Web tools for travelers

As a traveler, a tech person, and occasional internet addict, I’ve been slowly scouring the web over the past few years for the most useful sites and computer tools I can find to help the independent globetrotter while on the road in distant countries. These tools range from travel forums, to wiki guides, to finding free worldwide accomodation, to getting there cheaply. Now, there are two things that all travelers that have been outside the first world already know and that anyone planning to travel must seriously take into consideration regarding web usage on the road: 1) internet access can be range from dificult to impossible to find and 2) when you do find it, quality of service is relatively (i.e., deadly) slow compared to the high speed broadband we enjoy back home in the first world. On the other hand, its quite common that certain sites are already so popular that their service is slow just from sheer daily usage and the hosting providers’ server conditions and network connections. All of this leads us to ultimately lower our standards and expectations for web services such as the following, but hey, if you’ve got a few hours to kill why not waste them online waiting for pages to load, right?

The independent traveler community

“the gringo trail is far and wide” there’s thousands of people walking the globe right now, befriend someone in cyberspace and ask them for advice, help, or a homestay.

The global free accommodation networks

Find a free couch to sleep on anywhere in the world.

The “get there cheap” sites

The following sites are quite popular with any traveler (be it budget or business) because they make searching for airfare so easy by aggregating their results from hundreds of other airfare sites as well as many proprietary airlines, effectively giving you a concise listing of the best deals from across the web with one flight search.

Read and research before you go

Destination guides

Staying in touch with the homebase

Continued motivation while on the road

While this list covers a range of tools there’s neverending resources on the web. These are the links that I most frequently use while traveling. Other sites that I left off the list that everyone should already know about is Gmail for free email, accessible from anywhere, Google Search, and Google Calendar.

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