With the rise of technology, and particularly the Internet, travel has changed. You can book a ticket without leaving the comfort of your own home, and connect with fellow travelers before you even depart.
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Here are 10 websites that will make travel planning easier, allow you to connect with locals, and reduce costs.
Triptrotting is an online platform that matches world-travelers to like-minded local hosts for unique travel experiences. It is open to university students and young professionals, who can sign up to use it either as a host, a traveler, or both. The website will match the person in question with other users that share similar interests. The screening process takes away any fear you might have about being matched with an illegitimate host and/or traveler.
Vagabondish.com recently took part in this year’s Ultimate Triptrotter contest where one lucky winner won a 4-week trip abroad! You can read Mike Richard’s feature here.
Similar to Triptrotting.com, Tripping.com allows members to connect with each other for travel tips, shared cups of coffee and even homestays. It prides itself on being “safe, free and good for the world.”
Cultural exchange, according to the founders, makes the world a better place. As such, Tripping.com seeks to bring people together, thereby weakening prejudice and encouraging understanding beyond borders. Safety is key and the site makes a promise to remain forever free to its users.
Tripatini has been praised as the “Facebook for travelers.” It’s a fun, free social network and blog where travelers and travel experts from across the planet hang out, share and learn how to travel better and smarter.
The part that I like most about the site are the groups. Given your interests and even your profession, you can sign up for different groups. For example, if you live in Spain or are interested in traveling there, you can join the “Spain” group. Similarly, if you are a journalist or travel industry professional, the Media Only! group can be a great way to connect and network with other travel professionals.
You may even find yourself getting a job through Tripatini. A great resource for those looking to get started, as well as those who have been in the business for a while.
TravBuddy is a free site for people who love to explore the world around them. You can use TravBuddy to find travel buddies, record travel experiences in travel blogs, or share travel tips with travel reviews.
Like the other two, it is free to use. You can take a tour here and find out why the site has already been featured in Budget Travel, The Guardian and other major media outlets.
A member of the Nile Guide Network, Localyte.com connects travelers with Localytes: local people and services in travel destinations. As the website explains:
A Localyte is a local person living in a travel destination who is passionate about sharing their knowledge with travelers. Some Localytes are simply people who are excited to meet and help travelers visiting their hometowns and countries; others help travelers full-time and charge for their services.
Particularly as a solo traveler, the Internet is incredibly useful. Connecting: Solo Travel Network is a website that does exactly what its name says: to connect solo travelers. I quote the three primary purposes of the website directly from the mission statement:
The First purpose of Connecting: Solo Travel Network is to encourage hospitality and networking, internationally, among people who travel without a partner.
The Second purpose of Connecting: Solo Travel Network is to report without bias about going solo vacation alternatives or any holiday option that can be designated sensitive towards the needs of people who travel alone.
The Third purpose of Connecting: Solo Travel Network is to foster the above concepts within the ideals of responsible tourism.
If you haven’t yet heard of the site, it is about time you did. Couchsurfing is a website that seeks to “Create Inspiring Experiences,” bringing travelers and hosts together. The latter are those that offer the former a couch, a place to stay, or simply someone to contact in the given destination.
#9: AFAR Connect
Similar to the above, AFAR Connect seeks to connect travelers with their destinations and the people that live there, be it natives or expats. You can ask travel-related questions, to be answered by local experts and experienced travelers.
Moreover, you can answer questions of others, sharing your knowledge of your favorite destinations and your hometown. It is a great way to connect.
You might also be interested to know that AFAR publishes its very own magazine, centered on experiential travel and learning experiences overseas.
While all of the above seek to connect travelers with the destination, when it comes down to it, you need to actually get to the place in question.
Farecompare.com is a great way to do exactly what the name says: to compare fares. You can do it directly online or sign up to receive an email every time that a new (and cheaper) offer is available for the flights, destinations and dates which you entered. Getting discounts makes travel so much more fun!