Summertime – and the living is easy

Summer’s coming up. At least, in the Northern Hemisphere it is. For our readers in the Southern Hemisphere, their summer is almost over. Well, they can always bookmark this page and check it out again in January, when their summer kicks in again.

Many have become used to using their computers to help them plan their vacations. That you can book anything, from flights, to cruises, to campground spots, on the web, that’s nothing new. (Everything is relative: it used to be a very new concept just a few summers ago.)

Now, with the advent of Web 2.0, things have changed. Now, there are sites, where you can say: This is who I am, and this is what I want to experience. And, guess what? Those sites will help you make it happen.

Here are some of them:

  • Tripbase helps you travel your way. It gives you unbiased recommendations about where to go on your next trip based on what you like, not what a travel agency has as part of its package.
  • Tripcard is another site that makes all kinds of travel articles and guides obsolete: you tell it what you like and how much you can afford to spend … it comes back with recommendations.
  • Grapheety takes the strain off our imagination. People who have visited places and have stories to share actually do share them … and you will find the locations using Google maps. Quite exciting.
  • TripUp is an interactive travel community that connects people from all over the world through a social network with a travel twist. Whether you are interested in meeting locals or fellow travelers during a trip or finding a ‘trip buddy’ so you don’t have to travel alone, this is the place to try. Plus, as a TripUp member you can create Trip Flicks, Trip Blogs and Trip Albums to share your travel videos, journals and photos.
  • OGGTours is short for Open Source Audio Tours and GPS Guides. In this era, the story of Hansel and Gretchen wouldn’t be written. We can’t get lost no matter how hard we try, with all those GPS gadgets and sundry gimmicks. This site is a complete resource for those looking for audio tours and GPS audio points of interest. Many of these tours are open-source, meaning anyone can modify or remix content to their liking. There are literally hundreds of tours to destinations around the world available for download. And new ones are coming up every day.
  • PairUp helps business travelers reinvent their trips. The site helps make connected travel easier. Business people now can share travel plans and instantly search for potential business connections at their next trip destination or industry event – across companies and across booking engines.
  • Hotels Combined is a proof if there ever was one that laziness is the mother (or father? Your pick) of progress. With this site up, who needs to suffer going from one hotel chain web site to another, hoping to get a great deal? This site is a rather unique (for now, that is, it is unique) tool that combs various hotel-reservation sites for you to get the lowest rate possible instantly … well, let’s be realistic … within minutes.
  • TripMates calls itself the Interactive Travel Community. It helps would-be travelers meet up with others on a trip or sharing travel expenses. It offers candid travel advice. It even lets its members broadcast their trips to audiences worldwide.
  • GeoBeats offers a reliable way to learn about your next international destination. GeoBeats is an interactive media company whose mission is to inform travelers about international destinations through the use of video.
  • EveryTrail is an online platform that helps travelers share their travel and outdoor activities with like-minded people from all over the world. You can also easily upload GPS data you recorded while out on the trail and add your photos and notes, to create a visual record of your outdoor activity.
  • Gusto is a typical citizen-journalism site. Read and write reviews and blogs, upload and store your photos and check out photos shown by others. The Gusto! Grabber helps you bookmark Gusto content and other Web sites. And while you’re traveling, you can use Gusto as a handy resource that you don’t have to haul along with you.
  • Travelistic is a travel video site. Their tag line, “Watch Where You’re Going,” pretty much explains the concept.
  • Kayak is yet another site that realizes that databases are the best tools for the Internet. This one is a travel search engine site that helps people find travel products from travel suppliers all over the world.
  • TravelPost says its claim to fame is unbiased hotel reviews, hotel ratings, and resort reviews, submitted by real travelers. On one hand, the fact so many people trust its entries is a bad omen for traditional travel media, on the other, with 269,448 (and counting) hotel reviews and photos already up, this seems like a good source of … well … unbiased information.