Websites have come a long way – from the glory days of HTML frames and hyperlinks we’ve passed into an era where it’s simply not enough to just have a website, it needs to have bells, whistles, cannon fire, and a World Series ticker tape parade.
Of course a travel site needs form, function and a great product, but all these must come together in a platform that’s easy to manage and easy on the eyes. Suffice it to say, I don’t envy the job of the Java programmers at your average online travel startup – you can almost see the blood vessels straining to keep their eyes on their 25-inch Apple monitors – but oftentimes it falls into place behind in a slick site that’s actually useful and enjoyable to use.
To honor those that slave away over hot ergonomic keyboards, today I’m highlighting my favorite websites that provide great services with an even greater user-experience, er, sorry programmers… UX.
Don’t think for a second the Europeans are lacking when it comes to web development. This colorful and cool site shows you what festivals and events are happening in places during a time range you select. Search with a nifty slidebar a selection of event types in categories such as arts, music, sports, celebrations, etc. If you like fun, and who doesn’t, this couldn’t be more handy.
“You say When We say Where! Timely travel inspirations including music festivals, nature, cultural, sporting events, food festivals and much more!”
A jaunty name with a slick site, Gecko Go! helped their roughly 2.7 million users find and engage with things to do around the world. Seamlessly executed, Gecko Go! shows you the best places to do the things you want to do most. If you’re into diving for example, select it and the world map highlights those locations where that enterprise is ideal. Great for those that need visuals to help wrap their brain around an itinerary.
“Travel guides, vacation planning and reviews. Find thousands of reviews and travel tips to help you plan your next vacation…”
Similar to Gecko Go! but taking a bit of a different tack, Wanderfly starts you in your home location, asks you where you’re going, how much you want to spend and what you want to do, populating a list of suggestions, all with an incredibly smooth user-interface. It gets its content by aggregating various travel review sites like Yelp, Lonely Planet, and Expedia. Genius!
“Travel ideas & places to visit that fit your budget and interests. Plan your trip, find things to do and get tips from your friends – all in one place.”
These guys have a site that makes you feel like you’re riding a slip-n-slide covered with melted chocolate. Okay, not to oversell it, but it’s got a nice UI. Globetrotter helps travelers hook up with other travelers who think (and travel) in similar fashions. Their interactive world map directs you to trips based on location or activity, shows you people that are doing the same thing and want you to join them. If you’re a solo traveler but don’t always want to be, this service will be perfect for you, with numerous easy-to-understand communication channels.
“Find travel partners, create adventure trips and enjoy group travel with like-minded people.”
Sure AFAR may be primarily a travel magazine, but they’ve been making great inroads as a web destination, redesigning their website into a sleek and sumptuous media machine. The AFAR site is different from the rest by instead of giving results in “what to do” form, it lists its destination as featured photos and snippet articles, giving you a visual and literal sense of place, thus aligning your creativity-sensitive right brain with your itinerary demanding, iron-fisted left side. Their Spin the Globe feature is cool if you’re just looking to daydream.
“Where travel can take you.”
Once you’ve ruminated over Java script and looked at pretty pictures but haven’t yet succumbed to click fatigue, click on over to our (pretty sweet as well) TripPlanner app and hook yourself up with ticket to get to all the amazing places you’ve just learned about.
Click on the red banner below to get yourself going.