Fun Friday: Favorite Travel Resources

Brittany has a great post on the travel category and why it’s hard to build a business in it. It made me think that this would be a great topic for fun friday, which we haven’t done in over a month.

So here goes. What travel resources do you use when planning a trip? It can be a business or personal trip. But obviously vacation travel planning will be more fun to talk about.

For me, it’s Foursquare and Indagare. Foursquare gives me the “peer to peer” information I like to have on places. And Indagare gives me the expert advice I like to supplement that with. I’m a triangulator. I like to hear about things, then check them out in a few trusted places. When it all lines up for me, it’s a go.

How about you?


Comments (Archived):

  1. LE … because I love spending 10 hours reading reviews and trying to weed out all the complaints about minor things that don’t matter.One pattern you will notice is that if someone isn’t greated or treated well upon arriving they then nitpick on everything down the line including how the toilet paper is folded (I’m kidding about that of course to illustrate a point.)

    1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      Well despite saying I follow my nose 🙂 some things should not be left to chance 🙂

      1. markslater


        1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

          Are referring to a fruit?To be honest I just guessed someone would have posted images of toilet paper origami and Google showed me how unsophisticated my life has always been – and hopefully will long remain.

      2. LE

        Attached, “Below Deck” reality TV series, was on bed of gay man on the cruise.

        1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

          Wow – I just found a whole website… I dedicate this link to those with nothing better to do on their own 🙂

  2. Jon Michael Miles

    Skyscanner for tickets. .Tripadvisor for reviews. They are brutally honest which is wonderful.

  3. Tom Labus

    We went to Granada, Spain this winter and used Kayak. It worked out fine. They all seem about the same which makes it very hard to stand out.

  4. LE

    What is missing from online resources, that I haven’t found, is answers to simple things that the travel agent used to be able to take care of. Like “I want a large modern hotel on the beach that either has sailboats to rent or there is a place close by that I can walk to. And also a restaurant (at the hotel) where you can have lunch on the beach”.Unfortunately, check boxes for filtering don’t work to take care of analog factors and judgement.I don’t travel nearly as much as most people but I would easily pay someone to do the legwork for me so I don’t have to waste time doing this. That is what is missing. An actual human to sort through all the online info out there, make phone calls, verify, and package for review. (Revenge of the middlemen..)

    1. Tom Hughes

      Very true — Googling all that information used to be fun when it was novel, but now it’s just laborious. There’s probably a whole business in delegating searches / trip planning / budgeting; it’s beyond the ability of search engines (and I suspect will be for a while). Just yesterday I had a situation that would have been great for a service like this: “find me a hotel in Cambridge MA near my talk at MIT, with a way to park my car somewhere near the hotel or the MIT building, and also with a restaurant in walking distance that could accommodate my colleague’s wheelchair and preferably has locally grown produce.” It took my 30 minutes to figure all that out, and I bet there is some English-speaking person on the ‘net who would have been happy to do it for me, for a fee I would happily pay.

      1. LE

        Exactly. I think it’s a matter of thinking of this as a service for a segment of the market that doesn’t mind paying for the time saving information and can afford to do so. As well as having people location knowledgeable obviously working in the particular area from home. Not people who have more time than money. Or who actually enjoy doing all of this.What took you 30 minutes would take someone else easily half that time (assuming they didn’t already know the answer which they did they would just have to double verify) and that’s including portal to portal replies to you as well.Could easily work with corporate travel departments and even hotels as well.Not that execution doesn’t matter in any business but this business would succeed or fail based on the quality control given to insure fast and quick information.

  5. kirklove

    Calling BS on the second half of this post. More like Ok Jo where are we going?

    1. LE

      Fred has been bustered.

      1. kirklove


        1. LE

          Btw, I just bought a domain “buster” a few months ago, for a startup headed by Matt Kochman a Cornell grad.It’s “group transportation simplified”.

          1. kirklove


    2. fredwilson

      actually that’s’s how it goesjoanne – let’s go to Istanbulfred – ok, sounds great. where do you want to stay?joanne – let’s stay at xyz hotelfred – ok, let me check that place out to see if i’m down with thatthen i go to foursquare and indagare, check it out, and then either say “looks awesome, let’s do it” or “i’m not getting good vibes about this place, how about this one”that’s how it goes in our family

      1. kirklove

        Fair enough. Then she needs some attribution 😉

        1. fredwilson

          that she does. but she is not a web service 🙂

      2. Paul Sanwald

        my wife and I are planning a 10th anniversary trip to istanbul! cool coincidence.we’ve been struggling to plan the trip ourselves; usually we find that fun but because of work it’s been a source of stress for us. maybe I’ll find some recommendations on this thread.

      3. Alex Murphy

        That’s pretty close though …. but instead of asking where you’re headed, she just tells you. 🙂

      4. Gillian Morris

        I lived in Istanbul three years, happy to give tips. Social recommendations are key; one of the reasons Hitlist ( makes it so easy to see where your friends have been , even if they’re not using the app.

        1. PerryChanNYC

          Hi Gillian Morris, I love social recommendations. Does Hitlist focus on the locals recommendations or just friends? I’ll have to check it out sometimes. Thanks for the tip!

          1. Gillian Morris

            Just friends, though who knows, we may branch out in the future.

          2. Gillian Morris

            Just friends for now. We’re working on how to thoughtfully include tips from everyone.

      5. PerryChanNYC

        Hi fredwilson, I’m not sure if it’s beneficial for a family to know in advance, and get an idea of, the types of travelers that will be at the hotel, but if an OTA allowed you to see who has physically checked in at that hotel, and there was a UI over the web and mobile to allow you to review a quick profile of those users, I think that would be just as relevant to me and my family as a solid review. Just thinking out loud here, but I know as a single traveler, knowing if compatriots were staying in a hostel or hotel in Shanghai matters to me. As shallow as it might be, knowing in advance if there’s going to be attractive guests where I am thinking about booking matters to me. If I also knew whether or not they were looking to hang out, or better yet, WHAT type of activities they wanted to do (like touring) that would really increase my chances of booking that hotel/hostel. But then again, I guess if I’m booking on behalf of my family, that kind of stuff won’t concern me too much. I guess I’ll find out in a few years. Vibes… interesting word. Like a “VIBE” stream next to reviews. I like it. Nice thinking!

      6. ShanaC

        Seems to work. What happens when indagare says meh

  6. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Plan flights with skyscannet,net, check in sowewhere and follow my nose – the more unexpected the better

  7. JimHirshfield

    – Foursquare- HappyCow – – worldwide veg restaurant guide- Google Maps – duh- T-Mobile…just so internationally friendly (free unlimited texting and data)- Noise canceling headphones + eye blinders

    1. William Mougayar

      Google maps is priceless for seeing distances between places.

    2. PerryChanNYC

      Hi JimHirschfield, is that T-Mobile thing true because I recently switched over but have yet to travel internationally yet. I read about it and got really excited. So just to confirm, i can visit all of Asia and be connected? That’s incredible! They must have some world-class biz dev execs to pull this off.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Yeah, for realz. Check their website for each country. In my experience, all major countries covered. The download speed on the data plan is capped, but it’s always been enough for me whether on handheld or tethered to laptop. I mean, not watching movies, but good for browsing and email. And double check you’ve got the unlimited plan.

    3. Brittany Laughlin

      headphones + eyemask + neck pillow FTW!

      1. JimHirshfield

        🙂 Yesssssss

  8. LE

    One of my goals in life is to have a room that I call the travel packing room.The purpose of this room would be to simply contain little cubicles that I can organize in advance anything that I need to travel with so I can visually see all of it prior to packing. If you do this in your bedroom you can’t do it weeks or days in advance because then everything is on the bed.So this room would serve only one purpose. Trip organization. Trip war room.Right now I solve this in a way with plastic boxes where I keep frequently traveled with items and so on. So the room would allow that as well as places for clothing and other items as reminders. Visual to me much better than a list of things. Which is the obvious thing that most people probably do.In a perfect world I would ship many things in advance by UPS so I wouldn’t have to schlep them on the airplane and/or worry that the luggage would be lost.

    1. PerryChanNYC

      LE – I think this is about the best idea I’ve heard of in a long time. If a startup could just build a network for items to move around, and have a flat yearly fee, I think this could really boost the travel industry in terms of commerce, but the infrastructure costs would be massive, and the coordination would take awhile to get right, but I believe this network could possibly be profitable if enough partnerships existed, and enough sub-providers were willing to build it. Maybe we’ll just have to wait for teleportation to be a reality before a traveler could just ship things back home for the cost of a stamp.

    2. Brittany Laughlin

      You should check out the packing cubes offered at Muji, not quite a packing war room but a great way to keep clothes organized and pre-packed. They were great for a long trip across 3 different climates.

      1. William Mougayar

        Muji recently opened in Toronto. I got to visit it !

  9. awaldstein

    I’m low tech travel planning wise with huge networks.My Facebook network especially has people in just about everywhere.For out of the way, tripadvisor is my double check.Rewatch The Accidental Tourist. Great movie!A healthy dose of non planning is truly advised especially for the over planners like myself.

    1. Eric Woods

      I couldn’t agree more! My friends know my risk tolerance & what I like. Living in NYC, I find “tourist approved” suggestions to be generally geared towards folks who don’t live in such a dynamic environment.

    2. PerryChanNYC

      Hi awaldstein. I agree with non-planning, because it kinda takes away from that exploratory nature that we humans have evolved from (or maybe not, I’m not saying for certain in case you’re religious, and apologies in advance, just generalizing here.) But I personally never bring a laptop with me when I travel, only my iPhone. However, whenever I check into hostels, there’s always a line of travelers waiting to check their Facebook to report back to their loved ones, and that’s great, but in terms of network, what do you think about a network that doesn’t just serve as a “connection” network? By that I mean, a network that actually allows you to socialize. A network that takes the potential of the human experience (in the way we find, interact, and learn from one another – the socializing) and putting it on a platform for travelers and locals alike? That way, there’s a symbiotic relationship that can enhance the entire travel experience?

      1. Drew Meyers

        “a network that actually allows you to socialize”What exactly does that mean?

        1. PerryChanNYC

          Hi Drew Meyers, thanks for your question. What I mean is exactly that: a network that allows you to “mix socially with others.” If you tried finding a new friend on Facebook, let’s say you click “Message” or “Add Friend” to a friend of a friend, (1 degree of separation) there’s a pretty decent chance that you’re going to come off as a weirdo or social maladroit, perhaps ignorant of the social norms of these types of networks. Maybe not! I am, of course, just generalizing. The point I’m trying to make is, what if you were able to take that natural, spontaneity in meeting people, just like in real life, and emulate that on an actual platform. Meeting total strangers (with a security/privacy system in place of course) that you’ve never met before, actually going OFFLINE and hanging out in a group, similar to the hostel experience perhaps, and legitimately socializing with other human beings. I guess I’m talking about taking the potential of the human experience, from our innate abilities to empathize with loneliness, yearn for adventure, and even our compassion in wanting to help others, and putting that dynamic all on a social platform. Sure it’d be great for travelers, but on a local level, if such a platform existed, I could totally see myself just checking in and seeing if anyone interesting was passing through New York this weekend, and if I had the time, I wouldn’t mind playing host, or joining in on whatever activity they were interested in. It could be a 1-on-1 thing or better yet, it could be in a group. Just thinking out loud here of course. 🙂

          1. Drew Meyers

            See my comment below – from my experience, the general population doesn’t socialize/connect for no reason (even though every seasoned traveler knows that how great travel experiences happen). Need to tie it directly to something they are already doing.

          2. PerryChanNYC

            Well, if I’m traveling, would touring the city qualify as “something I’m already doing?” If the answer is “yes” then you’re saying that such a platform would need to tie into that event? So if I’m already going to visit the Statue of Liberty, for example, then the only natural way for me to connect with a total stranger (friend I have yet to meet perhaps?) would be to connect that event to such an opportunity? Is that right?

          3. Drew Meyers

            “total stranger” is a total turn-off to the average traveler..unfortunately. Few people want to meet strangers.

          4. PerryChanNYC

            I think Bryan Chesky came across investors and such of that same mindset. If the right system was in place, and I was able to determine whether or not someone was a complete douchebag or diva before meeting up with them, I believe it could work. It sure is easier than screening people to have them sleep in the same apartment as you and that worked out pretty well for Airbnb. If you were to hang out with a single group, and that group rated you after the event poorly, and you never used the platform again, you would just have a poor rating. But it’s like that old saying: “you can fool some people some of the time, but you can’t fool all people ALL of the time.” So I think the more events you go on to socialize with travelers, the more accurate that rating becomes. To determine what metrics to use could also be pretty simple. It should start off with whether or not the person showed up. Don’t you hate it when someone says they’re going to join and they don’t even SHOW UP?! So rude. Major points off for the flakers. But if they show up, are good on their word, then I guess all the other participants could rate their “likeability,” “recommendability,” “creativity,” (like in their conversations) and maybe… oh, I don’t know … “presence?” as in: “what did you think of Drew?” “Who’s Drew?” “The guy with the glasses.” In such a scenario, Drew’s presence would be quite low. But I think you get the idea…

          5. Drew Meyers

            I completely get the end goal of always having awesome people to hang out with while traveling. Its the same problem we are focused on solving. I don’t get how a rating system like this gets to that end goal…what’s the incentive for the early people to use it? Rating systems are always always gamed, if they get to scale. Which is why I really don’t trust any ratings/reviews. I usually show up when I say I will, but there are of course times where something comes up and I can’t… and one of those times is going to ruin my rating forever?

          6. PerryChanNYC

            Well, if you tell me you’re coming at 5PM for coffee, and you “unjoin” the coffee event at 4:59PM, at least I know you’re not coming, and the system wouldn’t count it as a no-show. If I look at your profile, let’s say for example, and I see that you’ve joined 10 events and even hosted 5 events yourself over the course of your account’s existence, and your score is… oh, Idk, 80%, I can deduce that some people you’ve met along the way probably hated your guts, but on the whole, most people 8/10 really dug your vibe. If we can accept that this rating isn’t 100% accurate, but does give a solid indication of your social “quotient” let’s say… then I would approve your joining my coffee event, or GROUP coffee event, I should say. The network effect would have to apply for this to work of course, so a freemium model might help get things going. But let’s continue the chat on the 24/25. I think 25 is better, I have to take my bike for a tune up. My guy is going to be busy this month, since Spring is near, and all of our bikes have been in storage.

    3. Drew Meyers

      “A healthy dose of non planning is truly advised especially for the over planners like myself.”I literally hate trip planning, and pretty much refuse to do it. Saves me a lot of time and headache to just figure it out when I get there.

  10. markslater

    i’m still analog.I travel every week right now and rely entirely on the people i am either travelling with or going to meet. I find it a nice ice-breaker to seek out advice from someone as to where to eat etc….i dont find any value in Foursquare or Yelp…..on the family front – my wife completely owns it. we are planning our summer travel with my brother and his family from the UK – and i’ve just given up – she’s taken over.

    1. PerryChanNYC

      Hi markslater, I think asking for advice from a local really helps with the initial rapport. When I hosted on Airbnb, I loved giving insider’s tips to my favorite spots. I had flexible itineraries that I would cater to those just passing through for a night, for two nights or for a week. Every single guest I’ve ever had appreciated the little tips I’d give them. Traveling around the world, I would love to be able to just query a city-bulletin of sorts where I can communicate with locals, as well as find other like-minded travelers like myself. If I could simply tag along and make ad-hoc events knowing that as soon as I land, I have a potential friend waiting for me, that would be so amazing! Too bad….

    2. kenberger

      great point. When I find a place i really like, I try to ask the staff or the people next to me where else they have tried about and liked, or even heard was good. I try and hit up those places immediately and they often turn out to be trip highlights.I still rely heavily on other mobile and desktop tools, but this time-honored way is an invaluable one, still at top of my arsenal.

  11. JAJones

    For hotels in the US I’m pretty loyal to Starwood so usually stay at an SPG property. I use Yelp, Tripadvisor and Foursquare to research hotels and restaurants. My biggest pain point is recommendations on what to do once I arrive. I find NYT ’36 Hours In..’ very helpful if available and fairly recent. Eater Essential 38 is also great for restaurants. I want to check out the Detour app from Andrew Mason but it’s only available in SF now. it’s essentially a location aware audio tour that combines the story telling of NPR/podcasting in an interactive setting.

  12. LD Eakman

    You may recall that I wanted to start a business around this challenge, really just unlocking all that latent knowledge of our existing network/peer group. I still don’t think there is a good solution but must admit that my traveling has certainly decreased with the advent of children!

    1. Drew Meyers

      I would be curious to hear more on what approach you were planning to take for this.

  13. Tom Hughes

    “Search nearby” on Google Maps. Obviously that leads to a lot of other resources and considerations, but if I’m going anywhere that’s new to me (and even some places I think I know), I find I always use “Search nearby.”For a while Google seemed to be trying to deprecate the feature, but there was a lot of outcry and it popped back up recently, accessible as a right-click on a map point and in the top-left of the map on a browser (and in the Android app but not, I think, in the iOS app).

  14. Kirsten Lambertsen

    TripAdvisor and Foursquare.Seeing some neat suggestions here, like Happy Cow :)Anyone have an app that suggests great local places to workoffee? (Wifi and plenty of tables being the primary requirements.) I think there are a couple for NYC (and I suppose SF), but what about, say, Austin or DC or Boston?

    1. Jeffrey Woo

      NYC: can create a list for you in Austin, DC or Boston easily as well. Let me knowHotel: I use Airbnb/AgodaFood: I use Foodmento cuz I’d like to create lists of dishes, not restaurants. Usually I have recs from friends + my own research + local recs when I’m there.Points of Interest & everything else: Foursquare – very reliable place rating.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Well done 🙂 I’ll be using your NYC list (nyc outlier, here). Hadn’t seen foodmento before. Cool site!

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Thanks! I LOVE Providence 🙂

  15. leeschneider

    Tripadvisor in advance, Foursquare and Rick Steves guides on the ground for places/things to try. Google Maps to get around.

  16. William Mougayar

    I’m loyal to Orbitz for travel bookings and the Michelin guide for most everything else http://viamichelin.comI try to avoid the typical “lists” aimed at tourists, and like to triangulate on the local pulse from local publications.As a foodie, I follow Andy Hayler and the OA guide of Steve Plotnicki http://www.opinionatedabout….

  17. LE

    I’ve found, in some cases, travel insurance helpful:'ve made a claim and they paid for a trip cancellation one time. Typically I buy the “cancel for any reason” insurance. There are valid reasons that you can cancel with the less expensive policies (like for certain business reasons).

  18. Sofia Papastamelos

    Foursquare is such a lifesaver. On my recent trip to Paris I researched highly recommended places on Timeout and then cross referenced each place on Foursquare -built a few Foursquare lists and then could easily whip out the app map on my phone and walk to the nearest restaurant/museum/landmark that I had curated. Found some great tips from you Fred!

  19. Jon Michael Miles

    To date I have not been a Foursquare user, but this dialogue has prompted an install.

    1. pointsnfigures

      I don’t use 4Sq to plan, but I use it on the run when I am mobile in a new town.

  20. pointsnfigures

    TripAdvisor, Yelp, Foursquare,Kayak. To book places we check AirBnB, VRBO. Sometimes use Priceline/Orbitz/et al but I fly Southwest a lot. I am a member of the in Chicago and they have a lot of reciprocal clubs to stay at all over the place at really good rates. For example, in NYC I can stay on Central Park for $350/night or less, no tax. You have to be a member, but membership isn’t expensive. Booked an entire trip to Bali using TripAdvisor, and also to Istanbul and it was just fine.

    1. Supratim Dasgupta

      Aint is cheaper if you use hotwire? I have seen hotels 120-150 in times square.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Not sure. Can use that one too. I will try it next time. Have also used Hotel Tonight while mobile and in a fix, and

        1. Supratim Dasgupta

          hotwire is sister concern of I just checked for checkin tonight and checkout monday and a times square 4.5 star hotel is showing $118+ taxes per night which i think is a great rate. The hotel is also rated 100% recommended. They will not disclose the name of the hotel but if you use the app instead of the website they will show the reviews and some people would have disclosed the name. thats why i always use the app. i think they have a promo of 20USD off the first time u use the app. I never used hotel tonight because am pretty hooked to hotwire.

  21. mikenolan99

    The locals… can’t stress enough the awesome adventures you can have by trusting the folks who live there. In 2002 we took our three pre-teen children on a two month holiday in New Zealand. Our basic plan was to rent a van, and travel the north island. When we found a cool town, we’d go out to eat and start asking around for where we should stay and what to do. We found great homes to rent for a week, great adventures to do (like canyoning! Then our new friends would recommend the next great thing to do in the next town, and who to talk to… it all just seemed to work out… every time!Later, when the kids were all teenagers, we travelled around the world for six months. Other than a tour guide in China, we pretty much tried to live like locals, using public transportation whenever possible. Even in Japan we were able to find our way to staying at the Catholic hostel (a traditional ryokan) right on the peace park in Nagasaki on the anniversary of the bomb. The locals were so kind and gracious, and we had experience after experience we never would have had if we followed a worn path.

    1. PerryChanNYC

      mikenolan99. You’re absolutely right. When you think back to that great trip you took fresh out of college, backpacking across Europe or whatever, I’m certain you’re not thinking of that delicious Cannoli you had in Italy. You’re probably thinking about that cute girl you met at the hostel, or the old lady on the bus who gave you directions. My point is that it’s all about the PEOPLE. The locals and the experience they can provide you as a traveler into their city is priceless. It truly is. That’s why Airbnb’s marketing keys in on the local experience and hats off to them because they’ve done an amazing job with that. You mentioned China and Japan, that’s cool! I lived in Hong Kong for two years. I originally booked a hostel for a month, thinking I’d use it as a base to head into China but I ended up re-booking for 22 months! The amount of cool people I met will always be with me until my dying breath. Those moments I spent with each and every one, knowing that it’d be fleeting but that I should enjoy their company while I had it really gave me an understanding about the world I can barely express into words. That’s what traveling should be about. Meeting people that you are destined to meet.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        I stayed I hostel just once, in the San Juan Islands in Washington State. My friend’s idea. We were there for a kayaking excursion the next day. 6 people in 3 bunk beds in one room. And one snorer. One girl got up, walked over to the snorer and elbowed him or her in the ribs.The only thing I remember about it other than that was a conversation by the fire where a woman who said she was a masseuse in Seattle described a trip she took to the Himalayas where she ate rice infested with weevils or something. She said the locals appreciated the extra protein.The next night, in Seattle, we stayed at the W. My idea.

      2. Drew Meyers

        “it’s all about the PEOPLE”Yup. Great travel experiences start, and end, with people. Every single time.

    2. Virag Reti

      I agree. Locals know the best places… But the way I find the local people varies: AirBnB if I want something closer to staying in a hotel, but still with a good local feeling, Couchsurfing for actually staying with others and be treated as a friend or WWOOF if you are up to some hard work in the local community (farming in most cases, or at least related to that) in exchange of be treated like family. Tried them all, loved them all!Edit: And for random cheap plane tickets in Europe, with only departure city fixed and date OR destination. They call it ‘I know when’ / ‘I know where’ option and it is awesome!

    3. Eric Snyder

      Agree- I always felt like the best advice came from local friends. Problem is, I’m often going places where I don’t know anyone well enough to get that tailored friendly advice.I built a prototype of a product where you’d see a list of local experts around you, pick who you want to message, and then shoot them a note that comes through on mobile to the expert. Soon after, you get a reply with specific advice (just like if you’d texted a friend). The prototype is on web and a little janky (it was my first project when learning programming), but I’d love if anyone could take a look and give it a try! It’s:

    4. kenberger

      ehhh. sort of. sometimes you get dynamite advice from locals– especially if it’s somewhere off the beaten path, you catch Sicily on a sunday, etc etc.But plenty of times, it’s the visitors, the newcomers with fresh energy that know best what I might like, especially in a fast-paced place. For example, when I’m in NYC, it’s often the out of towners who come in and show me the latest and greatest places that I like the most.

  22. Peter Gasca

    Honestly, these days I will Google locations ahead of time and read reviews, blogs, etc about the location. Then I’ll hit up my social networks to find friends and associates at the destination to provide feedback. I make my flight reservations on Orbtiz. For hotels, I will typically check Orbitz or HotelTonight to find rates, but I always call the hotel and negotiate a rate (then tip the front desk attendant when I arrive to get an upgrade or other accommodation. I’m frugal, so this is how I find the best rates. It would be great, however, if there was one service that did it all, and I could depend on them knowing that they are negotiating the best rate on my behalf.

  23. Eric Leebow

    Foursquare first, but also use Tripadvisor.

  24. Duncan Logan

    Very few apps make it from phone to phone over the years, but TRIPIT is one of them.

    1. PerryChanNYC

      My colleagues and I used TRIPIT and it was a really nice user experience. I applaud them, although I think they could use a UI upgrade.

  25. David Donner Chait

    Great post!Obviously I’m partial to to pull everything together (as founder), but also love Foursquare for aggregated information and reviews on places / restaurants (user generated photos are very telling) and Rome2Rio for directions / ticketing since it also helps with my ground transfers.

  26. Guest
  27. matthughes

    Google Maps is the obvious choice as the ultimate travel tool.Waiting anxiously for a better storm-tracking app for ski trips.

  28. kiwioconnor … We’re investors in SendmyBag but used the service long before we ever even considered investing. Terrific startup with a terrific team. Also just launched global routes from the US with a US domestic routes to follow later this month.

  29. Supratim Dasgupta

    As someone who flies atleast 3 times a week.1. Hipmunk for domestic flight planning. Then go book on concur(no other option in my company)2. Google travel for all international flight planning3. Hotwire App(NOT webpage) for hotels.(The app has a loophole as it shows detailed reviews and some ppl give away the name of the hotel!). I dont like priceline and its tedious bidding! Travel advisor sometimes.4. Yelp for restaurants.Open table for reservations.5. Uber/Lyft for ALL taxi travel.5. I will never use AirBnB. Just dont like the concept of staying at someones house.Plus with cleaning fees and everything else hotel prices come out somewhere similar. But maybe when I have kids and need a kitchen I will see the difference!

    1. Drew Meyers

      Many people not deeply familiar with the industry think of airbnb as an affordable budget option. It’s not really the case, even though that’s where they started their business.

      1. Supratim Dasgupta

        Totally agree Drew!And look at what Airbnb is doing to the already short supply of affordable apartments.

  30. Bill

    Fun post! Indagare looks great-is there a “rubbing elbows with the local” connection or are you stashed at the local Four Seasons or similar pampering property (not that pampering’s is bad 😉

  31. Cyril Guiraud

    I am totally partial to FLYR (being one of the co-founders) : FLYR ( was created to solve the frustration of airfares that constantly change in price. As a travel-focused data science startup, we are developing powerful technologies that are capable of forecasting future airfare movement. We’ve constructed tools with these technologies that allow travelers to always act in their best interest, without playing the same old guessing game of whether you’re getting the best possible deal. Our consumer platform ( shows you the lowest available fares as well as the probabilities of fares increasing or selling out – or if better deals will become available. It makes a “Buy” or “Wait” recommendation depending on the odds, which makes decisions easier.

    1. Joel Gratz

      Cyril – great job on displaying the uncertainty of the fare forecast. I am a meteorologist and find that it’s difficult to communicate uncertainty in a way that consumers will understand and enjoy viewing. I will absolutely be using your site going forward alongside kayak.

      1. Cyril Guiraud

        Indeed, It’s no different than asking a weather app about the temperature, and getting averages for all of California when what you really want is the specific data for San Francisco.

        1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

          Part of the problem is there is no “average” for all of California. Do you weight it by land area, people, heating or cooling fuel used – or offer some good visualisations eg where to go for good weather -When to buy “probably” might be cool

          1. Cyril Guiraud

            That’s the function of our “FareBeacon”, its a predictive fare alert that warns of fare changes on specific flights before they occur. It let’s you know when a “WAIT” advice becomes a “BUY”.

    2. Matt Zagaja

      Ok, but I really need this data for hotels.

      1. Cyril Guiraud

        Coming soon 😉

    3. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      Nice concept- I got “Our predictions may not yet be fully supported on this route ” for Switzerland to Berlin (both main airports)” – I guess you need to prioritize, but as I say I love the concept.Filters for flight times is also a must

      1. Cyril Guiraud

        Thanks for your interest. As of now our predictions only cover domestic US routes. We are planning on opening European predictions at the end of April.

    4. Richard

      Probability of a > 10-20% fare increase would be more helpful.

  32. kskobac

    Hadn’t heard of Indagare, nice recco. A friend of mine is working on , a way to tap local experts for personalized itineraries , which I think is a pretty cool and different resource.

  33. dgay07

    For any passport or visa documentation and processing I highly recommend ItsEasy Passport and Visa. They have been a lifesaver for me on a few of occasions, as recently as this past week. I am also a bit of a points aggregator and am loyal to the United app and Starwood app, not so much for booking, but for follow through. Kayak a lot for route planning. Uber / Silvercar (investor) to get around. Google for the rest.

    1. Alex Murphy

      Love Silvercar!

      1. dgay07

        Great to hear Alex! Pretty wonderful experience every time!

  34. Mariah Lichtenstern

    You’ve finally sold me on Foursquare…I can point to many travel planning resources I use other than a few last-minute sites, but I can say that spending the weekend in LA, I would have like to have Geo-based push notifications of nearby restaurants to assist our beach-bound search. Pulling up info is such a pain.

  35. Paul Sanwald

    I love foursquare for exploring new places. We just visited Austin, TX recently and used it extensively. I really love it, and was annoyed to see some negative press recently. I never use swarm, and didn’t use checkins much even when they were in foursquare.

  36. Gregg Freishtat

    Having lost my logistical one too many times, I am now an avid user of Tripit. Very elegant app in that I can forward any confirmation (air, hotel, car, etc) to [email protected] and then forget about it. At travel time, I have a great data locker with all my details. Not too sexy but high utility.

  37. bogorad

    Wikitravel has never let me down. If there’s info on a place, it’s usually very accurate and helpful.Tripit used to be great, but active development has stopped after the acquisition by some huge corp, so now Gmail’s own scanner usually does a better job finding my itineraries in the mail and putting them in my calendar.Also I love the the older, oblong Everyman’s Guides. They are dated, but it’s not important since they deal mostly in history:

  38. kjetil

    I usually stick to foursquare and airbnb, but there’s also a Norwegian company called which is quite useful… The app allows you to save offline maps with built-in guides (almost like foursquare-lists), and is quite handy – at least when you’re traveling to other countries with high roaming charges (which is common in Europe)

  39. Steve Amara

    I spend most of my vacations in West Africa and in most countries there, nothing beats Foursquare. Tripadvisor might help for tourists stuffs but for a truly local experience, Foursquare hands down!

  40. Tammie Chen

    Travel planning in China was mostly through travel agencies for convenience, certainty and groupon prices. As customer services continue deteriorating and Millennials play an increasingly important role in spending, booking (mobile) sites (which usually aggregate p2p reviews within the sites) are becoming dominant. Caveats is that there is very limited info on international travels; yet demand is increasing as a result of lax visa policy, higher purchasing power, crack down on domestic corruption, and price arbitrage on luxury goods – 100MM+ oversea visits by Chinese last year alone. I see this as a whitespace yet to be disrupted.

    1. Richard

      I totally agree with your take on this, travel support with a mix of features / services unique to the needs of he Chinese consumer.

  41. disqus_kuzKUbjWYE (the app got featured yesterday in the App Store in 16 countries!). It is the perfect place to find inspiration for your trip and to share your experiences -especially photos- with the community. It blends very advanced image-recognition technology with geo-localization to automatically create amazing stories based on the photos you upload. The user community is really engaged, creating more and better content every day.

  42. Matt Zagaja

    So far I have only traveled to cities where friends live and gotten advice from them. Usually book my airfare on Southwest. When I was in Milwaukee and Chicago I’d ask random people. I’ll usually check out places on Yelp though. Lots of use of Google Maps to find where I am walking.Travel data that’d be useful to me would include how long the lines at baggage check and security are and are likely to become. Easy access to data on time and cost to get to and from airport would also be great.

  43. Robbie Zettler

    Start where friends are or have been, then start asking the people you meet while you are in the city. Sometimes it takes you to a place where you never would choose to go, but it always makes for an interesting story by the end of the trip

    1. PerryChanNYC

      Hi Robbie Zettler. AGREED. I love it when locals warn me not to go someplace, like a “haunted” place or something ridiculous. As an ex-Airbnb host, I once had a Dutch guest who was warned about going to HARLEM. Here’s a guy with no knowledge about NYC except from movies from the 80s/70s. He came back and took me out to dinner showing me his photos, and said that I was now a part of his story. So awesome. Definitely key to the experience are the people you come across, like other travelers. Can I ask, how you often meet them on your travels? Do you use web platforms? Apps?

      1. Robbie Zettler

        Usually depends on the spot, but sometimes it starts with a cashier or waiter. I’ll usually check the suggestion with Yelp or something first, but assuming there aren’t any big red flags… it’s usually a good place to start

        1. PerryChanNYC

          I see. So it’s not like you go to a web platform built for travelers to meet other travelers or anything like that. Everyone knows that meeting people along the journey is where the magic is. It would be great if I could fire up an app and actually meet a local, or a fellow traveler without having to go through the rehearsal of standard etiquette i.e. name, age, from, reason for traveling, etc etc. I’d like to just know what someone wants to do, tell them I wanna join, and go do it. Similar to groups that form in the community areas of hostels where someone suggests an activity, and before you know it, there’s an entire posse. I miss those types of ad-hoc meetups. I like Airbnb because sometimes the host will tag along if they have the time and show you around, and make solid recommendations for food, sights, events.

          1. Drew Meyers

            “Everyone knows that meeting people along the journey is where the magic is.”Yes, avid travelers know that. But we’ve learned a hard/expensive lesson over the past 3 years: most people do not connect for no reason. Entrepreneurs like you and I do, but being “social” isn’t a value proposition to the general population.

          2. PerryChanNYC

            HI again Drew Meyers. You’re right. The dilemma is making them realize that it truly IS a value proposition that they should consider, but on the other side of that coin is that providers/sellers of traveler services and accommodations aren’t focused on that because they simply don’t understand how to sell it. That’s why these youth environments always have these half-assed bulletin boards for getting groups together. Like I said in my other rant/comments, they know there’s intrinsic value in the social component to all of this, but they don’t know how to tie it all together. For this to work, a platform must exist that promotes itself as such, work as an OTA, and of course be super mobile friendly since the 21st century global traveler, youth or otherwise, will have some sort of device connected to the internet.

  44. Lance

    Back when it started, ASmallWorld was quite good for sourcing and asking locals for insider travel tips. Being an early social network, they got killed by Facebook and some tough investors (how would you like to have Harvey Weinstein on your board!) and is now trying to become a travel club and go back to its roots, competing with Indagare. Not sure if ASW has any legs. I worked in the online travel space for a few years, and there are two websites worth mentioning on the hotel bookings front. First, which suggests a tryst, but is actually a very hands-on travel agent with a highly curated list of hotels and a really good benefits program. I worked at for a year and find that their website also has a good selection and is cleanly designed, although the fact that they don’t offer a dedicated mobile or responsive version at this point is beyond me, nor do they have an app. They also have a fairly robust community around the globe. I look forward to reading Brittany’s post.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Geez, buzzkill 😉

    2. Richard

      You should! 3-5k to repair.

  45. Paul

    My favorite travel resource is

  46. Salt Shaker

    Hotwire (4 Star+) has yet to fail me on non-business domestic travel. Usually a pretty sweet deal. (With biz travel I’m usually a tad less frugal.) With international travel I lean towards Trip Advisor and reccos from friends and colleagues.

  47. PerryChanNYC

    For me, the three magical ingredients to having an awesome travel experience consists of what I’ll be doing at the destination, where I’ll be staying, and knowing the types of people I may encounter i.e. the locals and other travelers. If I’m going to North Korea, I’m probably going there for work. I can expect decent accommodations, but I’m probably not expecting to meet my soul mate there. Maybe my next employer, but not the best man at my wedding. However, if I’m going to Rome, I’m going to care about where I stay so for that I would use Airbnb first because it helps with the “knowing the types of people I may encounter” criteria. Most of the time, you can get a good sense of the person based on the guests they’ve hosted, and I gravitate towards that. If I want to wing it a bit, and test fate, I will either use Hostelworld for more social opportunities, although I would go with a private room rather than a 8-bed dorm, or for hotels. In terms of activities, I like to check TripAdvisor, but my wildcard is with platforms like couchsurfing, or because they aren’t dating sites, and you can find locals looking for friendship. The problem is that there are weirdos on couch surfing, and events on aren’t always easy to join/organize. I tend to ask my network of friends to see if they might know anyone to show me around, and get recommendations by them, but if I were to rely on a website, I’d go with Yelp (or yelp-like services i.e. OpenRice in Asia) for food, Google for all upcoming activities, and I like checking archives of the best travel bloggers out there, people like Nomadic Matt, or Adventurous Kate etc. I love first-person accounts that go in-depth into their experiences and brand building because after all, they understand that content is King. For the most part though, travel is about exploring, even when I’m traveling for business. Spontaneity is important to me, but for the essentials, in 2015, I have decent options but no one-stop-shop to truly enhance any trip I may want to take…

  48. mobiusbobs

    I am kind of a foodie, I found coordinating dinners really taxing. For example even when you get social recommendations from either public platforms, or private groups, it is hard to book everything in coordination. Let’s say you have like 7 nights, and you have top 10 list. Even with online booking, you kind of have to map out all possible availabilities, and optimized for that. In places like Japan, you are often left to the concierge for both language barrier or connections.

    1. Richard

      Life isn’t probability, its conditional probability

  49. george

    Foursquare is awesome for providing the element of discovery!

  50. Andy Ellis

    Flights within the USA: KayakFlights within Europe: Absolutely unbeatable when it comes to determining low fares. Can fix a departure point and dates and search ‘Everywhere’ and get a list sorted on cheapest round trips for your timeframe.Hostels: Hostelworld App but generally pre-screen via Google searches looking for travel articles describing ‘luxury hostels’ as they have become a recent trend and are still much cheaper than hotels.Other places: I’ll use AirBnB or Priceline if their isn’t a hostel that meets my expectation criteria. However, the hostel scene is preferred because it’s easier to meet like minded travelers and get good local insight from staff rather than a hotel conciergeFoursquare is my preferred app but tons of places in Europe (outside the super touristy big cities) simply don’t have the data. TripAdvisor is generally more comprehensive though takes some mental legwork to sort through trivial complaints. I generally cross reference things in advance with Lonely Planet and/or WikiTravel. I haven’t seen it mentioned here but Instagram/Pinterest can be valuable as well (I use Instagram, my wife uses both), but following Nature, National Geographic, and some more out there travel writers ( gives some amazing inspiration. In the US, the BLS and Dept of Interior have incredible Instagram accounts with beauty in our own backyard (not mine at the moment, I guess)The best organizational tool is TripIt, just forward flights, hotels, events, etc and it aggregates everything into a timeline with booking details easily accessible.If you want to see where I’ve been:

  51. RichardF

    TripAdvisor for the mainstream stuff and word of mouth for niche.

  52. AMT Editorial Staff

    For places to stay, sweat, stretch, eat, shop — from an active lifestyle perspective: http://athleticmindedtravel… All expert info. No ads. All original. Business traveler focused. 100+ destinations. Farmers’ Markets, restaurants, run route maps, yoga studios, hotels with great gyms…rent cycles, group runs.

  53. kenberger

    My travel guns, in order:1. Lonely Planet books (paper and echapters). Still the best content out there, even though they are total laggards on the tech angle, and I fear for them. Still give me the best resto and hotel ideas, plus exactly the things to see that I’ll agree with. Plus a great history synopsis of each country and town.2. Google Flights, Google Hotel Finder. Didn’t think anything would usurp Kayak’s incredible edge, but this has already. And they haven’t even released phone apps yet!3. Kayak: for all car rentals (incredible worldwide deals), and occasionally when Kayak hotels/flights doesn’t perform.4. Skyscanner: on occasion when GFlights doesn’t give enough (particularly on odd routes around Europe and Asia).5. Tripit: to organize it all, automatically culling my itineraries from my gmail receipts from all of the above.

  54. Laurence Vandeyar

    + TripAdvisor

  55. Anthony


  56. Anthony

    I came across this post while doing some research about travel planning and though I would mention a concept my wife and I are working on. is a site that allows members to connect and share their travel experiences, specifically recommendations of what to pack, wear, and do. These recommendations are shared through Lookbooks members create using similar functionality as pinterest, so it’s all visual rather than reading through postings like you have to do on TripAdvisor. The site is currently in beta but is open to the public. Non-members can browse lookbooks for travel inspiration, but cannot create, share, or connect with others. Just thought I’d mention it as I believe it could be a useful resource in the trip planning process. Thanks.