20 Useful Online Travel Resources

Online travel resources, like sleeping in airports, help make travel easier and cheaper.We all do it. We hear about a new website that is supposed to be this or that and we sign up for it. At first we’re skeptical or excited, or both. We begin to fill out our profiles and then we get distracted. We never return to said site. Other times, the exact opposite is true and we find our lives turned inside out because of a website. Had it not been for Craigslist, my life would be very different today. I jotted down the URL in early 2003 when I began a search for a new apartment in New York City. Since then, Craigslist has helped to shape every aspect of my life. I’ve found jobs, furniture, pets, housing, gigs, bandmates and roommates on Craigslist. By extension of a roommate found on the site, I found my husband. It’s no stretch to say a website can change your entire life. And by the same token, a website can completely gut and renovate the way you travel.When I came across Golden Book Traveler’s list of 20 Best Travel Websites On The Internet (because the Internet is where websites live), I continued reading past the headline. Some sites listed are ones I stand behind fully. Others are sites I’m now eager to use, including Airbnb, Couch Surfing, Hostel World, Road Sharing and Sleeping In Airports. This list seems promising to me.

Read it in its entirety here.

'Sleep Box' Opens at Moscow Airport

Women travelers have the world at their fingertips with Pink Pangea’s website

I’m usually allergic to pastels and anything labeled “women-specific,” but Pink Pangea has won me over. The new women’s travel site was launched in June, by world traveler Rachel Trager and two similar-minded female friends. The trio work for an organization that finds overseas volunteer/internship placements for young adults.

Named for the supercontinent that existed 250 million years ago, Pink Pangea is essentially a forum for women’s travel concerns, tips, experiences, and photos. As such, it contains helpful background information and advice on specific destinations and cultural mores.

Says Trager, “We were frustrated that existing travel guides presented–at best–a paragraph that dealt with women’s concerns or non-specific travel information. We know that there’s a lot more information that women need in order to have secure and fulfilling experiences abroad. The hope is for Pink Pangea to help make countries around the world more accessible to women travelers.”

Trager fell in love with travel after working on a kibbutz when she was 18. Since then, she’s traveled extensively by herself, as well as with her brother, friends, and boyfriend. It was while visiting her brother, who was studying Arabic in Egypt, that she first experienced some of the obstacles faced by female world travelers.

“In Cairo, I was scrutinized by my brother’s landlord, who was concerned I was his girlfriend, which would mean that I’d be forbidden to stay with him. In Morocco, I grew tired of the attention I got as an American woman in pants and bought a jalabiya to cover up.” Despite the frustrations that inevitably occur, Trager says, “I travel because I’m interested in seeing how and where other people live. It’s incredibly energizing to realize how large the world really is.”

Popular tags include “modesty,” “safety,” “transportation,” and “shopping.” Even I’ll admit you can’t have a site devoted to women without mentioning shopping; in this case, there are some great tips on regional-specific souvenirs, food, and bargains/rip-offs.

Because this is a public forum, the writing runs the gamut. You’ll find the odd, underage-drinking-in-foreign-country, or “I smoked too much hash in an ashram while journaling”-sounding post, but in general, entries are well-written, informative, entertaining, and often thought-provoking. Lots of cute pics, too.

Big Earth Productions launches travel website

Big Earth Productions, responsible for gripping travel documentaries such as Long Way Around and Long Way Down, have just launched a new travel website.

It’s designed to be a one-stop experience for finding information on adventure travel all over the world, providing tips on permits, visas, shipping, and transport. But they’ve gone beyond that to create an online community where people can share advice photos, and video.

BEP has filmed epic journeys starring Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor riding around the world on motorcycles, rickshaws, boats, and everything else imaginable, but especially motorcycles, which are the perfect vehicles for just about any terrain. Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of emphasis on motorcycles here, with an entire section dedicated to Two Wheel Adventure, so if you want to do your own international Easy Rider epic, you’ll be set for information. The Cargo section will tell you what permits you need to get your bike to, say, Senegal. They’ll tell you all about pet visas too.

A lot of their pages rely on public participation, so at this early stage some elements are a bit spotty. A video page encourages people to upload shots from their trip and offers advice from documentary filmmakers on how to get the most out of any video camera in adverse conditions. The TV section includes clips from Big Earth Production’s documentaries. My favorite is series of crashes from the Dakar Rally. Did that guy really think he’d save his burning bike by throwing sand on it? Feel free to upload more of those, guys.

One page that holds a lot of promise is a clickable map of the world that aspires to have travel anecdotes and information for every country. Some countries don’t have much yet, but they will fill in with time. Since membership is free, you might want to head on over there and add your own content, but be sure to come right back to Gadling because, in the words of my three-year-old son, “we’re pretty cool.”

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