Throughout the ages, you could quickly tell an experienced traveler from what they choose to bring with them in their luggage. In the same way, the most highly skilled modern travelers can be judged on the bookmarks they have saved on their computer’s browser. Here are 10 essential sites that every traveler should visit when planning a trip.
Why pay for a trip if there is a chance you can take it for free. That was the premise behind consumer’s widespread use of frequent flier programs and other loyalty point schemes. Today, most travelers have so many accounts that it can become a nightmare keeping track of all of them and making sure they don’t expire. This service does that and allows you to quickly assess your status in each program to see if you have earned any awards.
If you have ever been stuck in an airline seat that will not recline, you know why someone invented this website. The creators of this valuable tool have tried hard to produce a seat map of every type of aircraft flown by each airline. Before selecting a seat, always consult this site to learn the benefits and drawbacks of your selection. It might not seem like such a big deal on short flights, but having a substandard seat a long trip can really ruin your day.
3. Great Circle Mapper
Do you know if it takes less time in the air to fly from Los Angeles to Mumbai via Tokyo or through London? How many frequent flier miles will you receive on your trip from Houston to Anchorage via Chicago? The Great Circle mapper is a quick and easy way to figure out these and other questions that plague travelers staring at inaccurate two dimensional representations of our planet.
Have you ever had the experience of seeing your flight listed as on-time, but there is no sign of it at the gate? Where is your plane? Using this website, you can figure out those mysteries and you will probably end up knowing a lot more about the flight than those working at the airport. Other uses include tracking flights that are transporting those you are meeting at the airport.
When it comes to searching large combinations of flight schedules among different airlines, this is a great meta-search site for finding low airfares. You can think of it as the Google of airfares for their comprehensive search of so many different carriers and travel agent sites.
This site is not just great for settling bets and helping kids with their homework, there are some valuable travel tools in there as well. If you need to quickly find out what cities are served non-stop by which airlines from a particular airport, just look up the page for each airport. The airline’s web pages are filled with important information on destinations, aircraft types, and their safety records.
This site is similar to Wikipedia, but it focuses on information that is most relevant to travelers. This is a good source for determining which methods of transportation are available to and from airports, as well as finding service on buses, trains, and ferries.
8. Trip Advisor
Never book a hotel room before scanning the latest reviews on this site. Even if it is a great hotel, you can still learn valuable information about the best rooms to ask for in order to avoid various issues such as loud areas, and un-publicized surcharges. Remember to review these reports carefully, looking for common threads that will directly affect your trip, rather than sporadic reports from nit-picking travelers that might actually be planted by their competitors.
When traveling, you can simply eat out by stopping in to the first place you find that looks nice, or you can spend a few moments doing a little bit of research first and find a place to eat that is coveted by the locals. Like all of the user review sites, take individual reviews with a grain of salt and look for an overall pattern to emerge.
This is the ultimate site where frequent fliers help each other out while exchanging their best tips and tricks. The focus here is often on miles and other loyalty points, and the long time users have developed their own lingo. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of visitors to this forum who are eager to help out a newcomer, so long as he or she takes the time to learn the rules and spend a few minutes searching for their answers first before asking for help.
The Internet is probably the greatest resource for travelers since the invention of the airplane. By connecting so many people with so many innovative and valuable sources of information, we can plan our trips with a convenience unprecedented in the history of travel.