Most people won’t book a holiday without going on Trip Advisor or Expedia first, but there are loads of exciting travel sites out there and you shouldn’t limit yourself to these two giants. Next time you’re booking a trip, have a look at some of these, you never know what you might discover.
Triptease has the look of a glossy magazine with a real emphasis on photography, which makes a refreshing change from the usual information overload you get on the internet. Written by people who have actually been to the places, rather than a journalist sat in an office, you can expect honest reviews from real travellers. You can search for reviews by themes such as “romance”, “beachy” or “big cities” and browse through their top selection of destinations and read travellers favourite restaurants, hotels and cities. www.triptease.com
This great site allows you get travel inspiration as well as information. The homepage features a handy set of sliders so you can see which destinations are best for shopping, dining or outdoor activities. Pushing the slider for “arts and culture” up to ten for example will bring up Florence in Italy as number one. From here you can go onto the Florence site and find all the practical info you could want: temperatures, things to do and even some very handy insider tips. www.simonseeks.com
One of the best places for top tips is Virtual Tourist. If you’re planning a trip, you can select the continent you’re thinking of going to and read pros and cons in a nutshell. When clicking on a particular city, you get a menu along the side allowing you to look up specific information like common tourist traps and off the beaten path places to visit. www.virtualtourist.com
If glossy hotel brochure pictures make you suspicious, you’ll probably appreciate what Oyster has to offer. Their “photo fakeouts” section compares what you see on hotel and restaurant websites with what the place is actually like, so there will be no nasty surprises when you turn up. There are also some great snaps of hotels in cities all over the world and you can search by area of the city, or by the type of hotel you’re looking for, like boutique or luxury. www.oyster.com
The thing that sets Travel Eye apart is the sheer range of criteria you can use to search for destinations by. You can search for destinations with plenty of famous landmarks or luxury accommodation and let the site do all the hard work for you. If you already know where you want to go, you can just type the name of the city in and get a list of top things to do, practical information about the country as well as those all-important pictures. www.traveleye.com