In today's digital age, young adults are increasingly turning to travel websites tailored specifically to their needs and interests. For young travelers, these websites not only offer a wealth of destination information but also provide valuable insights into budget-friendly options, off-the-beaten-path adventures, and unique ways to travel and stay without spending a fortune. Whether you're a college student on a tight budget, a recent graduate embarking on a gap year, or a young professional seeking to expand your horizons, these travel websites are your gateway to a world of exciting opportunities and invaluable guidance for the adventure of a lifetime.
Read more to see 12 travel websites I wish I had known about when I was in my twenties.
1. Trusted HouseSitters
Trusted HouseSitters has been around since 2010 and seems to really be taking off in the past few years. Though families and retired folks certainly can apply to watch others' homes and pets in exchange for a place to stay, responsible young animal lovers are well suited for the position, as young travelers tend to need to stick to a budget, have lots of energy, and are just happy to be out seeing the world. As an animal-lover, I certainly wish I could have utilized this in my early twenties!
Similar to Trusted HouseSitters, Nomador allows travelers to connect with homeowners who need a house sitter/pet sitter. Founded in 2014, Nomador is a great resource for young travelers who love animals and want to save on housing costs. Whether you are doing a road trip in your home country or taking a solo trip overseas, you'll find great options for house-sits on Nomador.
Though WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) was established in 1971 in the UK, the first time I ever heard of it was just a few years ago. Now it is available in 99 countries around the world! Some of the WWOOF hosts are able to accommodate a couple or a small family, but many of them need and can accommodate only one person, which is perfect for a young solo traveler. Travelers work typically on small local organic farms doing everything from feeding animals, gathering eggs, assisting in sheep sheering, and milking cows to planting and harvesting produce, tapping for maple syrup, and more. In exchange, they learn new skills and enjoy a cozy place to stay while meeting locals and embracing the local culture.
Couchsurfing allows individuals (and sometimes couples) to crash at someone's house free of charge (though a thoughtful host gift is highly recommended). Sometimes this means sleeping in a guest room and sometimes it means crashing on the sofa. This gives the host the opportunity to meet travelers from all over the world, and it gives young people a place to stay on a budget while chatting with a local to gain all the insights into places to go and things to do that may not be in the guidebooks. Check off your travel bucket list on the cheap with Couchsurfing.
5. AirBNB / VRBO
VRBO has been around since the mid-90s, though I didn't know of its existence till years later. AirBNB was created in 2008 and seems to have really popularized this form of gig economy. Though both resources offer similar services (individual home owners can offer a place to stay for travelers in exchange for financial compensation by subscribing to the third party marketing and secure transaction platform), AirBNB also offers hosts the opportunity to rent out a room within their home, providing a less expensive option for the budget traveler. Often the cost of a room rental is similar to the cost of a bed in a youth hostel, but with a bit more privacy and general cleanliness.
* I realize that AirBNB in particular has come under fire recently with travelers complaining that it has become too expensive or that hosts are requiring too much cleaning from their guests, but I still like to have the option, especially when traveling with others and wanting to have separate rooms and shared spaces. Fortunately, we have stayed at many AirBNBs over the past decade and have never had a complete nightmare experience, though I don't doubt that there are hosts who cause issues for their guests, just as there are guests who cause issues for their hosts. For a more complete look at the pros and cons of AirBNB versus hotels, read "AirBNBs vs. Hotels, Pros and Cons."
6. Google Flights
Google Flights is hands-down my favorite way to search flights (unless I am searching for flights on Southwest). If I don't have a particular destination in mind and just want to find a good deal, I put in my departure city and dates of travel and hit "Explore." You can also set it to alert you when prices change for a particular flight you want to watch. At any given time, I have 10-15 flight alerts set.
7. Secret Flying
SecretFlying is another great way to find deals on flights if you don't care where you're going or when. They search for error fares and cheap flights. Put in your departure city and see what comes up! Check it often, because error fares tend to not last very long.
For budget travelers based in the U.S. or Canada, Megabus is a great option to get from Point A to Point B. Is it glamorous? No. Is it reliable? I mean, you'll get there, but don't count on getting there at the scheduled time. But it's affordable and relatively comfortable. With stops in major United States cities like Las Vegas, New York City, New Orleans, and Dallas, as well as Montreal in Quebec, Canada, your adventures in North America are just a few clicks away.
Flixbus is perfect for budget travelers based in Europe. It's also a competitor of Megabus in parts of the U.S. Is it as reliable as most of the train systems in Europe? Meh... probably not. But it's inexpensive and will get you from one place to another for less than the cost of many of the trains and without some of the headaches of flying budget airlines.
10. With Locals
A group tour is a great way to meet new people and make new friends, especially when you're in a foreign country! When looking for unique travel experiences with local experts, WithLocals is the way to go! From walking tours to food tours to cycling tours, you're sure to find a great guided tour where you'll meet both locals and fellow travelers.
One of the best ways to find things to do in cities around the world is to search Viator. They have such a huge selection at a wide range of price points. You'll find unique tours, discounted tickets, and more! This is such a great resource for finding things to do that I really wish I had found earlier in life. It's been around since 1995, but I only discovered it within the past few years. Whether you're searching for a volcano hiking tour in Costa Rica, a tour of Alcatraz in San Francisco, or a visit with penguins on the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, you'll find it on Viator.
Planning a Pacific Coast Highway road trip? Looking for tips for visiting Manila and other cities in Southeast Asia? This super-cool resource has been around since 2011, but I discovered it just a few months ago. Trippy offers travel advice for flying or driving, and you can even add that you're traveling in an RV or with a pet, so fellow travelers offer advice for pet-friendly stops or places that are large enough to accommodate an RV. It's just a great way to compare travel options, and also has general information about what to do, where to stay, and where to eat in various cities around the world.
The internet has become an invaluable asset, connecting wanderlust with practical know-how. I love finding fellow travel bloggers who offer their tips, tricks, and unique perspectives on places they've visited. University students, solo travelers, and female travelers can and should take advantage of these incredible resources!
Travel websites are more than just tools; they're gateways to adventures! Each provides a unique way to make the most of your journey. If you're on a budget, traveling solo, or eager to immerse yourself in the customs and cultures of the countries you visit, these websites cater to your unique needs. Whether you're traveling by car, train, bus, or plane, these resources will help you plan your travels. As you embark on your next adventure, let these platforms be your compass, your inspiration, and your go-to resource. With a little help from these travel websites, world travel is at your fingertips! Grab your best friends and use these websites to plan your next getaway. Bon voyage!
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