Top 50 travel websites
comment 8 Written by on May 8, 2011 – 7:55 pm

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The Independent published their list of 50 Best Travel Websites last week. At the time, I was off exploring Misiones, northern Argentina, so this is a belated catch-up.

As some readers have pointed out on the Twitter, it’s frustrating that the online version isn’t accessible as a straight list and instead you have to click through 50 times. I think it’s worth a couple of minutes of effort though.

The list was curated by travel writer Rhiannon Batten, with input from Mr & Mrs Smith‘s Juliet Kinsman, Pat Riddell from National Geographic Traveller, TravMedia‘s Howard Salinger, my one-time boss, Time Out‘s Ruth Jarvis, and me. Here are the sites I put forward for inclusion that made the final cut.

ACCOMMODATION

Unusualhotelsoftheworld.com – Bringing together treehouses, igloos and coverted trams, this is a fun site that’s worth exploring, even if you’re not planning to go anywhere. An interesting, imaginative hotel can really make a trip and become primary reason for choosing a specific destination. I have been a fan of this site for a long time and have watched it grow.

OneFineStay.com – This cleverly named site matches up paying travellers with out-of-town Londoners. Not only do you get to stay in their plush pad, you also benefit from the services of a hotel, including a concierge that will ride to your door by scooter. I have been impressed with this site from the offset. It currently has a narrow focus (just London), but I can see it growing to expand into other countries. I also like it because I hate to see properties in the centre of a city lie empty.

HotelHaiku.com – Hotels reviews by haiku sounds painfully pretentious, but one of the main motivations is to strip down the overwhelming amount of information we are bombarded with in hotel searches. That means no user-generated content, just a few words and some lovely pictures. Even more unusual is that the site has set opening hours, closing at night and on Sundays, in an attempt to defeat the content scrapers and copycats. Any travel bods on Twitter would have seen this one circulating like mad when it first launched, amid a whirlwind of praise. I wasn’t convinced at first and I still think I’d probably want more than a haiku to base my booking on. But then I thought some more and I do admire someone who is bucking trends, turning their back to Google, and making us question our internet habits.

TRANSPORT

Hipmunk.com – I included this one before the company started putting adverts everywhere you look online (a la Groupon). I like the fact it gives you an overview of prices and possible routes. You may not choose to book through it, but it’s a interesting first port of call. (As a side note, I was on the easyJet website this week for the first time in ages and I very much like the fact that it has a three-day view, a three-week view and a year view of possible prices, thus catering for the needs of spontaneous and long-term/flexible travellers. It may have had this for ages, but it’s been a while since I booked a European flight and I would like to see this feature on more airline sites.)

80trains.com – This was a more niche, personal addition to the transport category. I love overland travel and would have welcomed the tips on this site for a rail trip I once did across South India.

ADVICE

Tripbod.com – Another site of which I have been a long-term fan, both now and in its previous form as YourSafePlanet.com. For a small fee, Tripbod gets someone in-situ to plan your trip and divulge local knowledge. A great idea for saving time and getting bespoke advice. I notice I wasn’t the only panelist to tip this one.


101holidays.co.uk
– I love the clarity of this site and it’s also fun to use. When you want a break but aren’ t sure where, just put in your favourite style of holiday and price range, then let it do the rest.

GREEN & ETHICAL TRAVEL

Greentraveller.co.uk – Another site I’ve admired for ages. Going stronger than ever since its redesign. Packed with inspirational trips and reviews on green places to stay.

SOCIAL NETWORKING

Couchsurfing – This was my most predictable inclusion. I wanted to draw attention to the new-look events page that makes it easy to see who is organising social meet-ups in the area you are visiting.

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8 Responses to “Top 50 travel websites”

  1. We’re happy to have been selected, and to be in such great company. Thanks for the ongoing support Vicky!

  2. Hi Vicky – Great post, thanks for bringing this to my attention, found loads of cool new sites. One glaring omission though – and I can understand why as its a horrible beast of a site – is Trip Advisor. I know it is full of nutters and skewed ratings but it should still get into the top 50 simply because so many people still uses it to some degree and the concept is a great one.

  3. Thanks Liz. And thanks Roger. Tripadvisor – for better or worse – would certainly among the top 50 most popular. However, I had the intention of sharing sites that people may not have heard of, as well as including some new twists on established sites (such as focusing on Couchsurfing’s event page, rather than just saying simply that Couchsurfing.com exists).
    A fair call though, and the best thing about any top five or 10 or 50 is that it gets people debating what they would have put in instead. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Sweet list .. love it! But hey were is our site on it .. heheh 😉 We miss Buenos Aires!!!

  5. Excellent article, Excellent list! I hope tipmytrip.com can make it some day 🙂

  6. This is nice list of travel sites and very useful information you are sharing in that post for visitors.Thanks for all you do and share.

  7. Some great websites mentioned here. I haven’t heard of some of these so even better! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Thank you some good sites here. Nice to see the 80 trains website up there, great book and I hope more people read it.

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