The 8 best travel websites
Tired of wasting endless hours trolling the web searching for the best flights, insider accommodation deals or hip new travel adventure to be had? These great sites cut through the clutter to open up a world of travel savvy options.
is a natural language search engine that delivers the cheapest flight on each date and flights from and to all airports in or near the origin and destination cities. Just type in searches like "Melbourne to International late March" or "Sydney to South East Asia under $400". Founded by two Melbournians, Fenn Bailey and Tom Howard, it also provides a routing engine that interconnects flights from low-cost airlines in Australia, the US, Asia and Europe. Perfect for backpackers or nomads with an appetite for spontaneous travel. An accommodation search engine will be added soon.
In October 2007, a couple of software designers short on cash decided to blow up some air mattresses in their San Francisco apartment and offer 'an air bed and breakfast' over the internet. Now you can rent accommodation nightly from real people in 170 countries. Locals rent out a room or their entire apartment or house at a fraction of the price of a hotel room in places like Chicago, Istanbul or Shanghai. You input the location, dates, room type and price range you want and a listing of options is presented including the interests of the person who is renting. A perfect way to slip into an insider's lifestyle: there's everything from a castle in Scotland, a tree house in China, a studio in Paris, a loft in Soho, or a beach house in Bondi on Air bnb
is a real-time question and answer engine for travellers around the world to share their travel knowledge. Much better than a travel forum, questions are routed to locals and past visitors with similar interests to source the best possible answers through intelligent Q&A profiles, connections on Twitter and Facebook, and geo-tagging. You're notified when new answers, comments, ratings and messages are posted and you can browse other questions and answers by topic and location. Get answers for anything from where to find the best meat pie in Melbourne to how to make your own way between Marrakesh and Casablanca. Travellr has recently affiliated with World Nomads, which specialises in travel insurance for the independent traveller.
Started by some travel-loving geeks from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Goby
is an inspiration search engine and location-aware i-Phone app for exploring an encyclopaedic range of fun activities to do with your free time in any town or city in the United States. Instead of having to trawl through dozens of different websites, Goby offers an easy, task-centric user interface to help you search hyper-local content that includes anything from concerts and hiking trails to family fun, sightseeing, and offbeat attractions. There are also extensive accommodation listings as well as wineries, cafes, bars and restaurants. In short, millions of things to do across 350 categories so you don't miss out on anything wherever you visit in the States.
Started by former MySpace and Yahoo execs and recently winning best design at the Crunchies, which celebrates the most compelling start-up technology innovations of the year, Gogobot
is a Facebook for Travellers, with slick pictures that make exploring potential travel destinations and trip planning as much fun as the trip itself. Its philosophy is that the best trip planning advice comes from the people you trust: your friends and family, not anonymous strangers on the Internet. You post a question on Gogobot then send it to Facebook and Twitter.
With a search default menu that sorts flights by "agony", measured via a combination of price, duration and number of stops, Hipmunk
is a US-based flight search engine whose horizontal bar displays the most appealing flight options in a matter of minutes, including length of layover time. Compared with older search engines like Kayak, it's much quicker to find the right flight as the pain factor of multiple stops and long layovers is shown graphically. Intuitive filters automatically hide terrible flights to aid the decision making process. They also have a great travel blog.
Launched by two Dutch brothers, one of whom lives in Australia, Travellerspoint
focuses on the experiences, memories, and emotions created whilst travelling. The site offers an international community for travellers with its member Wiki travel guide, a travel forum, a free travel blog service, unlimited-upload member photography section with regular featured photos and photo competitions, a trip mapping tool, and volunteer travel helpers. There is also trip planning, packing, health and safety advice and a budget-focused accommodation booking service.
Wanderfly is a personalised recommendation engine that uncovers new and exciting travel adventures, based on your budget and interests, such as "beach", "snow", "singles", "romance", and "art". According to its New-York based founders, 70% of us don't know where to go three to four months before booking a trip but there is no easy way to get inspired online because of the endless choices amidst thousands of websites. Wanderfly
suggests more than 1200 destinations worldwide and matches them with flights, hotels and thousands of activities with the help of partners like Expedia, Foursquare, Nile Guide, Yelp and Lonely Planet. By replicating the human thought process, Wanderfly appeals to anyone who is open to new experiences then helps you find, organise, share and book your travel all in one place.
Got any more to add to the list (apart from travel.ninemsn.com.au, obvi!)?