travel sites, travel in 2010

Web Sites to Watch for Travel in 2010

December 28, 2009
by Sarah Amandolare
Experts love telling travelers where to experience the next big thing, but most of us would rather choose for ourselves. Certain travel magazines, Web sites, blogs and tour companies stand out from the pack, equipping travelers with the inspiration and insight to seek adventure in 2010.

Guided Tours That Go Beyond the Norm

What sets Smithsonian Journeys apart are "world-class expert" tour guides, men and women who have educational backgrounds in the countries they visit, and who display passion for culture and travel. Browse the new selection of 2010 Tours, including cruises in Imperial Russian Waterways, exploring Italian Opera in Puglia and Rome, and an Egyptian Family Odyssey. Smithsonian Journeys also tours World Heritage Destinations, such as Spain's Rioja, Iceland and Historic Cities of the Sea.

Travel Magazines

Amid the print publishing mudslide that was 2009, AFAR Media launched a, well, print magazine. Crazy? Absolutely not, if the magazine is as unique ("highly specific," says Travel Weekly) and high quality as AFAR is. The magazine focuses on what's called experiential travel, which emphasizes cultural immersion, and sometimes involves learning a new skill or trade—a feature called "Feast" might involve a traveler absorbing a winemaker's wisdom, for instance. A favorite feature is Spin the Globe, in which a writer is "sent to a randomly chosen location," testing his or her abilities to adapt and immerse on the fly.

Budget Travel adheres to the notion that low-cost jaunts should be anything but cookie-cutter, presenting ideas that are accessible yet special. Not only does the publication keep its readers abreast of the best travel deals, it also furnishes local knowledge, via blog posts written by staff around the world. Peruse the print version or take advantage of the Web site's fresh daily content, including "This Just In ..." blog updates, and "People are Talking," which highlights most commented-on stories.

The crew at National Geographic Traveler seems to have it all figured out, even on Twitter, where chief researcher Marilyn Terrell keeps her nearly 7,500 followers happy with interesting links and insights. Between Traveler's consistently stunning photography and enthralling feature articles, supplemented by unique extras like Insider Maps and Trip Lit book reviews, there is always something new and enlightening happening.

The Best of the Travel Blogs

Intelligent Travel, the blog of National Geographic Traveler, is where road-thirsty readers can catch up with globetrotting writers like Andrew Evans, who'll be sharing his bus trip to Antartica starting in January.

Gadling is AOL's main travel blog, employing a savvy staff of talented writers who are chock full of personality. This is the blog to watch for travel news updates and for quirkier posts, such as "The most over-the-top first class cabins" and "Hot travel trend for 2010—naked cruises?" Gadling bloggers cover a full spectrum of travel categories: budget, adventure and tech. Plus, it posts great daily photos submitted by users.

Jamie Pearson is Travel Savvy Mom, a blogger who launched her "network of moms all over the world" after her 3-year-old daughter couldn't keep her dinner down in a Belgium hotel restaurant. What resulted from that embarrassing incident are some of the Web's most readable and essential tips for traveling families, regarding hotels, destinations and gear. There's an assortment of content, including top ten lists like iPhone Apps for Kids, and destination feature articles like Montenegro with Kids: 5 Family Favorites. Readers can submit their own reviews of hotels they think should be included on the site.

Pre-Trip Required Reading and Personalized Guides

Nile Guide, whose motto is "Explore the World Your Way", has built up its library of destination guides and lets users create their own free custom guides-to-go. These personal guides can be uploaded to a mobile device, and shared with friends. Nile Guide has differentiated itself by making it easy to locate attractions and restaurants within walking distance of your hotel or point of interest. In addition, Nile Guide bloggers are savvy travelers who don't hesitate to reveal their favorite places to eat or be entertained on any budget. They're funny, to boot.

The place to read about gutsy, thoughtful travel, World Hum consistently publishes some of the most memorable travel essays on the Web. The World Hum blog also keeps readers abreast of travel-related happenings, including books, airline and hotel news, and must-see photography from around the globe. Often funny, always insightful and thought-provoking, World Hum content should be essential reading for travelers before embarking on a trip.

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