Here are the 10 travel websites we find the most useful, whether we’re on a Mac or a PC. (They’re in no particular order.)
For every plane, on every carrier, this site tells you which seats are the best and which ones are awful. Criteria is based mostly on legroom and whether there’s laptop power. You can also see where the bathrooms are, as well as the exit rows.
We don’t tend to use this site for airplane flights, because it doesn’t give you enough control over the various options–don’t forget, once you put your criteria in there, and press the submit button, you’re committed.
It’s great for inexpensive hotel rooms though. You can pick the price you’re willing to pay, the quality of the hotel, and the neighborhood, and then they automatically book you at that price if something is available. Again, once you bid, you can’t change your mind. But once we got a 2-room suite in a four-star Midtown Manhattan hotel for $150/night.
Kayak searches lots of travel sites all at once, so they say they really do find the best deals available on the net.
This 15-year-old site has objective reviews, the most cruise visitors (1 million unique visitors every month), and very active message boards. Anything you might want to know about individual cruises is definitely here.
Once you get somewhere, Yelp is great for finding the best anything–restaurant in your area, place to get a massage, dry cleaner. (Lots and lots of food and drink reviews.)
House swaps are a great way to save money and be a real “local” for a week or a month. This is the largest house swap site. There’s a fee to join, but the tradeoff is more homes in unusual locations.
Farecast, now a part of Bing’s travel webpage, looks at whether prices for a flight to a particular destination are rising or falling–so you can decide whether to wait a few days before buying your ticket, or whether you should jump on it before fares rise.
8. Wiki Travel
Wikipedia’s travel website has comments, guides, and reviews by thousands of travelers. Because the contents are written by “normal” people, content can vary, but you can really get the unvarnished truth here.
Do you want your trip to incorporate the experience of helping a community, instead of sitting on a beach drinking mai tis? Volunteer International is an association of volunteer organizations (such as Habitat for Humanity and WorldTeach), and the website has lists of volunteer programs all over the world. We haven’t done one yet…
10. Offbeat Guides
Unfortunately Offbeat Guides no longer exists – it allowed you to create your own personalized travel guide to any one of hundreds of locations.