SALT LAKE CITY — With the thousands of travel websites available, finding helpful information for your next vacation can be overwhelming. As a travel writer and travel addict, I’ve found that these less-well-known websites are some of the most helpful.
Choosing the right seats on the plane is one of those travel details that can make a huge difference in the quality of your trip. But how are you supposed to know which seats are the right ones?
Seatguru offers a wealth of information and advice for every type of plane, from which seats offer extra legroom to how to avoid getting stuck next to the bathrooms. Enter your airline and flight number, and seatguru will give you all the information you need to choose the best possible seats for your next flight.
The site I find myself recommending most often, OneBag.com, teaches the fine art of packing light. Most travelers travel with far too many bags, and this no-frills high-content site can teach you how to fit twice the stuff in half as many suitcases. This method of packing revolutionized our travel years ago, and we recently took five people to Greece for 10 days with only two small carry-ons.
"Say Hi Translate" may be one of the coolest apps we’ve ever seen. While there are dozens of good translator apps, SayHi’s secret lies in speech recognition. Use the app to “listen” to someone speaking, and your iPhone or iPod will translate the conversations to over 40 different languages. This app is invaluable when traveling to countries where you don’t speak the language.
Another secret of the savvy international traveler is Vayama.com. This great travel site helps you find cheap international flights by using local or low-budget airlines for separate legs of your trip.
Flying from Paris to Athens? Beijing to Singapore? Check here for options the big sites will never give you. You can save hundreds of dollars flying airlines like Qatar Air or Russian Aeroflot instead of your usual United or Delta.
Finally, as rates of food allergies and sensitivities have skyrocketed, many people find it hard to travel outside of the U.S. because of concerns about food safety. GlutenFreePassport.com provides a wealth of information about international food preparation methods, ingredients and standards that can make traveling with allergies easier and safer. But their most useful offering may well be the food-allergy cards translated into many languages.
With options for all the most common allergens, it’s easy to print your cards and take them with you to assure that your communication with restaurant staff is clear and accurate.
Travel is one of the most rewarding activities we can experience, and these five websites can make it easier to get out and explore the world. Happy Traveling!
Olivia is a writer and compulsive traveler. She spent almost four years living in China with her husband and three kids, and blogs about traveling with kids at www.aroundtheworldin80diapers.com.