Best Travel Websites
Now offering more flexibility, deeper information, and unheard-of prices, the web is still changing travel for the better.
once travelers looked to the web simply for last-minute airfares or cut-rate
hotel rooms, today the online possibilities are dizzying: you can access your
itinerary on pretty much any device, from your laptop and BlackBerry to your
iPad and television; immediately tap into the local scene via location-based
technology; or instantly share images and videos with 100 of your closest
friends on social-networking sites.
the past year, we’ve scoured travel websites looking for the best of the bunch,
from tried-and-true classics to brand-new standouts that are revolutionizing
the way we plan and take our trips.
major booking engines—Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity—all debuted smart new
services in an attempt to stay ahead of the competition in 2010. Expedia’s
Unpublished Rates feature, for example, offers discounts of up to 55 percent on
more than 25,000 hotels. Orbitz’s new hotel search now incorporates everything
from street-view images to amenity filters. And Travelocity now offers users
“top secret” listings for rooms that are up to 45 percent off rates, revealing
the hotel name upon booking.
after more than two decades of DIY online booking, we finally have some serious
quality filters: membership-only sites and personalized trip planning are
making sure your vacation doesn’t turn into some kind of web-special nightmare.
Vacationist.com, a free
invitation-only site by Travel + Leisure and LuxuryLink, offers members
up to 60 percent off top hotels around the world. You can get travel perks with
Founderscard.com for $495, and
expert travel advice from Indagare.com starts at $275.
A new crop of websites and mobile-based services offers
coupons and daily deals at restaurants, bars, and spas in cities across the
country. Scoutmob.com posts a new bargain each day; Wahanda.com features great spa promotions in
cities throughout the U.S.; and New York City–based
Yipit.com aggregates listings from deal sites in one daily e-mail.
Ever ahead of the digital curve, Google continues to offer great ways to help you travel. Google Translate can decode a menu,
phrase, or travel site within seconds, and the new Google Voice gives you a free
voice-over-Internet phone number that can receive forwarded calls. You can even
make international calls from your smartphone at rock-bottom rates.
of the best digital travel innovations aren’t even websites. Today, it’s even
possible to create your own Wi-Fi hot spot—no matter where you are—using small
devices that connect to mobile networks, such as Clearwire’s superfast 4G iSpot
and Virgin Mobile’s prepaid MiFi 2200. As an alternative to exorbitant roaming rates,
new affordable rental services like XComGlobal's MiFi Global Hotspot give you unlimited
personal Wi-Fi around the world for $17.95 a day.
No matter where you go these days, the web can go with you and make travel
easier, more affordable, and definitely more fun.