Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Find more travel ideas, more easily

If you're using our bookmarking tool, you know how Planapple makes it easy to keep track of all the travel ideas you find around the web. But did you know Planapple can help you explore the web for new ideas, too?

At the top of every category page (like Lodging or Dining), you'll find suggested searches:
Many of these are sites our users have found helpful for planning their own trips. You can either type in your own search term in the box (e.g., "beachfront condo") or just click one of the links below it.

And Planapple doesn't just link to these sites, it actually fills in their search forms for you with your destination and travel dates whenever possible. So if you're looking for (say) hotels or airline tickets, you don't have to keep re-typing your trip details at all those other sites.

Today, we added several new search sites we think you'll find helpful. Some of our favorites:
  • HomeAway - a vacation rentals site like VRBO (it's actually owned by the same company). We think it's a little cleaner and easier to get around than VRBO. There's some overlap between the sites, but a lot of rentals are on only one or the other, so be sure to check both -- Planapple makes it easy. (Look for the link in your trip's Lodging category.)
  • eGullet - foodie discussion boards, run by the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. One of our customers pointed us to this site, and swears by it for finding unique and undiscovered restaurants. Planapple will help you search eGullet's "regional cuisine" discussions in your destination. (Look for the link in your trip's Dining category.)
  • Expedia Attractions - sure, you already know Expedia as a place to get plane tickets, but you might not realize they also have deals on all kinds of activities at your destination. Check them for sightseeing tours, multi-museum discount passes, show and event tickets, and more -- all automatically filtered by when you'll be there. Yeah, some of them are definitely "touristy", but you might be surprised by the variety of what's there. And if you are going to do the touristy things, there are often discounts only available before you travel. (Look for the link in your trip's Attractions category. And you'll still find Expedia flights listed under Transportation, plus we've also added Expedia car rentals there for your convenience.)
  • HotelsCombined - a nifty "meta-search" site for hotels, which means that it searches other hotel and travel sites for you and shows you the combined results from all of them. Hotel rate can be even more confusing than airfares, so this is a great way to check the options all at once. (Look for the link in your trip's Lodging category.)
These new searches join some of our earlier favorite finds like Foodspotting (discover restaurants by looking at pictures of their food!), Hipmunk (compare air tickets by cost and "pain"), and Weather Underground (check out historical weather conditions on your planned travel dates), plus standards like Yelp and TripAdvisor.

Got a site you think we should add? We're always trying to make Planapple more helpful for planning your travels, so let us know using the feedback link on the right.