TripAdvisor and Hostelworld are the bread and butter of the globetrotting universe. But while these are incredible resources, they are not the only sites out there. Here are our top picks of the best under-the-radar travel hackers to save you time and money (and sanity) while planning your next big escape.
The people who created Skype just got one step closer to actual teleportation.
Described by New York Magazine as “Tinder for cities,” Teleport matches destinations to your priorities, goals and daily budget. Although intended as a resource for digital nomads and people considering a permanent move, a savvy traveller could glean numerous tips from here to help with holiday plans.
With over 100 packing lists for numerous countries, HPL focuses on “the liberation of the solo female traveller.” It prepares women to explore the world, in minimalist style and safety. Despite the name, the lists, backpack reviews and travel advice are valuable resources to all, as they provide in-depth, practical insight into the reality of travelling.
The modern traveller seeks out off-the-beaten-path, never-before-instagrammed destinations, which often require a myriad of different types of transport to reach. Navigating this web of travel paths can be hugely time-consuming not to mention frustrating. Fortunately, Rome2Rio can actually do it for you – it creates bespoke, multi-modal itineraries to get you from A to B without all the hassle of having to look up train, flights and ferry tickets separately.
Think treasure hunting on a global scale. Atlas Obscura delivers a swift backhand to the usual tourist hotspots and instead sends readers off in search of city secrets and curious sites. Bioluminescent squid, a man snacking on children and bright red Martian grass are but the tip of the Atlas Obscura iceberg.
A little bit hipster, these design and art-centric itineraries pack the best of a city into just one day. A small database, with only 12 guidebooks for Europe and 3 for North America, this resource still has room to grow and we are really excited to see which destination will pop up next.
6) Meal Sharing
Dining out is a great way of exploring a new culture but sitting down in restaurants or cafes can prove to be a very impersonal experience. Meal Sharing connects you to local people who invite you into their space – be it their house or a favourite place in their neighbourhood – and serve up a delicious home-cooked meal with great banter. This gives you a deeper glimpse into your new city as well as a chance to meet some fun people.
The OG of home swaps, this Swedish-based, non-profit organisation has been “cultivating international friendships” since the early 1950s., Started by a group of teachers looking for affordable holiday options, to date this travel legacy has swapped 30,000 families.
Pass on falling asleep in your spaghetti by using light to manipulate melatonin, the sleep-wake cycle hormone. Jet Lag Rooster uses your current time-zone and destination to suggest the best times for bright light exposure so that you can kick jet lag to the curb, and have more time to get out and explore.
Short for “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms,” this initiative provides an escape from the frenetic existence of city life through connecting volunteers to organic farms and growers. Learn about sustainability from the people who live it every day, develop practical farming skills and revel in the beauty of nature.
Ecotourism has become a travel buzzword over the last decade, but which tours are legitimate? Responsible Travel prides itself on eco-tours that treat local people with respect and fairness and has curated a huge variety of travel itineraries based on this mantra. Categories include “bear watching”, “dog sled safaris” and “weird and wonderful.”
With a tagline like “we inspect in-person – just like your mother-in-law” it is hard to not want to use Oyster. Outraged by the marketing “fake outs” used by hotels to entice tourists, Oyster provides a humble #nofilter comparison with photos that they have taken themselves, in what is an eye-opening resource.
Ever heard of a “hidden city” when it comes to air travel? We hadn’t either until we found Skiplagged. A hidden city is the layover on the way to your destination. As it turns out, it can be up to 80% cheaper to just get off the plane at your layover rather than buying a direct ticket. The one catch is that you can’t take checked luggage because it will get checked right through. Think of it as a reward for packing light.
Edited by Sarah Huntington