Smart websites for savvy travel
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