When researching travel destinations, Google can be your best friend. But navigating online can be frustrating, especially if you don’t know where to look. As someone who spends a lot of time surfing the web, I’ve cultivated a list of favourite travel websites. Here are my top 10 travel picks:
- Powered by Lonely Planet, Thorn Tree is an online bulletin board where travellers can post questions and discuss travel-related topics. In Traveller Classifieds, you can connect with fellow travel partners, sign up for intensive Spanish lessons, or buy a used Nikon camera. Check it out at thorntree. lonelyplanet.com.
- Travelistic is the Youtube of travel. Users can create an account and upload their videos for free. But this site doesn’t just come in handy when showing people what you did on vacation; viewing other videos is a great way to research future destinations. Visit www.travelisticcomfor more.
- Kayak is a travel search engine that scans through hundreds of sites to find the best possible airfares. It’s quick and easy-to-use, with great deals inside North America. Log on to www.kayak.comfor more.
- Grid Skipper is an urban travel guide that “scours the globe for chic hotels, hot restaurants, sweet nightlife, and pretty people.” Recent articles include Drag Shows In Madrid and Best Make-Out Spots In San Francisco. Visit www.gridskipper.comfor more.
- BootsnAll calls itself the “ultimate guide for independent travellers.” It’s a bit heavy on advertising, but it does have country-specific travel guides, tips on round-the-world travel and travel blogs. Much like Thorn Tree, BootsnAll has an online community, made up of members from all over the world. Latest discussions include cheap train travel through Europe and how to fund your next trip. Check it out at www.bootsnall.com.
- Plug your destination into the What’s On When search bar to find upcoming music festivals and unusual traditions. From mud festivals in South Korea to the annual prune-pit spitters festival in France, www.whatsonwhen.comhas events from all over.
- One of the best ways to research a destination is to read the local news. The Paper Boy has links to major newspapers and magazines from around the world. For more, visit www.thepaperboy.com.
- 8. Wikitravel is a free online travel guide updated by users. Divided by destination, this site has a lot of background information and some travel tips. Go to www.wikitravel.org/enfor more.
- Virtual Tourist offers unbiased advice, for travellers by travellers, at www.virtualtourist.com.
- 10. The Travel Junkie is my personal site. Part travel blog, part online magazine, it showcases articles, photos, videos, travel tips and around-the-world travel experiences. Check it out at www.thetraveljunkie.ca.
Julia Dimon is editor of The Travel Junkie, an online magazine for independent travellers. She can be reached at www.thetraveljunkie.ca.