Top 6 Social Travel Sites

A pair of friends looking at a lake and mountains.

@luxandterraphotography via Twenty20 

Social travel is a hot area for innovation in social media as a ton of startups launch services to make travel planning more efficient and effective by incorporating the latest social media tools and networks.

In the process, they're disrupting the established travel industry, including trip planners, travel agencies and rental services of all kinds. Even first-generation social travel sites like TripAdvisor with its millions of user-generated travel reviews face increased competition from travel social networks that have popped up in more recent years.

What Is Social Travel?

Social travel simply refers to information-sharing about travel. Typically, the new services include a website and mobile app and let you tap into your existing social networks on Twitter and Facebook for travel advice, as well as communicate with other travelers you've never met via the sites' own social travel network. Some are focused on bookings and rentals, but more are about discovery and sharing tools and aim to be your personal travelogue.

New social travel players like San Francisco-based Suiteness continue to pop up month after month. Since it can be hard to know which sites are worthy of attention because there are so many, we've compiled the list below of six noteworthy innovators in social travel.

Trippy

Trippy Logo

Sunshinemartin / Wikimedia Commons

What We Like
  • Sample itineraries to plan long drives and flights.

  • Offers highly personalized advice.

What We Don't Like
  • Unreliable search feature.

  • Destination information isn't well organized.

Trippy is a Pinterest-like, online service for planning trips that has tie-ins to social networks like Facebook and Twitter. It helps people seek travel tips from their connections on those networks and others who have traveled to places they're considering going; it also offers itinerary-planning tools with social features. The interface looks like Pinterest with a visual grid of what it calls "travel boards," image collections from places you like or have visited. The website launched in 2011. Trippy also has a free iPhone app.

Everplaces

Everplaces Logo

Everplaces 

What We Like
  • Mobile app works well without an internet connection.

  • Control who sees your posts.

What We Don't Like
  • Website loads slowly, there's a lot of pictures.

  • Can be difficult to navigate.

Everplaces is a Pinterest-like social network and mobile app aimed at letting you track places you've been or want to visit by category. It launched in closed beta in 2011 and to the public in 2012. The tagline gives you the basic idea: "Create your own collection of places you love." The Danish ​startup is all about location-based tracking and planning. Like Pinterest, it allows users to follow one another. Everplaces recently launched a business-oriented tool that lets people and businesses create mini-travel guides as apps for mobile phones. Everplaces also is available as an iPhone app.

Trip by SkyScanner

Trip by Skyscanner screenshot
What We Like
  • "Tribes" feature that plans trips around personal interests.

  • Destination pages include comprehensive weather information.

What We Don't Like
  • Distracting advertisements for other travel websites.

  • Not the best tool to find cheap flights.

Trip by Skyscanner (formerly GoGoBot) is one of the more popular travel apps, thanks partly to early integration with Facebook. It performs a similar service to Trippy but with a more original interface, well suited for planning trips. It launched in 2010 and looks more like TripAdvisor than Pinterest, with a focus on mini-guides to particular destinations built around user reviews. Trip by Skyscanner also lets users book hotels while planning, create photo postcards for sharing, review venues, get "stamps" from places you visit and maintain a "passport" of places you've visited. In addition to the website, Trip by Skyscanner has an iPhone app.

TripIt

Tripit logo
Tripit
What We Like
  • Coordinate plans with groups of travelers.

  • Import travel details from your email.

What We Don't Like
  • Must create an account and supply an email address.

  • Advanced features require a premium membership.

TripIt is a social network for making itineraries and travel plans. It provides tools for converting your flight, hotel and rental car confirmations into mobile itineraries. TripIt has free mobile apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Android.

AirBnB

AirBnB logo
AirBnB
What We Like
  • Accommodations and tours you won't find anywhere else.

  • "Concerts" section covers the local music scene.

What We Don't Like
  • Limited customer service.

  • Some "experiences" packages are overpriced.

AirBnB is a major innovative player in online rentals that lets people book space in other people's homes. It lets users create profiles and show their reviews of places they've rented and stayed. Launched in 2008, Airbnb had hundreds of thousands of listings in a couple hundred countries by 2012. Many listings are rooms inside private homes occupied by other people, but they also include full apartments and homes. Hosts and guests publicly rate each other after checkout, which helps with security. It was originally called Airbedandbreakfast and people often still call it air bed & breakfast. Airbnb has both iPhone and Android mobile apps.

WAYN

WAYN
WAYN
What We Like
  • Sample itineraries for day trips to major cities.

  • Tons of articles and top 10 lists about popular destinations.

What We Don't Like
  • No way to make a personalized account.

  • Homepage includes some misleading advertisements.

WAYN stands for "Where Are You Now?" and is a social network for travel and lifestyles that launched in 2005, early in the social travel rush. It's more popular in the United Kingdom than the U.S. since it was founded in London.