There are thousands of travel sites on the net. Most are worthy at best, humdrum and downright boring at worst. Everyone knows the ‘big kahunas’ like Trip Advisor and Expedia but what about the hiden gems?
Here’s NMTBP’s ‘magnificent seven‘ sites for those diamonds in the rough
Mr and Mrs Smith
The upmarket weekenders’ bible: hundreds of highly recommended (and anonymously reviewed) boutique hotels around the world at www.mrandmrssmith.com
Award-winning website (www.blacktomato.co.uk), rightly so, of this young London-based agency. Insider tips, a superb ideas generator, great pictures and a “Panic Button” for when you need travel inspiration fast
The Man in Seat 61
Routes, tickets, tips and advice at www.seat61.com - the only guide you will ever need to travelling by train from the UK to Europe and the rest of the world
A free service, www.momondo.com is possibly the most powerful airline price-comparison site. Not a travel agency and they don’t sell flight tickets. They just search flights across sites and link you to the airline or agency with the best deal. Scans hundreds of agents and airlines across the world for the best deal to your destination. Good graphical interface so you can see if there’s a cheaper fare the day before or after
Find inspiration on pocketvillage.com, which collects the offers of niche travel providers from around the globe, and has a search engine that lets you enter individual specifications – duration, budget, activity. It amounts to a pretty slick product for the often fragmented adventure travel market
If you want to stay in a flying-saucer-shaped cabin in Wisconsin, a windmill on Santorini or a house in the Lake District that featured on Grand Designs, holidaypad.net will sort you out. You can’t book directly, so think of it more as inspiration, with links to the websites of unique, unusual places to stay across the globe.
Superb idea, this is a find-a-sofa, make-new-friends site for travellers who would like to meet the locals. Originally a way of bagging a couch for the night, www.couchsurfing.com has expanded into a social networking site where people are just as happy to meet up for a beer and tour of the city. Predominantly younger users but independently minded oldies like us are now starting to sign up in droves
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