Top 10 Travel Websites

Chris’ personal picks from places in the world that he has visited.

I seem to spend as much time travelling the Web these days as I do travelling the Globe. Sad, but true. These are my top ten websites that make this part of my life more organized, more cost effective and definitely more enjoyable. Imagine one site with over 205,000 properties in more than 60 countries, from international hotel chains and all-inclusive resorts to local favorites and bed & breakfasts…This is the one! There’s also Welcome Rewards, Best Deals, a Price Match Guarantee, a mobile app. And a user-friendly booking engine that is backed up by a call centre staffed with real people! I love this site for its added value deals from short breaks in Canada to packaged, all inclusive vacations down south. I use this site because it’s simple and easy to use, the deals are genuinely and dependably excellent value, the Jaunts are not just hotel stays, they are experiential and the 14 day no quibble guarantee is proof of their customer focus. Canada’s largest online travel provider and a wise site to buy your travel needs if you prefer the convenience of the internet to the personal service of a travel agent. Design “Your Trip, Your Way” by choosing from over 130 airlines, 145,000 hotels and countless options for car rentals, destination activities, pre-packaged vacations and more. This is my ‘go to’ site when researching my Travel Show destinations. To my mind, the Frommer’s team strike the right balance between being informative and entertaining and exist comfortably in both printed guides and in the online world. Arthur Frommer has recently retaken possession of his creation, so expect only better things to come. Home of the Roaming Gnome in the ads, this site is the only one to offer unpublished, or “opaque,” hotel bookings without the hassle of a bidding process. My favourite part of the site is the Deals Toolkit. This suite of cost saving tools makes it easier to find the best values based on your preferences and flexibility. ExperienceFinder is a pretty cool feature too! This is billed as the world’s largest travel site, featuring reviews and advice on hotels, resorts, flights, holiday rentals, holiday packages, travel guides, and lots more. The numbers are staggering: more than 200 million unique monthly visitors, over 100 million reviews, 14 million photos - and opinions on over 400,000 locations around the world. This social media site has recently exploded onto the scene and is perfect for virtual travellers. You don’t have to create your own boards of photos – although doing so is very easy and great fun – you just enter your dream destination in the ‘Search’ box and the site brings you a feast of gorgeous images that will make you want to leave for the airport immediately. And check out the Travel Show boards too! I’m not sure how I ever lived before Google Maps…I use this site daily and still find new features being added. As a basic how-to-get-from-A-to-B it’s unsurpassed. But it’s also wonderful to simply take virtual flights of fancy around the world and view the millions of photos linked by location. And it also tells me when my local bus will be arriving! This is a fun site for all world travellers! Using Google mapping technology, users are transported to a location anywhere in the world and they then have to guess where they are by moving the image around, picking up any visual clue available. Place your guess on a world map and see how close – or outrageously faraway – you really are. Well – I couldn’t leave this one out, could I? The Travel Show website has something for everyone interested in travel. Details of great trip prizes each week, over 165 destinations with pages of planning info, travel book reviews, travel articles and ‘Top Ten’ lists, interviews with travel experts, travel blogs and podcasts of past Travel Shows.