Do you still pay a travel agency to organize your trip? It’s a good option if you’re really busy and can’t be bothered for more than the 2 seconds needed to choose your payment method. But planning yourself a trip, although time-consuming, has a potential to give you a lot more pleasure than packaged tours.
It can be a bit scary to plan a trip all on your own, but it’s never been as easy as now, with all the awesome Internet resources! And to make it even easier for you, we’ve assembled this list of useful links for planning your adventure, from deciding where to go to finding the best bakery in town!
Ah, the pleasantest part of planning a trip! Browsing through shiny pictures and deciding what is worth seeing IRL… Here’re some web pages that will help you find where to go.
www.touristeye.com is centered around beautiful photos of different locations and will help you visualise the trip of your dreams!
www.tripadvisor.com is good for everything from cafes to beaches to hotels. Its vast review base will help you make an informed decision if you want to spend your precious vacation time on something.
www.triphobo.com will very nearly plan your trip for you once you add all the places you wish to visit on the way and will also suggest something you might have missed.
www.expedia.com, especially its “deal” section can give you some great ideas about where to go without spending a fortune.
Before deciding on a place, check www.wikipedia.org for the usual weather in your chosen place at the time of your trip. You don’t want to end up in India in a raining season, for example! Wiki is also good for checking other trivia such as currency, visa regulations, historical references etc.
For some of us, choosing a place to go depends mostly on whether there are cheap tickets there. At times it’s the only reason you need for going, at least that’s what happens to me :) But how not to get lost in the sea of possibilities and grab the best deal? We’ve got you covered!
If you have no idea how to get from place A to place B, try www.rome2rio.com. It integrates an impressive number of itineraries for air, train, coach, ferry, mass transit and driving travelling options. Use it to decide if it’s better to go by bus or rent a car or to check which of the nearby airports has the cheapest flights to where you need. The links provided with the proposed route will lead you to a web page where you can book a ticket.
Speaking of cheap flights, apart from functioning as a normal flight aggregator, www.skyscanner.com can also make a search to “anywhere”. Have a little money and no particular plans? Check where you can go without busting your budget.
A place to stay during your journeys can make a difference between loving the places you visit and hating them. Let’s see how to not fail in this department.
Everybody knows www.booking.com, the biggest accommodation helper to a tourist of any means. But it’s not the only website out there!
For those with less money and no scruples about sharing a room with 13 drunken students, there’s www.hostelworld.com, where you can find the best youth deals everywhere you go.
If you like living like a local and also appreciate a kitchen and zero hotel shenanigans, www.airbnb.com is for you! It’s a web page that lets people sublet their places for tourists. Accommodation ranges from a mattress on the floor to a castle! You can read visitors’ reviews, so no worries about safety!
Never forget that you can live anywhere for free, should you wish so, and www.couchsurfing.org will help you find a host anywhere you go!
Finding local info
So you’re finally running wild in the place you’ve been planning to go for such a long time. How to make the most of it and most importantly not get lost?
www.tripomatic.com can suggest you different itineraries based on what your needs are. You can choose “with kids” or “one day” or even a “gourmet” itinerary. Attractions are plotted on the map together with restaurants, transport hubs and other useful info.
www.yelp.com is specialized on local businesses and is great if you need to find, say, a gluten-free lasagna at 3a.m. somewhere in the neighbourhood.
Every big city or region has an official tourist office webpage with info about sights, happenings etc. Try checking it out before going somewhere if you don’t want to miss anything!