Best Travel Websites
Volker Poelzl, Living and Travel Abroad consulting contributing editor for TransitionsAbroad.com, selects his favorite travel, living, work, and study websites
Among my favorite Websites are dynamic web portals that provide user-generated travel content. It seems that over the past few years the Internet has begun to fulfill its potential as a collective pool of knowledge. While subjective and often personal, these stories, reviews, travelogues, and photo collections often provide other travelers with the flavor of local travel, culture, and experiences. These first-hand accounts give travelers a glimpse of the daily reality of traveling abroad, without the polished prose often found on conventional travel Websites. Many have active message boards and forums for travelers to post their own comments, experiences, and recommendations.
The blog format continues to grow tremendously as a segment of the Web—both
individual and collaborative—and those that explore travel as a topic seem to pop up daily with varying degrees of success or interest to the general audience. I have listed a few favorite blogs that are not just personal travelogues and travel stories, but which instead offer insightful comments and information.
Miicro-blogs such as ubiquitous Twitter, social networking sites such as Facebook, Podcasts, and the rich multimedia Youtube Website all offer new modes for surfers to exchange links and information of interest to fellow travelers. Meanwhile, travel-related apps for the iPhone and other portable devices are being created either from scratch or from evergreen content reformattted for easy access.
In this year’s selection I also have included Websites that help readers learn about the music, art, culture, and festivals of the countries they wish to visit. These Websites provide insight into the richness of local cultures and encourage travelers to include cultural events on their itineraries.
Travel Abroad Websites
Lonely Planet with its Thorn Tree Forum, www.lonelyplanet.com, is a well-rounded portal, with a busy and useful message board, and country information.
Rick Steves hosts www.ricksteves.com, an essential resource for culturally sensitive budget travel in Europe. The site includes a forum, travel tips, and a listing of festivals all across Europe.
Planeta.com, www.planeta.com, hosted by Transitions Abroad’s Latin American and Ecotourism contributing editor Ron Mader, provides articles, resources, and a forum of well-informed experts, with a focus on Latin America.
EthicalTraveler.org offers many fine articles and excellent information for those who wish to travel as ambassadors to those developing countries that truly support ecotourism and human rights.
ResponsibleTravel.com, www.responsibletravel.com, is a U. K.-based, online travel agent providing a directory of over 270 organizations and businesses that engage in responsible, sustainable, and ecological tourism activities.
World Hum, www.worldhum.com, is a collaborative blog offering travel news snapshots and inspirational travel stories, and was recently acquired by the Travel Channel..
Gadling.com is another interesting website with user-generated content, providing travel information and blogs on a variety of travel-related topics.
Journeywoman.com is a great resource for women travelers of all ages and backgrounds. The site is filled with articles, advice, and resources for the solo traveler as well as for those who wish to share in women-friendly group travel. WanderlustandLipstick.com, hosted by Beth Whitman, is a rich and growing blog and resource for women travelers.
The Long Trip Home, www.thelongtriphome.com, is a literary magazine for travelers, with well-written, personal travel stories by a handful of contributors.
Travel With a Challenge, www.travelwithachallenge.com, is the website of Transitions Abroad’s senior travel editor Alison Gardner, featuring selected alternative travel programs as well as articles, links, and news.
If you are looking for up-to-date travel articles and information, read the travel sections of the remaining national newspapers, many of which now reflect emerging alternative and budget travel interests, such as The New York Times travel section, The Washington Post travel section and the LA Times travel section. To read locally written travel articles about foreign destinations, visit the travel sections of English-language newspapers abroad by using online newspaper directories such as Kidon Media Link, www.kidon.com, and Online Newspapers, www.onlinenewspapers.com.
Travel for Kids, www.travelforkids.com, is a great resource if you travel with your children. The site covers over thirty countries listing activities and places to visit with your kids. My favorite feature is the list of children’s books for every country, both fiction and non-fiction, which is a great way for your children to learn about the country you are visiting.
Festivals, Culture, and Music Websites
Among my favorite sites are those that provide a look into the richness of foreign cultures and traditions. There are a growing number of travel websites that list festivals and cultural events around the world—a great tool to find out what’s going on at your destination while you are there. Among the most comprehensive listings of festivals are Whatsonwhen, www.whatsonwhen.com; The Festivals and Holidays listings of the About.com’s Travel section; 2Camels.com, which provides listings, information, and articles about festivals and events worldwide; and World Party, worldparty.roughguides.com.
For those interested in learning about the music of the country they wish to visit, there are also several great choices:
Global Rhythm, www.globalrhythm.net, is the website of the monthly music magazine featuring coverage of world music, film, cuisine, and travel.
National Geographic, www.nationalgeographic.com, has a section on World Music, worldmusic.nationalgeographic.com/worldmusic, allowing readers to listen to song samples from around the world.
Putumayo World Music, www.putumayo.com, as well as Rough Guides, www.roughguides.com (in conjunction with World Music Network), offer a growing selection of world music from around the world. Both of these are great websites to prepare musically for your trip.
Blogs from Abroad
There are several websites that host travel blogs, forums, travel stories, and provide travel advice and information for independent travelers—among them are: BootsnAll Travel, www.bootsnall.com; My Trip Journal.com, www.mytripjournal.com (check out the editors’ choice of Best Personal Travel Websites); TravelPod.com, www.travelpod.com; TravelPost.com, www.travelpost.com; Travel Blog, www.travelblog.org; Travellerspoint.com, www.travellerspoint.com; and Travelblogs.com, www.travelblogs.com.
Rolf Potts’ blog, vagablogging.net, is an enlightening and lively blog covering many aspects of travel, from advice to his books and stories to essays and commentaries about issues concerning travelers—not to mention perhaps the best collection of interviews of travel writers on the Web.
Transitions Abroad columnist Tim Leffel hosts an award-wining blog, www.cheapestdestinationsblog.com, where he covers practical budget travel trends and tips. His webzine, Perceptive Travel, www.perceptivetravel.com, features fine independent travel writing along with reviews of world music and travel literature.
There are many free podcasts that provide useful information for travelers. Several well-known travel and news websites offer podcasts now, such as:
Frommers Podcasts (www.frommers.com/rss/frommers_podcast.xml), Rough Guides Podcasts (available on iTunes), Lonely Planet Podcasts (www.lonelyplanet.com/podcasts/travelcast.xml), AP Travel Tips and Trends (Associated Press), available on iTunes, and Travel with Rick Steves, (podcasts.ricksteves.com/ricksteves.xml). There are also great podcasts by less-known websites and individuals that are worth listening to. Among my favorites are Amateur Traveler Podcast by Chris Christensen (www.amateurtraveler.com); Hostelworld.com Podcasts (www.hostelworld.com/podcasts); Travelography: World Travel and Tourism News (podcasternews.com/feeds/travelography.xml); and The Indie Travel Podcast, (indietravelpodcast.com), a weekly show with travel ideas and advice for independent travelers.
Study Abroad Websites
The database search engines provided by www.goabroad.com, www.iiepassport.org, www.studyabroad.com, www.studyabroadlinks.com, www.worldwide.edu, and www.planetedu.com all provide listings of schools and universities worldwide. Check them all out to determine which one best suits your needs. The Institute of International Education (IIE) Open Doors Network, opendoors.iienetwork.org, provides interesting statistics and articles on all aspects of study abroad.
I’d also like to mention our own study abroad section at TransitionsAbroad.com, which is a great source of unfiltered first-hand information about studying abroad and educational travel for all ages.
Living Abroad Websites
Expat Blog, www.expat-blog.com, is a worldwide directory of blogs related to expatriate life.
Tales from a Small Planet, www.talesmag.com, is a webzine with news, stories, links, excellent message boards, and other resources for travelers and expatriates.
Work Abroad Websites
Transitions Abroad’s own website, TransitionsAbroad.com, is a great resource to help you find work abroad, from teaching English, internships, and volunteer work, to corporate careers.
Transitions Abroad’s Work Abroad editor William Nolting’s University of Michigan website, internationalcenter.umich.edu/swt/, is packed with the best resources for students, graduates, and independent travelers of all ages to research work abroad and study abroad opportunities.
www.totalesl.com offers an innovative job search engine for ESL teachers.
Dave’s ESL Café, www.daveseslcafe.com, provides resources for ESL teachers and students, with an active forum and lots of resources.
Idealist.org, www.idealist.org, lists volunteer opportunities worldwide, along with advice and job boards.
Monster.com now has international job listings at globalgateway.monster.com.
Note: Please feel free to add your favorites to our list and we will review them.
|Transitions Abroad has compiled a list of our favorite Websites in even more expansive detail below:
| The Best Travel Resource Websites
| The Best Travel Mode Websites
| The Best Work Abroad Websites
| The Best Study Abroad Websites
| The Best Living Abroad Websites