EuroTravel Recommended Websites
It might appear this is somewhat of a niche site, but cycling in France is more
popular than ever and looks set to explode with a slew of ‘official’ signed routes
linking France’s most popular destinations already, or just about to be launched.
The site has a brand new clean design and is a cross between practical route
planning, with specific recommended listings for accommodation and tour
holiday providers, and ‘background’ style articles by experienced cycle authors
who have been there, done that and clearly really enjoyed it.
The articles cover everything from how to start planning if you’ve no
experience, to suggested mountain tours for those with cycling-hardened
legs and lungs, and range from the general (eg campsite recipies) to the quite
specific (eg several quite detailed and cross-referenced articles to the very
popular Nantes-Brest Canal route).
‘It’s time to rediscover real travel by train or ship, where the journey itself
is part of the adventure’ says the Man in Seat 61 (otherwise known as ex-
Charing Cross station manager Mark Smith) who has travelled by train
and boat to Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta, Albania and way beyond without
stepping onboard an aircraft.
This site is packed with detailed and helpful information and tips about
both UK and foreign travel by ‘alternative’ means. If you want to know how
to get from London to Leeds for £11.50, he can help. If you would like a
train trip to Laos, he’ll show you how.
Extensive campsite search site listing nearly 10,000 campsites throughout
Europe. You can search using the usual criteria but also by small, rural campsite
or by sites with their own website. This could be useful for making a booking as
well as finding more detailed information, as the direct booking facility on the
eurocampings site does not cover the majority of listings.
ACSI who operate the website also offer a discount card for low season
bookings and an insurance card. ACSI say they visit all campsites annually
and do on the spot camper surveys to get objective information.
Straightforward to use air travel search site which allows you to compare
prices and journey times for flights with both scheduled and budget carriers
with the facility to compare prices over a month or a year if you’re not tied
to particular dates.
And if you’re flexible about where you might like to go, the site can cope
with an ‘everywhere’ entry. Skyscanner does not take bookings but takes
you to the airline or travel agent for your flight to do so. Covers hotels
and car hire also. It’s big – they claim over 25 million visitors a month
and operate in over 25 languages.
This is a common website model and there are many competitors but
Skyscanner stands out for its ease of use. Still, it’s worth comparing the comparison
sites; those with similar features include www.kayak.co.uk and orbitz.com
Not, as you might assume, purely a shopfront for its guides but a site with
loads of free info that will give you a quick tour of any country in the world.
Looking for background to help a relative plan a trip to Norway I discover
Oslo sounds right up his street, with cycling, hiking, ice-skating, kayaking,
sailing and skiing, all within city limits or a short train ride away.
The Thorn Tree forum has loads of useful ‘real world’ posts on trips
searchable by destination or activity and there is a booking section with the
usual hotel, flight etc search engine fields. However it’s the ‘Destinations’
section that is the real treasure.
www.roughguides.com has a similar makeup but lacked the crisp and
informative writing of its Lonely Planet competitor in it’s country by
Individuals advertise rooms to let in some of the world’s most desirable locations.
Looking at possibilities for future European trips I happed upon a chic
loft apartment in the Buttes-Chaumont area of Paris for only £60 a night
(cheap by Parisian standards) and ideal for cycling out of the city along the
canal. I’ve also got my eye on a river view room in Frankfurt-am-Main for a
future business trip.
Airbnb covers some plenty of lesser known locations too, as I discovered a
plethora of accommodation possibilities around the Yorkshire mill town where
I live, making this an ideal resource for places where ‘official’ accommodation
might be in short supply.
Search by typing in a place or by map. There are ‘user reviews’ of accommodation
and hosts plus attractive photo descriptions of many areas
in major cities acting as a great advert for your potential home from home.
This is a community website for travellers where members publish often
very detailed reports along with photographs and other info.
This ‘Facebook for travellers’ type site is a really refreshing antidote
to official tourist- office-slick sites. I found the travel reports invaluable
for checking out a particular destination just to get a feel for whether it
would be my kind of place. If it’s an off the beaten path destination
you’re heading for you might uncover some hidden gem about it, but
don’t worry if not, you can try contacting globosapien members in that
area to see what they can tell you.
Be warned – it’s one of those sites where it’s incredibly easy to get
sidetracked and read for the pleasure of it. I ended up reading about a
contender for most wordily-titled bar in France (Le Cafe du Coin d’en
Bas de la Rue du Bout de la Ville d’en Face du Port in St-Malo) then
jumping to Futuroscope museum in Poitiers that appears to be a huge
collection various types of cinema all in one place. So you might end
up on the opposite side of the world to where you had planned.
If you like home comforts try someone else’s. Intervac helps people
exchange homes for their holidays.
And it can be more than that if you want; exchange of car, meetings
with friends, family, friends or fellow professionals can potentially all be
arranged. Intervac claims over 30,000 homes for exchange in 140 countries.
The search facility is excellent; just enter dates and places. A random
search for this summer produced a huge choice but predominantly in
Western Europe but with agood number in the US and Australia too.
Map search allows you to check out what’s generally available in a
You can complete your own listing and make your own arrangements
but country reps are available for support. There is a membership charge.