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Online research is the cornerstone of all of our planning for upcoming trips. There is a wealth of information available online that you can use to make the most of your holiday. Obviously, guide books are great but will only get you so far (check out our post on whether guide books are still worth it) particularly when it comes to up to date information about your chosen destination. But where to start? When planning any trip we make extensive use of these top 5 travel websites.

1. Skyscanner

There are quite a few flight comparison websites out there but Skyscanner is one of our favourite travel websites. We love that you can find the cheapest flights to your destination on any given date. Skyscanner also gives you the opportunity to find out the cheapest time to fly to your destination and the chance to search ‘Everywhere’. This is great if you know the exact dates you want to travel but don’t mind where in the world you go to. It’s how we ended up in Nuremberg last year and we had a fantastic trip!

2. Booking.com

Booking.com is our favourite website for booking hotels and even apartments. We find that Booking.com prices tend to be amongst the lowest available for most hotels and they also allow you to reserve a hotel room without paying up front. Cancellation is usually free which means this is a great option if you want to reserve the perfect hotel but are waiting for flights to go on sale. On our trip to Prague we also arranged an airport transfer through Booking.com which was so convenient and was a great start to our trip.

3. Airbnb

Airbnb is hardly a secret anymore but quite often we will shun a hotel and look for a place to call our own during our holiday. Airbnb is a great place to start when looking for inspiration or places to stay although I’m sure you all know that already. The best thing about Airbnb is that it cuts out the middle-man and allows you to rent a place directly from the owners. We have stayed in some lovely places that have really felt like home and the local hosts have often given us some fantastic insider tips upon arrival. Our top tip is to look out for Superhosts as these have been vetted more extensively by Airbnb and tend to have better reviews.

4. TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor is one of my guilty pleasures. Once we have booked a trip I am constantly checking for new reviews of the place we are going to stay in. TripAdvisor lets you see what fellow travellers are saying about the hotel, restaurant or trip you want to book giving you an up to date opinion that a guide book just can’t offer. A word of caution though, not all TripAdvisor reviews are genuine. Which? recently did a study of TripAdvisor reviews and found some hotels have been inflating their ratings with fake positive reviews. In addition, reading some negative reviews you really do get a sense of perspective about your trip. I once saw one hotel that gave the hotel in question 1 out of 5 because there was too much seaweed on the beach. Not quite sure what the hotel could do about Mother Nature but when we were there two weeks later there was plenty of seaweed. Did it affect our holiday? Absolutely not.

5. The Blonde Abroad

The Blonde Abroad is Vicky’s favourite travel blog to read at the moment. While this blog focuses on female solo travel, it has a variety of really helpful content for a wide range of travellers and destinations. Her photography is amazing and we would highly recommend following her on Instagram for more inspirational travel shots. This is definitely where we want to see Clock Out Check In in the future!

 

What are your favourite travel websites? Let us know in the comments below.

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Alex is a solicitor at an international law firm based in London. He has always loved travelling and loves to eat like a local. His favourite destination is Peru where he spent a month travelling in 2009 with World Challenge.

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