Going to a travel agent in the app era is kind of like churning your own butter when you can just run across the street to the supermarket. It just seems kind of like a hassle to go through a middleman when you can just pick up your phone and book a flight in under two minutes. But what about the rest of vacation? Travel agents are pretty helpful when you think about it: They tell you where to go, how to get there, and what to do when you arrive. Of course, you can figure this out on your own thanks to the Internet, but it’s always nice to have someone do the hard stuff for you (come on, it’s vacation). Well, luckily, we stumbled across an article on Mashable that outlines 11 of the best travel start-ups out there. This is the reason travel agents are probably struggling to find work right about now: Thanks to entrepreneurs and the iPhone, you always have a travel agent in your pocket — no matter where you go. Here are our 5 favorite start-ups (and be sure to check out the full list, too):
Peek.com is for those who have already picked their destination and are asking the question, “now what?” It’s similar to LivingSocial and Groupon, in that if you book an activity through their site, they’ll get a 15% to 30% cut. First choose your destination — cities throughout the U.S. and Europe, as well as Hawaii — and then pick your category. They have options like “Under $50,” “Off the Beaten Path,” and “Bachelor Parties”. It’s pretty smart, if you ask us. And there’s no doubt you’re going to end up having a ball if you book an activity through this ingenious start-up.
Unfortunately, far too many of us are familiar with the miserable, eight-hour plane ride next to either a screaming baby or a man whose belly deserves at least a seat-and-a-half to itself. And then there’s the fact that you can’t spread out your legs, and if you prop them up you’re digging your knees into the person in front of you. Oh, and then the mini television in front of you won’t change channels, so you have to stare at the automatic map-of-your-journey setting until that gets too much to bear and you decide to sleep instead. But you can’t because of the screaming baby or the man whose stomach is somehow managing to push you off of the seat you purchased for way too much. Yeah, far too many of us are familiar with that scene, which is why Routehappy.com is such a great, great site: Routehappy helps you book your flight based off of everything, including the food, the legroom, and your access to WiFi. Not to mention, you can browse all sorts of reviews that give you honest input about the quality of the flight. While it perhaps won’t save you from a screaming baby or a very large man, it will save you from cranky flight attendants and inedible food.
Probably the simplest site of them all, Triptease.com provides you with breathtaking — that’s not even an exaggeration — photographs of some of the most beautiful places on earth. Pick a category — categories include Beachy, Family Affair, Wild Things, Retail Therapy, and many more — and flip through a slideshow of pictures. Each picture is submitted by others who have signed up for Triptease and comes with a brief description of the location. The bad news — if you could really call it that — is that you’re going to want to everywhere. It’s also just worth a click even if you’re not planning on taking a trip.
Tingo.com basically just wants to make sure you’re not spending too much money. If you book a hotel room for a fair amount of dough and find out that the price dropped a week later, there’s not much you can do — unless you booked with Tingo. Tingo is a TripAdvisor company that will re-book your room for you if the price drops and give you the difference back. It seems almost like cheating, but it’s not. Never book in fear again.
You just landed in Fiji. Nice. It’s summertime, you’re off work for the entire week, and you’re not going back until you’re at least kind of tan. You and your friends get off the plane. You wait for your luggage. Becky’s luggage comes. Susan’s luggage comes. Ted’s luggage comes. Where’s yours? Oops. Looks like it didn’t make it. So now you’re forced to borrow a suit that doesn’t quite fit you, and your tan lines are, well, awkward. Next time, use Bag2Go. It’s basically just a piece of luggage designed by Airbus that has a GPS installed. You can sync it up with your iPhone and keep track of your bag throughout your journey. That way, you won’t have to worry about going on vacation with your boyfriend, losing your luggage, and wearing a belted men’s t-shirt for a few days.
And those are just our favorites. Don’t forget to hit up Mashable.com and check out the other six start-ups!