Top Ten Travel Social Network Sites for 2012

Top Ten Travel Social Network Sites for 2012

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

The key to the success of any niche social network is the overall value it has for the traveler. This includes deals, travel tips and vacation ideas. Travelers are looking for deals without having to sacrifice too much of the overall travel experience.

Of course, there is the social aspect. If you find a good deal, it can be easily shared with others. Some travel sites even have tools to alert others about what you post, broadcast restaurants you find, show car insurance deals from rental car insurers, and see other travel-related stuff. Here’s a rundown of the top ten travel social network sites for 2012.

1. IgoUgo

Overseen by Travelocity, this site boasts more than 500,000 members. You get a large pool of travelers, which is generally a good think in terms of the social aspect of such sites. Tools like “Get Ideas from Other Travelers” and “I’ve Been Here” buttons help narrow down selections and get useful input from other travelers interested in the same destination.

IgoUgo allows for comparison of flights, hotels, restaurants and local attractions. This is a good site to use when looking to plan the little details of a trip such as what to do and where do eat.

2. Gogobot

This is one of the newer social travel networks, but you’ll still find some great deals and travel trips. It’s fairly small community, which can have its advantages. The format should be familiar to Facebook users, since it’s set up in the same style. The opinions tend to be very honest, both good and bad.

Right now, it looks like most of the comments are from travelers, with not too many travel experts weighing in. Frankly, that’s part of the site’s appeal. You’ll have to get friendly quickly to get the real scoop, but that’s part of the charm of this site.

3. Tripatini

This site has been called “Facebook for travelers,” and that’s pretty much what it is. This is more of a site for travel experts such as local vendors, travel agents, journalists and various travel experts. Members connect with industry experts to get the inside scoop on travel resources and deals.

Most of the professionals offering advice tend to be helpful when it comes to finding out the little details that can make a trip more enjoyable. This is especially helpful for first time travelers. The Ask a Travel Expert form includes a widget that can be placed on your desktop or blog. The goal of this site is to break the barriers that normally exist between travelers and experts in the industry. Image galleries and user-generated blogs enhance the experience.

4. Travellerspoint

This is a site that tends to give you the scoop on out-of-the way destinations such as local restaurants, hotels, resorts and guesthouses not always widely advertised. This means you’re likely to find some hidden treasures here and there. If you want to avoid the usual tourist traps, this is relatively small travel community offering some great tips.

As any traveler will tell you, once you find a good deal or “hidden” location, you definitely want to share it with others. You can then get the satisfaction of sharing your own comparisons and treasures here. How much is moped insurance in Italy? What is the best viewpoint for watching the sunset over the Grand Canyon? The possibilities of this personal aspect of the site are endless.

5. WAYN (Where Are You Now)

This is considered the largest travel and lifestyle community online with nearly 20 million members. You sign up and meet fellow travelers just like you would do with any other social site. The “Who’s Around” features puts you in touch with your travel friends online when you are. Consequently, this site has turned into something of dating site.

If you’re trying to meet travel buddies, on the other hand, sites like Couch Surfing and Budget Travel are better suited to you. Although WAYN did recently add a “Meet People” feature, indicated that some users like this aspect of the site. There’s more than enough users and options that you can use this site either to find fellow travelers or just to find good deals.

6. Tripping.com

This site tends to be more international than the others, with travelers from more than a hundred countries among the site’s active members. You’ll find plenty of references and ratings along with safety features designed to retain some level of privacy. The emergency hotline for members is another plus.

This feature comes in handy if you run into difficulty once you’ve arrived at your destination or if your travel plans hit a snag. If you need help with the language when traveling, InterNations.org is separate site that can help you track down locals speaking the same language.

7. Dopplr

This site takes a different approach to traveling. It doesn’t tell you where people have been, but rather where they’re going. The focus of this site is travel planning. You privately share your travel details and plans via your own personal network to see where others will be at any given time. This is better for friends sharing travel plans who don’t want to completely miss each other while still doing their own thing. The site is public and recently went mobile, but still makes an attempt to restrict membership to active members.

8. TripWolf

Offering a combination of travel reviews and user-generated text, this site tends to give a more accurate view of what to expect traveling to a particular location. The opinions come from professional travel writers and amateur travelers alike. You also get to view other users trip itineraries and travel blogs posted during their vacations and travel stories from previous trips.

You’ll also find city guides accessed through the site’s free iPhone app. There’s plenty of useful free content, but the premium content can be beneficial for the serious traveler.

9. TripAdvisor

With nearly 40 million monthly visitors and just as many reviews and opinions, this site is the largest travel community in the world. Due to the shear volume of users, this site is very useful when it comes to finding tips on hotels, restaurants, resorts, hiking trails and other local amenities and destinations.

The “Cities I’ve Visited” app allows friends to see where you’ve been or cities you’ve been researching via the site. They can then offer tips and advice related to what you’re looking for. It certainly is one of the most interactive travel sites, a good quality to look for when trying to track down deals.

10. TripLine

Putting the social in social networks for traveling, this site allows you to create animated maps specific to your destination that can be posted right into your Facebook feed. You can map out past adventures, current travel plans or future destinations. You can also access the site and your maps via your mobile devices.

You can add video, sound and other features to enhance your map and then share it with friends, family or other members. You can be as detailed as you want, mapping specific local clubs, bars, restaurants and whatever else made your trip interesting. You can also create a map for a trip you’d like to take someday. As an added bonus, the travel maps you create can be added to all your social networks.

Image by Travel Advantage Network

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