Planning a holiday? Don’t know where to start? The world is literally at your fingertips! The internet offers more information and travel planning sites than you can ever hope to read. Here are some of our favorite web resources and tools to building a better travel plan.
Need to find a good place to eat in New York or chic hotel in Honolulu? The popular site tripadvisor.com offers traveller-submitted comments and ratings on hotels, restaurants and destinations worldwide. It’s a great resource for planning your holiday before you leave – just be sure to read some of the comments to ensure the recommended amenity is the right choice for you and your family. A hotel catering to business travellers may not meet your family’s travel needs, and vice versa.
Kayak – This powerful site allows you to choose the cheapest flights, hotels, vacation packages and more by comparing a wide variety of other travel sites, such as hotels.ca and travelocity.com, and listing the best deals from all of them for you to choose from. A fantastic and time-saving travel planning resource.
Is your seat on that 10-hour flight to Paris next to the toilets at the back of the plane? Not good. Avoid the red zones of poor seating with a quick search on the practical and handy seatguru.com. Listing all the major airlines and showing their seatmaps on each aircraft, this site will assist you in finding a good seat to park your, um, seat, no matter how long your voyage.
Expedia.ca is the Canadian-based travel planning site of its American cousin, that offers online booking of flights, hotels, car rentals and other travel-related activities. Its Insiders’ Select hotel listings are searchable by destination and offer traveller reviews on recommended accommodation options.
Travel guru Rick Steves maintains a great website, packed with information and tips from Rick’s travels in (mainly) Europe and the Middle East over the past 30 years. The comments on his site’s Graffiti Wall offer high-quality personal recommendations and referrals from other travellers, on every subject you can think of.
Google Maps brings the power of customized route planning to your computer and mobile phone. You can find the quickest – or slowest – way from A to B, and Google will map out your directions, calculate tolls, measure distances and estimate travel times. You can also click to add layers of local photos, webcams and videos. Talk about virtual travel!
Another great mapping resource is Via Michelin, which focuses primarily on European route planning. Its scenic route option is a great planning tool, and its restaurant recommendations complement its famous printed dining guides.
What are your go-to travel research sites? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments below.