NerdWallet’s Top 4 Sites for a Killer Vacation

Personal Finance

The gist: Vacations social with apps and forums dedicated to giving travelers the best experience possible.

1. Tripping

Ever wish you could connect with the real people of a foreign country, rather than being surrounded by tourists? Tripping helps you safely connect with travelers and locals all around the world, whether you’d like to meet at a patisserie, stay with a Venezuelan family, or find someone willing to help you improve your faulty Arabic. They have a range of safety controls, including references and an emergency hotline. The startup lets you get the full experience of visiting a foreign country, without the sketchiness of meeting someone on a dark and lonely alley.

2. TripSay

For nerds who love being able to filter on every possible dimension, TripSay is a dream come true. They help you plan the best trip for you – not the generic masses. If we dare say, it’s NerdWallet for travel bookings. When looking for a hotel, for example, you can filter by quality, date, price, and specific location (instead of, oh, you know, somewhere in the greater New York area). Plus, you can see at a glance what other people thought, what the room rates are, and the amenities. Nothing compares to well-presented information.

3. Gogobot

You never know until you try – or read the review. But how do you know that you’re not taking your cues from an adrenaline junkie when you’re looking for a relaxing mai tai on the beach, or whether the person reviewing a backpackers’ hostel isn’t comparing it to five-star hotels? Gogobot makes travel recommendations social, so you’re getting reviews from people you know and trust (or know well enough not to listen to).

4. HotelTonight

Did your spouse/significant other charge you with booking the hotel rooms? Were you too busy playing Angry Birds instead? HotelTonight has got your back. The iPhone and Android app lets you book last-minute, and gives you deals of up to 70%. Hotels often have low occupancy (and thus would be more than happy to get something out of those rooms) but don’t want to seem like they’re undercutting their competitors. HotelTonight helps by rotating its listings, and limiting them to 3 per city per day, so that no one hotel gets a reputation for being cheaper and sparks a price war.

5. Geocaching

If you’ve never been geocaching, you need to do so. Now. It’s a 21st-century, worldwide scavenger hunt. Using a GPS device and mysterious clues, you can find a box filled with keepsakes, notes and a log of previous discoverers. You’re encouraged to leave a memento of your own, write a note, and keep something from the geocache you’ve found. This scavenger hunt 2.0 is exciting, it introduces you to new places, and you can participate whether you’re searching in a nearby park or continents away.