Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Online Resources for Planning Your Next Vacation

It’s that time of year again. Winter is loosening its grip on the northern hemisphere, we’re switching to daylight savings time and people are planning their yearly vacations.

The internet makes it easy to find out about various destinations, great deals, attractions, local customs and curiosities that might otherwise have escaped your attention or become an unpleasant surprise. But there is almost too much information to make up one’s mind. So where should you start?

Here is a small selection of websites that will hopefully help you filter for the best available deals and sights.

Spotted by Locals

city recomendationsSpotted by Locals covers 20 European cities and promises that you will experience cities like a local.

The articles are short and cover everything from art & culture, bars and music, to relaxing, shopping and theaters. The attractions of each city can be browsed by category or area / district.

New spotters are hand selected by existing contributors and a face to face meeting is a must before you can write for Spotted by Locals, representing your own city. They are currently looking for new spotters, maybe that would be you?


price comparisonOn trivago you can compare prices for hotels, browse the site for attractions, reviews and photos.

When comparing hotel prices in a given city on a specific date, you’ll be presented with a list of hotels on the right. To the left you can refine your search, for example by reducing the price range on a meter bar. When switching from Hotel to Attractions you’ll see a list of attractions for that very city and in the sidebar you can filter for bars, restaurants, museums etc. or pick specific places from the “browse box”, where all available attractions are pulled together and listed kind of like in a tag cloud.

The site operates based on member contributions. Each review is accompanied by a detailed rating and eventually photos. So whenever you return from a trip with novel experiences and great discoveries, this is where you can show off your travel expertise. :)


Info HubInfoHub describes itself as “the ultimate source for out-of-the-ordinary and inspiring travel ideas” and I must say they have a point.

This speciality travel guide is indeed a great resource for finding all sorts of professionally organized tours around the globe. Of course these offers are not free, but using the site and looking for options is totally free and absolutely recommended.

You can browse by country or popular vacations, such as eco tourism, hiking & trekking, photography & videography, scuba diving or sports. A more detailed selection is available in the quick vacation search or you simply search the site for keywords.

World Travel Guide

world travel guideAlthough this page loaded a bit slow when I tested it, it appeared to be the most thorough, informative and easy to use travel guide site for locations around the world.

First you pick a destination from the map, and then you select the type of guide you’re looking for to the right. Your options are country, city, airport, attraction, cruise and weather guides.

If there is anything you need to know about a destination, like key facts, public holidays, climate, top things to see & do, getting around by air, water, rail or on the road, this is where your inquisitiveness will be served with details, details and more details, packed in excellent articles, decorated with nice photos.

travel guides

Lonely Planet

lonely planetWhen embarking on an exciting vacation, how could anyone miss out on the Lonely Planet? This is the ultimate and meanwhile mainstream information resource to help you plan your trip.

The archives are huge and you’ll find tons of useful information, reviews, beautiful photos, and recommendations. Like on trivago you can search for hotels, but also for hostels and within the Travel Services you can find out about available insurances, tours, car & rail, view travel checklists (tips & tricks included) and much more.

As a signed up member of the site you can contribute to discussions in the forum. The forums are what really make the Lonely Planet homepage most unique. Here you can discuss your experiences, expectations or find company for your next adventure tour.

Although the Lonely Planet appears to cover it all, I found that World Travel Guide was more easy to use for tracking down information and InfoHub provided a much better selection of available trips. The point is, different sites are good for different purposes and each site has its pros and cons.

So are you serious about booking your vacation now? Last year Varun wrote about 5 Review Sites to Help You Find The Perfect Hotel and recently David covered 6 Useful Last-Minute Booking Sites For Your Next Trip.

1 comment:

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