Wikitravel provides you with excellent information on any country, region, city, neighborhood, everything – plus, it’s all crowd-sourced from travelers like us! Most Wikitravel pages are split between what you should understand, how to get in and get around, what to see, what to do, what to buy, what and where to eat and drink, and even has recommendations for places to sleep and how to stay safe! If you’re not using Wikitravel, you’re missing out on an immense resource!
This may seem like a strange recommendation for a page filled with travel links, but for me the SoundHound app on my iPhone is simply something I cannot do without! I know they say smell is the sense most closely linked to memory, and while that may be true, music has the power to take me back in time to remember the feeling, the location(s), my companions at the time…it’s truly indispensable while I travel. If I’m in a bar having a great time, I may end up soundhound’ing 10 songs and will download them when I get home and put them all into a playlist! When I get nostalgic for those times, I put on that playlist and I’m right back there! Give it a try – it will be a nice addition to your photos and memories of your vacation! (App available on all smartphone platforms, and even if you don’t have mobile internet while you’re abroad, SoundHound will save the recording and you can search it when you get back to wifi!)
I would be lying through my teeth if I didn’t say I’ve used tripadvisor a few times! It really is a great resource, and the ability to search by map for restaurants or sights or bars around you is very helpful indeed. Plus, some of the reviews have hidden gems such as “don’t miss” recommendations from fellow travelers! Takes some searching, but has definitely helped me in the past!
Couchsurfing is a fantastic way to meet locals and other travelers alike! I haven’t had the opportunity to actual “couch surf” yet – meaning to stay at a fellow CSer’s house, but I have attended a few of their meetups in Paris and have met some of the nicest people and made great friends! I plan on using this service a lot in the future to help stay on budget during long trips!
I used to hostelworld to book all of my stays for my month in Italy. Their reviews are from fellow travelers and really let you know what to expect. Most of them have pictures and all ratings are averaged on 6 categories: character, security, location, staff, atmosphere, cleanliness. I found some AWESOME hostels on this website that led me to have an incredible vacation!
I use Lonely planet for their articles, not necessarily their recommendations or information on destinations (I prefer wikitravel over LP for that any day!). They have some awesome posts that may help you find your next vacation! i.e. – on their homepage the day this was written: “The Perfect Trip to Catalonia” – tells the best beaches, tapas, and scenery! This website is definitely worth your time and a great addition to the ones mentioned above. (side note: I wouldn’t use them to book any of your hotels or flights – there are better options out there)
The Matador Network is probably my single most visited travel website. There are posts from community members, from other bloggers, and from people just wanting to share advice. The front page is updated constantly with new stories and posts. It is catered [on the average] to young and adventurous travelers, but it also has some great articles on what is happening in the greater travel community!
Click on the OnlineUniversities logo above to be taken to a page of more than “100 open courses to learn any new language.” If you’re going on a long trip to a single country with a language other than your own – you OWE IT TO YOURSELF to learn at least SOMETHING in that language!
This is one of those things that people will debate with you all over the place, but I find Kayak the easiest website to find the best price on plane tickets. I have to admit, though, that I don’t buy plane tickets often, because I love the trains here in Europe and you get to see and experience a bit more of the land you’re in. But obviously, getting over an ocean requires a plane these days – and there is where I would use Kayak. You can put in flexible dates (see what the month looks like? Just +/- 3 days from a specific date?) and a calendar will show up showing you the cheapest flights for any particular day. For example, I just did a search for a flight from Paris to New: Sunday: $947; Monday: $698. I think keeping a few flexible days in there is worth saving ~$250, don’t you?