Planning a trip or searching for ideas will often find you in front of the computer for hours wading through Google. This list of top 10 travel Web sites will transform you into a travel professional, whether you're looking for a five-star resort or a trip on a budget.
From destination ideas to flight choices, insight, and itineraries, here's a look at some of the best sites on the web for travel.
We've organized some of our favorites by category. Have a look, and feel free to share some of your recommended sites in the comments below!
It might not be the most accurate information, but WikiTravel will give you the quick and dirty on most locations throughout the world. WikiTravel will tell you the best way to get around, what to see and do, and recommend accommodations from basic camping to the luxurious splurge. However, it's best to double check the information with another site once you've got the basics down.
Everyone wants to make sure they got the best deal on the flight. You could spend hours scouring the Internet through all the travel sites just to make sure no one's getting a better deal than you. Here's a better idea: Introducing Kayak, whose catch phrase, search one and done, says it all. Kayak also pulls up low-cost airlines such as JetBlue that other travel sites don't search.
Matador could be listed under most of the categories here because it has everything a travel site needs, including forums, blogs, news and travel writing. One of the best features is trip ideas, where users can sort through topics, like art and design, or by the region they're interested in. Feature articles and videos are then listed on that topic or region.
Free, a word one loves to hear that's hardly ever combined with the word travel. CouchSurfing is a website where people all over the world offer up their couch or even a spare bedroom to visitors. It may sound a bit sketchy - and many are wary of the idea - but there are verified renters and reviews along with profiles of those with available rooms.
Budget travel doesn't have to mean dorm-style hostels, although it can. HostelBookers offers travelers a Web site with no booking fees (take that Hostel World) with many different types of accommodations. Many of the options on the Web site are not hostels, but rather affordable hotels which are often a great idea for those traveling in groups. The best thing about this site, is users often post reviews that perspective bookers can base their decision on.
For those who want to escape in style, Luxury Link is the perfect travel site. It offers hotel and cruise packages and even an auction where visitors can bid on discounted vacations at the world's top resorts. The site also has articles on hotels based on destination or interest, such as the best exotic golf locations.
Volunteer, Study, and Work Opportunities
For those interested in volunteer opportunities, international jobs, or studying abroad, start at Transitions Abroad. Say you're interested in volunteer opportunities abroad; you can browse by region or country, featured programs, or scan through tons of informational articles written by those who have been there and done that.
While there are certainly a plethora of travel communities, BootsnAll is at the top of the list (at least we think so!). The community has poignant, funny, and certainly well-traveled writers that contribute to the site with travel articles and destination information.
Whether you're an aspiring travel writer, or you just want to live vicariously through the words of a traveler, World Hum may be the site for you. Each piece tells a different journey with a unique point of view. The site is refreshing in a travel world full of schedules, basic guides, and clichés.
Reviews are important in booking any trip because luxurious seaside resort can often mean 60's motel miles from the beach. Trip Advisor is the perfect choice because of the honesty and amount of reviews. Almost any hotel can be found on the site, and TripAdvisor reviews are often within the top Google search results for a hotel.
Have any more suggestions? Feel free to share in the comments below!