It has been a while since I have posted to my blog, after Africa I needed a rest. I see all these top ten travel sites and thought I ought to come up with my own top ten. Here they are
1. Tripadvisor.com is at the top of my list and should be the top of any traveler’s list. Not only is it a great place to find great lodging but by posting on their forums I have gotten a lot of questions answered and made a lot of really good contacts.
2. Homeaway.com and vrbo.com come in a close second because I love to rent houses and condo when I travel for several reasons.
– First you end up with a lot more space for less than you can get a hotel room. I just rented a beautiful three bedroom penthouse apartment in the Miraflores area in Lima Peru for $100 per night. The lowest room cost in the Marriot that is a block away was $210 per night
– Second you can cook your own meals which also saves money. I love it when you can stay in luxury for a budget price!
3. Homeexchange.com is also one of my favorite ways to find lodging. If you have a vacation home or are willing to do a simultaneous exchange with your personal home or even a hospitality visit where you have some new guests that you host. I have had some wonderful exchange experiences and made some very close long term friends using home exchange.
4. Hotwire.com and Priceline.com are my choice if you plan on staying in a hotel. I check hotwire first and see what the price is for the quality of hotel I am looking for and then go into Priceline and bid about $20 less for the same quality and area. If I don’t get it on Priceline, I go back and book it on Hotwire. Biddingfortravel.com is a great place to get more info on what prices are being accepted by Priceline hotels and other info on bidding.
5. Kayak.com and Bing.com/travel are where I go for flights or cars. Bing is great because on a lot of flights they have an indicator that tells you whether the price for your flight is expected to go up or down in the next 7 days. I like the interface with Kayak better so I usually only use Bing to get an indicator of what the price is doing. For cars I will reserve a car under Kayak and then when I get to the airport I will check with a couple of companies and see if they will give a better “on the spot” rate.
6. Couchsurfing.org comes in sixth. This is a great way to find a couch if that’s your bag, not that sleeping on someone’s couch is my bag but this is a great site to get to get local information and make local friends. Note, you do have to sign up and get verified. This is to keep the creeps away.
7. StumbleUpon.com is a great site to find unique and cool travel sites. Just set your interest to “travel” and stumble away.
8. Caretaker.org or the Caretaker’s Gazette is a subscription service that costs $29.95 per year. They collect ads from people who are looking for a caretaker of their residence around the world. This is a great site to find a place to land for a long stay. Some opportunities even pay you to do various chores or upkeep.
9. Earthwatch.org is a really cool site if you would like to get involved in scientific research while traveling. Scientists who need hands and funding to complete their research post their projects here. You can sign up to study the cheetahs in Africa or do an archeological dig in Europe. Each project lists details about the cost, length of stay, accommodations and what the scientist is trying to accomplish.
10. TripIt.com is a great site for designing a travel itinerary online that you can print out or share with others. Great for keeping track of your flights, lodging and activities. When you sign up for this service it will put a tab on your browser that will all you to click on “Add To TripIt” which will capture the site in your tripit profile, later you can assign those websites to a trip. This is a great way to research and pull all the information together in one place quickly and easily. This service is free, there is a more advanced version called TripIt Pro for $49 per year which enhances your options including sending you alerts when there are flight delays, finding alternative flights quickly, tracking all your frequent traveler information and a few other services.