What’s Good: Find world guides, travel forums, links to travel services, traveler photographs, community blogs, travel-related applications etc. on one user-friendly (and visually exciting) site. Planning a trip of just curious about an area? Zero in on your vacation destination using Lonely Planet’s regional search tool and get in depth information including maps, “top city” picks, travel alerts and more..
What’s Bad: Too much of a good thing? As aesthetically pleasing as the site is, it’s easy to get lost in the site, unable to get back to that tasty tidbit you meant to jot down or research further. And while there is ton of information on the commonly vacationed-to destinations, the site is lacking information on the more offbeat areas.
What’s Good: Read and write reviews on restaurants, shopping, events and other sights or activities in your home town or places you have visited. Even small town hot-spots have somehow amassed a heap of reviews – and not just those lame three word “I like it” reviews, but ones that are actually helpful.
What’s Bad: Has info on the US and just launched its UK version, but you’re screwed if you plan on venturing much beyone that.
What’s Good: Search by destination and get a complete “Guide Book” at your fingertips – and besides the usual hotels, attractions and restaurants, the gang at Frommers has also researched side trips, customs, history, and provided a super helpful write-up on the different neighborhoods in your destination city. Also check out the “Deals & News” section for a smart mix of timely travel advisories, current travel related events and the coolest places offering the hottest deals.
What’s Bad: Much of the reviews and information comes from the site’s namesake, Arthur Frommer, making reviews and observations kinda one-sided. Also, after a little browsing, it’s apparent that the site doesn’t exactly cater to the budget-minded traveler.
What’s Good: Many sites can give information and reviews for a restaurant – but Fodors takes it one step further and gives you the price you should expect to pay, as well as contact information and a direct link to the establishment’s Website. In addition, this site has a unique “Best in 3 Days” feature that gives travelers a snapshot overview of what to see and do, even if you will only be somewhere for a few days.
What’s Bad: Besides researching a trip, the site will also let you purchase flight tickets, make hotel reservations, and book tickets for events – but do your research first or be prepared to pay higher prices than you would at most other sites.
What’s Good: Covering over 27,000 vacation destinations, Virtual Tourist is extensive and comprehensive. And because it is written by travelers, it is honest and unbiased, and gives other travelers up-to-date tips on deals and tricks (find the cheapest place to get a rental car in Cusco or the best place to try your first bite of sushi in Osaka). Travelers can create user profiles where they can map their trip, post pictures and comments and then save tips and ideas that they find on other member’s profiles…brings a whole new meaning to the term travel buddy!
What’s Bad: It may be nit-picky, but the maps on Virtual Tourist are a bit out of sync with the rest of the snazzy site – names are hard to read and the graphics are overall pretty lame. Their travel forum section also seems to be kinda empty compared to those of other sites.
What’s Good: Like the original site – plain ‘ol Wikipedia – this site’s strength is that it completely relinquishes control to the users. Each of its 21,499 (and counting) destination guides can be edited and added to by the readers – this not only keeps the site perpetually refreshed and up-to-date, but also keeps the crazies from tarnishing the reputation of a town or business (no ranting reviews because one sleep-deprived and cranky traveler had to wait a mite too long for his dinner).
What’s Bad: The site is pretty clunky in appearance, making it tough and somewhat unpleasant to navigate.
What’s Good: Ever felt like you need an set of instructions just to navigate an instruction manual? How annoying is it when, just as you mastered a certain Website, they go and update it, disrupting all of your well-rehearsed button clicks to the point where you have to re-learn from scratch? That’s when you call on Rosie. This site gives free step by step video tutorials on hundreds of the most popular Websites around, including a grip of travel sites like Kayak and TripAdvisor.
What’s Bad: We understand that Rosie is busy helping less than technical travelers, but that is no excuse for out of date content. This site is not always privy to the most recent features available on some sites and, for example, Rosie seems to still be unaware that FareCast has now merged with Bing.
Have a cool travel site you love to use? Send us a comment – we’d love to hear about it!Tags: travel tools