It pays to be prepared no matter where you’re traveling. Sure, some of that preparation involves packing your bags well and notifying everyone that you’ll be on a vacation, but knowing exactly where to go is just as important.
While traveling where the road takes you is all good and well, tourism is a lucrative business, and every popular tourist destination has its share of swindlers looking to make a pretty penny off of visitors. In order to avoid becoming one of those unfortunate adventurers who end up paying $50 for a latte and sharing a hotel bedroom with cockroaches, here are the best travel review sites to check out before buying a ticket.
TripAdvisor.com: Like Yelp, TripAdvisor is powered almost entirely by user reviews – if you’re looking for impressions, the site is a must-check. Aside from merely reviewing various destinations, establishments and landmarks, many users will actually create mini travel guides that help would-be travelers get to all the most attractive locations without issue. The site works just as well on mobile devices, so you’ll be able to check locations as you travel. Also, anyone can contribute to the site – if you’ve had a bad experience, you’re encouraged to share it with others there. While the site has a clear lack of booking options available, it’s hard to fault such a treasure trove of useful information.
Booking.com: Did someone mention booking? If you’ve traveled in the past, there’s a good chance you used Booking.com to find your choice of lodging. If you didn’t, you should have – the site really takes the hassle out of finding a room as all of the world’s top lodging options are always just a few clicks away. Like TripAdvisor, Booking features powerful mobile integration that lets you make last-minute on-the-go check-ins no matter your current location. On top of these useful features, the site also boasts concise user reviews that rate every individual part of an establishment.
LastMinuteTravel.com: Speaking of last minute… Contrary to what the name might have you think, LastMinuteTravel doesn’t revolve as much around rushed bookings as it does about creating a complete package. Much of the site focuses on finding cheap quality lodging options, including those that aren’t readily-available elsewhere – through a unique ‘secret’ booking scheme, travelers can save over 50% on rooms in top-notch establishments, making this a great option for those aiming to save money. While it seems a bit ironic that the site features lackluster mobile integration, LastMinuteTravel makes up for this by letting you book every stage of your journey in one place.
Kayak.com: Another site that deviates from its name, Kayak hardly revolves around floatation devices – in fact, its cruise-searching options are among its biggest downsides. If you’re not looking for a cruise, however, Kayak shines by indexing various other travel sites in order to find you the exact type of deal you want. Some take issue with the fact that booking options and reviews revolve around hotels and flights only, but this goes in line with the site’s minimalistic nature.