that many people are incompletely unaware of about airline seats. Even within the same class, certain seats are better or worse than others. Seats that recline less or aisles with limited legroom are mapped out visually so you can always make sure to book the most comfortable one. Trip Advisor powers the website, so it uses the same reviewing system and massive network of travelers. Every major airline and each specific airplane in their fleet are listed so check it out before you fly!

Trippy
Whether you like it or not the social media and sharing trend is getting more and more popular. Trippy is an interesting new concept that hooks into your Facebook network. Now normally I don’t like those types of Apps, but this one allows you to create a custom itinerary for your travel plans, with your friends. First, this website shows the user travel pictures of different places all over the world. Next, you write a quick review about each one either about a time you went there or if you would like to visit in the future. This creates an awesome travel review network of all your peers and makes it so you can get advice from everyone at once!

By Alex Vere Nicoll

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