50 Travel Sites
You've Probably Never Heard Of
Written and compiled by Brooke Dowd
Planning a trip? Those who love to travel know the essence of all travel is about you and the road. For a true traveler the destination is only a minor detail in planning a trip, experiencing and delving deeper into an unfamiliar culture is paramount. Before you begin to crack the travel guides, pick a destination or plan a travel itinerary, visit some of these off the beaten path travel sites.Whatever level of expertise you tout, whether it is international travel, student travel, discount travel or just plain old USA travel, these sites are guaranteed to expand your horizons.
Honest advice to get you going.
It's no wonder IgoUgo won the 2005 Webby Award for the Best Travel Site in the U.S. It definitely stands apart from other online travel communities that allow travelers to share photos and stories. Their newly added Travel Deals provides the best bargains in the coming week from a variety of travel sites, saving you the hassle of online booking research. IgoUgo rewards contributing writers and photographers with GO points, which can be redeemed at online retailers and used for frequent flier miles.
Cool Feature: Have a favorite IgoUgo member? You can search for a member, view their profile, and stay up to date on their travels.
Plan Together. Travel Together.
Triporama enables you to plan a group trip and share the details with your group. It's like your own personal trip website. Tools on the site include storing and sharing your research, manage invites, and posting messages to your group.
Don't Miss! - Group Travel Guide's Recommendations.
Get the truth, then go.
Tripadvisor.com has compiled over 5 million traveler reviews and opinions on hotels, vacations and more. Here you can find the honest truth about your destination, without feeling like you're being 'sold'. Reviewers have the option of uploading their own vacation pictures. The hotel website may show you a room with a view, but the travelers pictures may tell a different story...
Cool Feature:goLists- Travelers create a list of what to see and things to do in a certain destination.
Tying Travel Together.
Triptie.com was created based on the idea that travelers make the best travel agents. By allowing travelers to share personal vacation itineraries, stories, and photos, everyone becomes someone else's agent. Unlike similar travel sites, you can easily pull pieces from other itineraries and make them a part of your own.
Cool Feature:Create your hometown Itinerary for when friends or travelers from around the globe come and stay.
Connecting Internationals Since 1998
Looking to get away, and stay away? Iagora.com offers information on internships, study abroad, and permanent positions available abroad. This site will help you find housing, hotels, and provide tips for working and living abroad. By signing up for premiere membership you can submit your resume and network for job offers from around the globe.
Cool Feature: iPeople- Browse through member profiles and contact information to get personal information on others who are working and living abroad.
The Ultimate Resource for the Independent Traveler
BootsnAll features guides, stories, book reviews, and insiders from every continent. The site also has message boards, blogs, and travel deals. You can book flights, hotels, and even hostels through provided links, they really do live up to the nall when it comes to traveling.
Don't Miss! - 50 Most Recent Travel Stories.
Where Are You Now?
Think Myspace, for travel lovers. WAYN.com (where are you now?) allows users to keep a log of their travels; past, present, and future. The idea is that you share them with other members, and maybe even meet some of them along the way.
Cool Feature: An integrated instant messaging program.
Your Unlimited Travel Guide to the World
Many of the most popular travel sites provide little information on U.S destinations. It may be hard to come across a site with detailed guides for U.S cities. That is what sets Planetware.com apart from other destination guide websites. Their ultimate goal is to eventually database every attraction in the world.
Cool Feature: Enter your Hobbies and Activities and it will bring up destinations that can entertain them.
Real People, Real Advice, Real Experiences.
Voted as one of the 12 Best Travel Sites by Forbes.com, Realtravel is an online community for all things related to travel. Featuring photos, blogs, member profiles, and links to the latest in travel deals, it is a great way for people to obtain and share advice on travel experiences.
Cool Feature: Featured Destination Page
Last minute vacation rentals...
Like to do everything at the last minute? Luckily, Licketytrip.com is there to help. All of the vacation rentals on the site are available for the next two weeks. The rentals are mainly U.S destinations. The property search is user friendly, and from there you can contact the owner for a more personal booking experience.
Cool Feature: Owners can list their property free of charge.
Deluxe and Escorted Independent Vacations
Traveling to a foreign place on your own can be intimidating, not to mention confusing. Booking a guided tour trip can be useful when visiting places with lots of sites and landmarks to see. Not only do guides keep you informed, but sometimes they allow you to bypass long lines. Maupintour.com is a great place for booking escorted tours and creating itineraries. Unlike most tour companies, Maupintours are all inclusive, so you know exactly how much your trip will cost before you go.
Hotelbook.com presents travelers with a unique lodging option in today's increasingly complex online travel arena. They provide travelers with alternative hotel options that will offer them something different in a hotel. Looking for a chic boutique hotel in Aspen, or a hotel with a golf course in England? Hotelbook.com can help you meet these specific travel needs without trying to sell you a stay at the Marriott.
Don't Miss! - Special Offers.
The best way to share a cab to or from the airport.
In many destinations cabs are the best way to get to your destination from the airport and back, but they can get expensive. Hitchster.com is a web-based system, which conveniently connects travelers so that they can share taxis, and thus split the fare. So, whether you're interested in saving money, time, the environment, or just looking for a cab companion, Hitchsters.com can help.
Unusual Hotels of the World will help you book an experience, not just a hotel. Stay in an old railway car nested in an Alaskan mountain, a tree house in Sweden, or a hemp hotel in Amsterdam. The site features a detailed description of each hotel and member ratings.
Cool Feature: Join the Go Unusual Club
Your Inside Connection to Worldwide Travel
The world of online booking sites has become so popular that you may not even get a deal by logging on to big name sites. cFares.com claims to have the lowest prices with the widest selections. You can also become a member and get below market fares, or use their name your own price feature. It's basically all of those popular booking sites out there rolled into one, without the big name.
The Complete Online Cruise Guide and Community
Many online booking sites are offering vacation deals and packages, making it difficult to obtain objective travel advice. Cruisemates.com, the online expert in cruises, is not affiliated with any travel agent or booking company, so you're getting straightforward advice from cruise industry leaders, and fellow travelers. Users can search for cruises by destination or category, share information via message boards, and even plan to meet with other cruisemate members once you hop aboard.
Cool Feature: Cruise Chat- Live online chat about all things cruise.
The travel search engine
Tired of figuring out which sites really have the best deals on flights, hotels, cruises, or rental cars? Well in you’re in luck because Kayak.com has the answer. Kayak is a travel search engine that allows you to search over 140 travel sites at once to find and compare results instantly.
Cool Feature: Fare alerts and fare history let you stay on top of the ever changing travel rates.
The world's finest and leading website about nothing but airline food.
Airline meals are probably the most hated food since Brussels sprouts, and yes-this site is really devoted solely to discussing them. Surprisingly, it really is quite fascinating. Quirky and user-friendly, the site provides images of meals from more than 500 airlines, as well as the latest news and trends in the airline food industry. Even if you're not at all concerned with your next airline meal, the site is a must see.
Don't Miss! - Meals from the 70's, 80's, 90's so you can prove, with pictures, that things were better, back in your day;
Airline Seats Comfort Report
Discomfort has always been a frequent complaint of airline travelers; Seatscorecard.com will give them an advantage even before boarding. This user-friendly site automatically locates the best and worst seats on your next flight. The airplane comfort guides consider factors such as seat width, seat pitch, seating plan, seat configuration, and legroom to determine overall seating comfort. Seatscorecard.com is a great way to be informed, and make the best of your next flight.
The Budget Traveler&'s Guide to Sleeping in Airports
Informative and quite funny, sleepinginairports.net reviews most major airports in dozens of cities across the globe. The ratings range from hell to excellent, considering it's an airport. They are rated based on comfort and cleanliness by travelers who share their stories of spending a night in the airport. Some travelers had no other choice due to layovers and delayed flights; others just think that sleeping in the airport it's a good way to save a buck.
Don't Miss! - Airport Sleeping Tips.
Know When to Buy...
Most consumers don't have the slightest idea what goes on with airline pricing. You go online or call your travel agent, give them your travel dates and hope that you're getting the best deal. Farecast.com takes hope out of the equation. They predict where fares are going and show where they've been for more than 75 airports. If you're flexible with your dates, you'll be able to get an even better deal with the help of Farecast.com
Cool Feature: Know where to Travel-Map View.
Lost Treasure from Around the World
If you've ever been a victim of lost-but-never-found luggage, somebody in Scottsboro, Alabama may be shopping through your bag right now. Unclaimed Baggage is the final destination for lost luggage, where it is picked through and sold directly to some very lucky consumers. If you can't make it to the store for some major bargain shopping, you can visit the website for some entertaining lost luggage tales.
Don't Miss! Travel Tips.
Visit Airportdiscountparking.com to save money when parking at airports. By entering your airport and travel date, the site will direct you to the cheapest lots available. Lists of affiliates include other valets or off site self-parking, to help you save even more. For frequent travelers, there is a feature where they will notify you of upcoming parking deals at your local airport.
The World's Most Popular Frequent Flyer Community
When it comes to traveling by plane, FlyerTalk.com really does have it all. With forums on frequent flyer miles, travel dining, and airline news, it is a great place for regular travelers to receive and share information on air travel.
Cool Feature: Send a Postcard
Travel Videos & Images
Videos For Travelers
Want to see your destination before you even board a plane? Travelistic makes this possible with hundreds of traveler&'s videos from around the globe. The videos are arranged by location, top ranked, and most viewed, making it user friendly as well as informative.
Don&'t Miss! Videos from the Thirsty Traveler. A love for beer and a well-stamped passport make for some interesting clips.
The Internet’s Largest Human Edited Travel Video Directory
TravelerVideo.com has over 5,000 travel related videos covering hundreds of top global destinations. Users can watch, upload, rate and comment videos, placing them in top rankings.
Don&'t Miss! Video Contest- Win up to $500 for the best video.
Traveling the World
Take a photo tour of hundreds of world destinations at Virtourist.com. Users can upload their travel photos with a brief description of each. Fun and informative, it&'s a great way to get a fellow traveler&'s view of a location before you decide to travel to there.
Don&'t Miss! Top Ten Tours.
Specialty Travel - Interest - Lifestyle
Explore Your Literary Imagination
Created by a husband and wife team with a love for literature, Literarytraveler.com brings readers inspiring, informative articles about writers, creative artists, and the places that they&'ve lived and traveled. Whether you&'re planning a trip to NY and would like to see it through the eyes of Walt Whitman, or are interested in exploring the many homes of Hemingway, Literarytraveler has something for all lovers of the written word.
Don&'t Miss! Plan a Literary Tour.
The Best Travel Stories From Writers on the Move
Travel author and blogger Tim Leffel (World&'s Cheapest Destinations & Practicaltravelgear.blogspot.com) created an online publication featuring brilliant travel stories from writers on the move. The contributing writers chose both their topic and destination, so while you may not get advice on your exact vacation spot, you&'ll surely be moved to create your own travel experience.
101 Car Travel Games & Road Trip Ideas for Kids
The road trip mom has put together a lengthy list on ways to keep the little ones busy while traveling. With printable car games, ideas for keeping babies busy, and the license plate game, momsminivan may actually eradicate the are we there yet; road trippin&' parents hate to hear.
Don&'t Miss! Doin Disney.
Your online source for all things coaster since 2000
What started as an online photo gallery, by roller coaster enthusiast Ted Cromwell in 2000, has now turned into an entire network for all things coaster. Images, videos, discussion forums, and member profiles make up this site, which will no doubt delight coaster fanatics in search of new loops and twirls.
Travel Adventures and Events You Never Knew Existed
It&'s pretty safe to say that when most people think vacation they see themselves relaxing on a beach, sightseeing, visiting relatives, and maybe even some scuba diving here and there. What about those people who seek a little more adventure? Whereintheworld.co.uk is the site for them. It provides information on booking dozens of off the beaten path trips&' that involve, for example, crossing the Andes by mule, dogsledding, and exploring the ancient temples and palaces of Thailand.
Don&'t Miss! Sign Up for the Free Newsletter-it just may inspire you to start booking!
Vegetarian and Environmentally Friendly Travel
Donna Zeigfinger, President and owner of Green Earth Travel,LLC, and seasoned traveler, started Vegtravel.com to share her experiences with other vegetarians/vegans looking for travel advice. The site caters to travelers who wish to maintain their lifestyle while adventuring throughout the world.
Vacations for 18 to 35 year olds
The youth travel industry is booming. More and more young people are leaving their local hangouts behind to go out and experience the world. Contiki holidays is the worldwide leader in vacations for 18-35 year olds. They offer specialty tours in hundreds of destinations that are created to carefully blend old-fashioned site seeing and culture with fun and socializing. They also have two all-inclusive resorts located in Bali and the never-ending party island, Mykonos. Bottom line: this isn&'t your grandmother&'s idea of a vacation.
Don&'t Miss! Photo Gallery - see for yourself the fun you could be having!
World-wide pet travel guides for dogs
If you love to travel with your entire family and that family happens to include a furry, four-legged friend, then this site is essential to planning your itinerary. It’s as easy as picking a destination and Dogfriendly.com will show you dog friendly lodging, parks, attractions, stores and outdoor restaurants. And whether pooch is a Maltese or a Newfoundland, you’ll find travel guides for all sizes and breeds, so he’ll never be left out of your vacation plans again.
Explore Your Literary Imagination
If your one and only requirement for your vacation destination is always that the snowboarding is stellar, then don't miss this site. World Snowboard Guide gives it to you straight and isn't afraid to give a resort a bad review if you're going to get snowplowed by skiers. WorldSnowboardGuide.com offers detailed info about top spots to snowboard around the world. Get the skinny on the slopes, number of lifts, whether or not they use artificial snow, and more. Check out the daily top 10 most popular Snowboard Resorts.
If you think that budget is a four-letter word, then logon to Budgettravelonline and you just may be surprised. The online version of the popular magazine Budget Travel, offers up to date travel deals, advice, and vacation planning. Unlike other deal sites, they stay true to their magazine roots with great travel stories and real life tips on everything from airline security to a shoe lover's guide to travel.
Don't Miss! Four Hotels We Wouldn't Be Caught Dead In.
Want to save money on lodging but don't know where to begin? The thought of staying in a hostel can be intimidating if you've never roughed it before. Hostels.net is an online network of independent hotels and hostels. They offer a wide arrange of accommodations for travelers who are interested in seeing the world for less.
Las Vegas on 25 cents a Day.
If you like to gamble you'll probably make it to Las Vegas at some point. Before you do, you should visit this site. The writers prefer to skip the overpriced meals, attractions, and shops, and spend money on Vegas' intended purpose - gambling. They offer tips and advice on how to do just that, including a list of low price and even free attractions. Bigempire.com also offers the dish on the cheapest meals, hotels, and gambling.
Don't Miss! Trip Reports - Our Squalid Journeys.
Living the First Class Life, At Coach Prices.
Not quite a budget traveler, but can&'t afford luxury stays? Learn how to travel like you can. Mark Ashley, a Chicago based frequent traveler, reports on travel news, tips, and trends, for the traveler looking to maximize comfort, style, and convenience, without paying high prices for it.
Don't Miss! Travel Map Round Up.
If budget isn&'t your thing then head over to luxurylink.com for the best in luxurious travel. With articles on which airline offers the best business class, and which hotel offers the best spa, luxurylink.com won&'t help you save money on your next vacation, but will be sure to help you enjoy it.
Don't Miss! The World&'s Best Link- Features lists of the world&'s best hotels, drives, and golf courses.
Looking for a travel company that plan for things like a private picnic for two in the middle of the African savannah or give you and the children your own tropical island for a day? Abercrombie & Kent can make it happen. They specialize in matching travelers with deluxe accommodations in unique destinations. A & K is more than just an agent in one far away office; they have over 48 locations around the globe to serve their customers needs during their stay.
Cool Feature: Tailor Made Request- Let A & K create a custom vacation for you.
Misc. Travel Advice
Arguably second only to Google, Wikipedia has become an online source for information. They have compiled over 10,000 unbiased destination guides and articles submitted by travelers. In true 'Wiki' fashion, the page offers dozens of links on anything and everything related to travel and each specific destination. Each year they have a Wikitravel Get Together in a different vacation spot. Anyone can sign up to go, and the purpose is to gather information to improve Wikipedia&'s guide for that specific location.oh, and to have fun while doing so.
Cool Feature: Traveler's Pub- an in depth help page to make this info packed site a little less intimidating.
The Art and Science of Traveling Light
Do you envy that traveler strutting onto the plane with that one little carry-on bag? Onebag.com might be able to offer some help. With tips on how to go anywhere, for an indefinite amount of time with one single carry-on bag, there simply has to be an art and/or science involved. So even if you can&'t get down to a carry on, at least you can make the most of the one you have.
Travel Smart Travel Sense
Travelsense.org is a one-stop site for packing tips, advice, and news. Articles range from ;Traveling with Children---Pets---Handicapped---Teens; to ;How to Avoid Travel Scams.; It's easy to navigate, loaded with information, and not at all sales motivated, so you get all of the advice you need without feeling like you're being sold on a week in Disney.
Cool Feature: Find a Travel Agent.
Guillame Thevenot is a former Parisian, now working in the hospitality industry in London. He was tired of all travel sites out there being sales driven, only focusing on booking flights and hotel stays, so he created the hotel-blog. Thevenot blogs about how to book last minute travel, understanding the hotel market, and unique hotels around the world. Before you book, let Hotel-blogs.com give you the insider&'s scoop.
One stop Travel Guide to Business Travel
Travel for business doesn&'t have to be all work and no play. Businesstravellogue.com, is part of the bootsnall.com network, provides detailed tips and information for making the most of your work related stay and keeping you up to date on travel news.
Don&'t Miss! Rewards- Articles on how to obtain rewards for airlines and hotels.
Review of travel gadgets and travel clothes that pull their weight
Tim Leffel has circled the globe three times and travels internationally several times a year. He is the author of World&'s Cheapest Destinations and perceptivetravel.com. On his blog, Tim reviews everything from water purification tablets to duffle bags. Who better to review travel gear than a man who knows how to travel?
Travelogue of a Blogger
This is a neat little travel blog written by The Traveler. Not sure who the traveler is, but he or she sure does provide some great travel tips, stories, and news. Articles like Affordable Tokyo, and Child Friendly Asia are written in several different parts, so that they are very thorough and informative.
In 2001, 24-year old Ramon Stoppelenburg, left his home in the Netherlands with a backpack filled with clothing, a digital camera, a laptop, and a mobile phone. For the next two years he traveled the world with no money, by staying with hospitable strangers. This site may not inspire you to head out on a similar adventure, but will assuredly provide intriguing stories and beautiful photographs that tell a tale of the generosity of the human race across all cultures.
Don&'t Miss! Q & A with Ramon