Smart web­sites for savvy travel

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

EV­ERY­ONE’S HEARD about Airbnb, the web­site that en­ables you to rent out your home while you are away or to rent some­one else’s place any­where in the world. It’s a way of making and saving money on ac­com­mo­da­tion, and has led the way for other savvy ideas that change the way we ap­proach travel.

Here’s one: if you’ve booked a ho­tel room or paid a non-re­fund­able fee up-front and find you can’t make it, you can now re­coup some of the fee by reg­is­ter­ing your room on Roomer­travel.com, an on­line plat­form for ho­tel room re­sales. This is great news, not only for those whose plans have gone awry but also for trav­ellers with flex­i­ble plans who can snap up a bar­gain. A search re­vealed a room at Times Square New York at £225 per room per night re­duced from £426, and four nights at the four-star Dei Con­soli Ho­tel in Rome at £56 per night in­stead of £117.

Or you could do away with money and sim­ply ex­change homes for an agreed pe­riod on Home­ex­change. com. The site has a global reach and ex­changees can of­fer their car and even toys for the chil­dren.

Per­haps the most so­cial on­line ac­com­mo­da­tion fa­cil­ity is Home­s­tay. com. The host be­comes your guide to the lo­cal­ity, and friend­ships de­velop.

Re­mem­ber hitch­hik­ing? A far safer version of the prac­tice is now avail­able on­line. BlaBlaCar.com con­nects driv­ers with trav­ellers who want to get to the same des­ti­na­tion. Mem­bers are vet­ted and you can read or leave driver re­views with rat­ings on the com­fort of their car.There’s even a ladies-only sec­tion.

The cost of the jour­ney is shared and paid on­line so no cash ex­changes hands. Cur­rent of­fers in­clude a trip from Lon­don to Leeds in a Volk­swa­gen Pas­sat for just £18 or one in a Range Rover from Lon­don to Ed­in­burgh for £30.

Clock­wise from left: Nat­u­ral History mu­seum; Winch­ester Cho­ris­tors; Not­ting­ham Win­ter Won­der­land

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