Take a good look at the above image, which is the layout of a standard search result here at Travel Indicator. It's quite obvious that it gives you a thumbnail of the destination, a description and a price, but what does it all really mean? Let's get into some of the things that may not be immediately obvious, shall we? From left to right, top to bottom:
1. Thumbnail with indicator of current price level - As you might know we download hotel prices every few hours for all destinations where those are available, and compute an average nightly hotel rate from that. Based on that you can see that staying in city X will, on average, be cheaper than city Y. What's more, the red or green button hovering over the thumbnail shows you whether the location is currently (i.e. 2 weeks from now) cheaper or more expensive than it has historically been. You can imagine London at Christmas being significantly more expensive than it is during September, for instance!
2. Tags - If a destinations scores more than 50% on a certain theme, we tag it with that and show it at the end preceded by a #. Click on these to see more destinations matching this theme.
3. Similar and nearby places - We link to this from the destination overview pages itself, but also straight from the search results. Let's say Barcelona shows up in your results and you love it but have already been there, so you're looking for something similar. Just click the "[Similar]" link and we'll present you with the 25 closest matches.
4. Current relative price level - +102%. We store the average hotel price on daily basis and compare each destination's current price to it's historical levels. In the [102%+] you see above, you can see that Perast is currently twice as expensive as normal! You might want to pick another time to go.
5. Saved destinations - We have saved the above location as a "must-see". For you it might be none at all, or maybe a might-see or should-see. In any case, once you save it, this flags it in our search results.
6. Historical average and current temperature - 13°C and 4°C-10°C. We know what the weather has historically been in a place and show you the monthly average. But in addition to that we show you the actual range of maximum temperatures for the next 14 days. Above you can see that actual weather is slightly cooler than what it has historically been in Perast.
7. Historical rainfall - 165mm. Self explanatory.
8. Altitude - 365m. Self explanatory.
9. Distance to you - 7287km. This is based on the home city that you have selected.
10. Cost - €180 and €801+. The first is the current hotel cost. The latter is the estimated return travel cost from your city to this destination based on Rome2Rio.
Maybe we are spoiled. We are running this website out of tropical Singapore, which means year-round warm temperatures at home anyway, but also countless fantastic South-east Asian travel destinations just a weekend trip away. Whether we want to jet off to Bali or Phuket, to Bangkok or Hong Kong, it is often a matter of conveniently flying off on a budget airline after work on a Friday and returning late on a Sunday.
The only downside to this is that we are not the only one doing this! You can fly to Krabi or Nha Trang, but then in many places you will still spend your weekend packed like sardines on a beach, next to your neighbours back home. Long story short, sometimes you want to head off to a place with palm trees and white sand beaches but at the same time get away from the crowds as well. If that's what you are after, we have some suggestions for you (that are not just located in Asia, of course). For even more inspiration just use our Destination Search.
The first destination is an island well off the coast of Brazil in South America called Fernando de Noronha. This is a renowned eco travel destination that might just be one of the most pretty spots to visit in Brazil. But as it is pretty out of the way, the (domestic and foreign) crowds don't seem to have quite discovered it. So go here, enjoy some hiking into the rocky jungle covered interior, or enjoy the water and go swimming, surfing or diving. Take note that accomodation here is basic at best, but then that's the whole point isn't it?
Bohey Dulang is one of the islands the forms part of the Tun Sakaran Marine Park in Sabah of Malaysia. You will need to travel to Semporna and spend the night there, then make your way here by boat. The main sight is the volcanic crater that is under water and which you get spectacular views over after you have made the effort of climbing your way up through the thick jungle... Once you find your way down again you can go swimming or snorkeling although you won't find any real beaches. But then again you won't find many people either!
Everybody knows Bora Bora. Nobody knows Moorea (which lies 240 kilometer or 150 miles to its south-east, right next to Tahiti). This island is sometimes described as a more authentic alternative to Bora Bora. There is certainly accomodation here that is far from basic (looking at you Hilton and Intercontinental), but the crowds are by any definition less thick too. The interior is covered with mountains and lush rain forest, while the beaches are nothing less than dreamy.
This place in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is not really a household name. Yet, as sooner or later tourists will start discovering it right? Part of India but with a vibe that is more comparable to Thailand, white sand beaches that are likened to the Maldives and fantastic scenery both around the beaches and inland. Best of all? It is cheaper and much, much quieter. For now.
And finally, back to the Caribbean. Carriacou is an island of the Grenadines island chain that is part of Grenada. Travel to the main island of Grenada and you will have no trouble finding golf courses and luxury resorts, but travel to Carriacou and you will find a quieter and much more back-to-basics kind of place.
Of course, sometimes you go on a beach holiday to do nothing else than to kick back in the sand and salty water, perhaps sip a cocktail or two but generally do absolutely nothing of any use whatsoever with your time. We completely understand the need to switch off.
Having said that however, we reckon there are also times that you want to head to a beach destination yet stimulate your mind as well. Perhaps that is by exploring big cities or small towns with architectural gems, by checking out a museum here or there, exploring castles, palaces, temples or whatever else floats your boat. Allow us to introduce 11 travel destinations (in no particular order) to you that are perfectly fit for those looking to undertake a cultured beach holiday.
The beaches in Cape Town are claimed to be some of the best in the world. The water may not be the warmest here, but beaches like Camps Bay or Clifton with their white sands are exactly how we like them. And the scenery obviously doesn't hurt either. Being the second biggest city in South Africa and having an extensive European heritage ensures that there is enough to see and explore when you're not lazing away on the beach. Main sights include the Castle of Good Hope and St. Georges Cathedral.
Where yo dou even start with a city like Barcelona? 2000 years of history, Gaudi and his Sagrada Família, the old town, on the cultural front you are assured not to be bored here. And the beaches? Well, seeing as that it was named the number one beach city in the world by National Geographic, you're spoilt for choice, really. Pick the busier beaches near the town center or head further out if you prefer things a bit more quiet.
Tulum, pretty as it may be, in fact only has two attractions of quite a narrow scope. On the one hand there is the extremely pretty Mayan fortress ruin of the Castillo perched on top of some rocks next to the sea, and on the other hand there is the turquoise sea and its breathtakingly beautiful beaches. So I guess you're going to have to find a way to combine the two, don't you?
Predictable you say? Fair enough, but Bali simply couldn't be excluded from this list. Think about it, the gorgeous beaches of Kuta, Nusa Dua and Sanur, or the black sand beaches of Lovina up north. And all that in combination with temples, rice paddies, Balinese culture and other fantastic scenery... We think everyone should travel here at least once in their lives. There is almost no better place in the world to combine beaches with cultural explorations.
Salvador lies in between Rio and Recife. If you know how good the beaches in either of those are, you have a pretty good idea of how those in Salvador look. In our review we used the word "mesmerising" to describe them. But it wouldn't be on this list if it didn't have some seriously impressive cultural offerings too. Just head up to the Cidade Alta (old town), pass the neoclassical Palacio Rio Branco Salvador and explore the other sights.
Penang offers visitors a colorful mix of colonial and historical sights and neighbourhoods, temples, mosques night markets and great beaches. Batu Feringghi is a picture perfect beach near the capital city of Georgetown, but if you have more time then by all means venture further out as there are some hidden gems here.
Crete may be mostly known for its beaches, but thousands of years ago this was also home of the first European civilization, the Minoans. Plenty of monasteries, picturesque towns and the main sight of the Palace of Knossos are just some examples of what is on offer here. And the beaches? Well, the coastline is dramatic and long so there's something for everyone. Up north you find the more developed spots, whereas if you look south you may find some much more quiet beaches.
Well, if that picture doesn't look inviting then I don't know I am sure what does. Zanbzibar is an island archipelago off Tanzania in East Africa. It is home to 30 beaches that are as perfect as it gets: white sand, palm trees, the deep blue ocean, you get the idea. Culturally, there is the Moorish, Persian, Indian, African and European architecture of Zanzibar City which was pronounced a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
With its Opera House, pretty Sydney Harbour and loads of excellent museums, Sydney is a class city with plenty to see and do. And for the beaches, well... does Bondi, Manly or Bronte really not ring a bell at all? In that case you've been missing out. Surfing is a way of life here.
As we argued in our review, San Diego tends to get overlooked by California's cities further up north, and we think that makes no sense. San Diego is laid back, has great beaches (the very wide and long Mission Beach offers not only a great beach but also plenty of activities and nightlife), and on the cultural front can compete with the best. Of particular interest there is Balboa Park with its 15 museums. Or else go check out the old town or La Jolla.
Of course we realise that it looks a bit odd to have a list of 11, instead of 10 or 15. But well, we had to make sure to include Sintra here. This Portuguese city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to the famous Castle of the Moors which resembles the Great Wall of China and Palácio da Pena. And while it may be situated on a hill amidst the plains, just a few minutes from here you'll be at the beach. And when it comes to those, too, Sintra has quite a bit to offer.
There is something special about spending December in Europe. Wearing thick winter clothes, shuffling around on a German Christmas market spread out across a medieval town center, holding a glass of mulled wine in hand, surrounded by families on their day out... Bright lights and decorations all around. Walking into a fancy shopping mall to get away from the cold and leaving the building an hour later with half of your Christmas shopping already done.
That's a pleasant mental image, isn't it? And around this time of year, you will struggle to find a town anywhere in Europe that does not make an effort to create that extra special Christmas atmosphere. We would not dare to tell you that we have decided which ones are best (how does one decide that anyway), hence we are not calling this the "7 best Christmas destinations" or anything like that, but here are 7 places that we think are worth highlighting. Highlights in most of these places are, of course, the Christmas markets...
The throngs of tourists descending upon Bruges in summer may not realise this, but Bruges is one of those cities that is actually more appealing in winter. An ice rink is set up on the market square, buildings are spectacularly lit up and small Christmas markets dot the center of town. Head for a stroll around the canals after darkness sets in and you will be hard pressed to find a more attractive town anywhere else in Europe.
Okay, so if you know anything about Christmas markets in Germany, the inclusion of Nuremberg is not exactly going to be surprising to you. But for those of you less familiar with it, it just may be. The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is huge and the most famous in Germany, pretty much defining the whole concept: the old town gets filled with nearly 200 stands selling everything from Christmas decorations, mulled wine, gingerbread and bratwurst. It's all in perfect harmony with the lovely historic town center.
Český Krumlov is a kind of mini-Prague and a UNESCO world heritage site that is a tourists favorite in summer months. In December it is not exactly empty here, but definitely less crowded. Combined with snow (fingers crossed) in December, the whole town takes on a magical atmosphere. And of course, Český Krumlov too has a Christmas Market. This is one to go purely for the atmosphere. Highly recommended.
With its German cultural background, it is no surprise that the Alsace does Christmas markets exceptionally well. In December, Colmar looks nothing short of a fairy tale. In fact the whole historic town center with its canals and half-timbered houses turns into a Christmas market: châlets all around sell everything from Christmas decorations to pastries and sweets.
We just discussed a town in a French region with a German background (Colmar). Now its time to discuss a town in an Italian region with a German background: Bolzano! Located in South Tyrol, it houses Italy's most famous Christmas market. The mix of Italian and German influences makes this one of the most interesting markets in Europe, and the romantic backdrop of the town with its arcaded streets and a good chance of snow in winter doesn't hurt either. The gastronomic variety is even better than in some of the other markets mentioned here, mixing the northern European and the Mediterranean. Oh, and even without all the Christmas there is plenty to see and do here. Ötzi?
Salzburg is basically the quintessential Christmas destination in Europe. The castle towering over the town and brightly lit, the streets often covered with a blanket of snow and Cathedral Square filled with the yearly Christmas market selling everything from Christmas ornaments to mulled wine, Lebkuchen and caramelised almonds. And if you get bored of strolling the town and market, why not pack your skis and head up the mountain in one of the nearby ski resorts?
Wroclaw is picturesque. During the Christmas season this becomes even more the case. Poland seems more in touch with the religious origins of the festive season than the rest of Europe, which makes it a joyful place to spend some days around Christmas. The Rynek (Main Square) and Swidnicka Street house the Christmas market and an ice rink. At the market you will find the typical type of Christmas market food, but also Polish Christmas decorations and gifts which make for nice souvenirs.
Travel Indicator has quite a bit of functionality under the hood that may not be immediately obvious to all of our users who are just starting to use the website. One of those functions we would like to highlight today is the ability to search and filter down the hundreds of holiday destinations that we cover on their weather.
Simply put, if you are looking for a summer travel destination and want to avoid places with too much rain or lower temperatures, you can filter those out. Or if you are looking for warmer weather in winter or colder weather in summer, or cold destinations in winter with a high chance of precipitation... you get the idea.
Better yet, all of this can be combined with the regular searches on themes. So if you are looking for a mountainous destination in a remote area, but you want to have a good chance of warm weather, Travel Indicator enables you to do so. Finally, besides historical temperatures we also show you the current 14 day weather outlook for every destination. We download the maximum temperatures for the next 2 weeks and show you the range of them below every destination. In summary it looks something like this:
Remember that filtering down on expected temperature and rainfall works in combination with the selected months of your search. If you search in August, we will combine it with the data for August. Change your search to December and that is what you get.
At times we at Travel Indicator like to work our way through our own database to see what kind of suggestions we are actually serving up to our users. Today we looked at the best family-oriented beach destinations by searching for any and all destinations that score at least 60% on both the "family-friendly" and "beach and seaside" attribute.
So what exactly are family-friendly beach getaways? Well, perhaps that is best answered by explaining what we have classified as non-family friendly beach destinations. Party hotspots for the teenage crowds, honeymoon resorts, big cities in underdeveloped countries that happen to have beaches, etcetera. These are definitely not what we want to look at today. What does show up are 92 locations, of which we reckon the following are the best:
It is no secret that the French know how to do beach holidays with the family well in Metropolitan France. That is just one of the many things this French overseas territory has taken from it. What we wrote before: "Nouméa has a chic and cosmopolitan feel to it. That is probably partly to do with its French background as well as how it is situated: it lies in between beautiful bays and is overseen by mountain ranges. Another thing that should come as no surprise is that the restaurants and food here is generally of a high quality."
Auckland in New Zealand may be one of the most versatile cities in the world. As we wrote before: "The city offers a combination of scenic natural playgrounds in all shapes and forms (turquoise waters, beach islands, volcanoes, rainforests..) outside of the city, and multicultural big city sophistication inside of its boundaries. Add a sunny climate added into the mix and this is basically the perfect holiday destination."
Aruba is not your typical Caribbean island as its landscape has some desert like characteristics. That creates some very interesting sights including goats, iguanas and donkeys. At the coast you will find limestone cliffs and white sand beaches. The children can play in the water will mum and dad sip on a cocktail, what's not to like?
Bintan is where Singaporean families head for a quick weekend break away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Most will head to the north side of the island where you have resorts like Club Med catering to your every need. The rest of the island is more back to basics. If you head to one of the resorts, we guarantee your kids will be entertained by the vast amount of activities organised for them.
Mar del Plata is where the residents of Buenos Aires head in summer to spend time with their families at the beach. The Playa Grande is the most family friendly of them all, though be warned that it gets extremely full in summer!
Sometimes, when picking a summer beach destination in Europe, you need to look at where the package deal crowds are going, and then head in exactly the opposite direction. Greek island tend to be quite similar in terms of natural beauty and cultural backdrop, but a beach holiday between mostly Greeks and mostly northern European crowds leads to two different experiences entirely! Skopelos is popular with Greek families, and that says enough. Besides beaches, the island offers pine forests, high cliffs and many churches and monasteries to explore. This is an excellent place to take your family.
If you want to party the night away after hitting the beach, you would be better off heading to a place like Rimini. Viareggio is a more upscale and family-friendly kind of place. The beaches are long and of good quality, and behind them runs the promenade where you and the family can grab a bite to eat or have a drink after a long day of baking in the sun. Next to town lies a forest where you can go biking or hiking.
This is one of our personal favorites and a bit of a hidden treasure (unless you ask coast-bound Dutch and German people in the know!). Domburg lies in the southern Zeeland province of the Netherlands, and at about 2 hours from Schiphol airport. It is a charming old resort town that attracts families, with beaches that must be some of the best in this part of Europe. On a warm summer day, trust us, you wouldn't want to be any other place. As we wrote before: "Expect fine sand, good swimming conditions and clean beaches. The town itself - though very small with about 1500 inhabitants - has good bakeries, café's and restaurants aplenty. (...) Smaller towns around like Oost- and Westkapelle or Veere also offer some interesting sights and places to eat or drink. If you are feeling particularly Dutch, make your way to some of the other towns by bike."
Myrtle Beach offers a beach holiday in the American way. The beaches are the obvious place to spend time at, but there is also a place called Broadway at the Beach, an enormous entertainment venue where you will find everything ranging from bars, shops, restaurants to water parks. You and your entire family will be entertained here.
For Greek holiday islands, Crete is pretty much what they all aspire to be. Sun, sea and great beaches are a given, but the amount of fantastic nature (steep and rugged mountain areas, gorges and a very diverse flora and fauna plus scenery that includes olive groves and vineyards) and culture on show make this an unforgettable place to take your family. Some days, mum and dad may want to head out to explore an archaeological site, while the kids play in the water at the beach. In the evening you can all meet up for a great meal.
Just checking in to let you know that we have added a small new feature to the site that we thought might be of use to some of you: price rankings for all destinations per continent. This feature allows you to quickly get a rough idea of a visit to which locations comes at a premium, and which are relatively cheaper than others to visit.
Of course there were ways to get this information out of Travel Indicator before we added this functionality, but we still thought it would be handy to have an overview - that is live updated on daily basis - in one place.
We are not done with adding new features yet. What about the ability to check out a travel destination and get suggestions for similar destinations (nearby) that are cheaper? We are working on that. Till later!
Hi all, we were aware of the fact that until now the estimated cost of flight prices was not all that accurate. It is and remains an estimate, so some deviation from actual prices is to be expected, after all the pricing models of carriers are intransparant and it is hard to predict whether a budget airline will fly on a certain route. Just to name some issues.
Having said that, we do want the figures we show to be useful. If for instance we quote an expected ticket price of $500 and it ends up being $550, we would be content with that. What matters is that it wasn't $800, if you get our point. Fortunately we get plenty of data in that allows us to make a better estimate of these prices. We have run a regression analysis on these and added our findings into the website. When comparing it with actual quotes of airlines and the estimate of Rome2rio we have come nearer to what it should be.
Note that this does not just affect the ticket prices (which are now quoted at the bottom of each search result), it also affects the budget categories (such as this one) where we actually combine the live calculated average hotel prices of locations with an estimated return fare, giving you a complete picture of how much a weekend stay in that place would cost you right now.
Travel Indicator is rapidly expanding its coverage, and we are now nearing 450 travel destinations. One of the goals we target when building our database of destinations is to achieve good or near-perfect coverage of all major holiday destinations, while at the same time adding in many smaller or lesser known cities and regions as well to keep things surprising and interesting for you.
So while in France most attention will be given to cities like Paris or Marseille, we will add plenty of small towns like Gordes or Briançon in as well. You know how the internet is stuffed with lists like "the top x places to visit in y"? You can see Travel Indicator as your dynamic source of such lists. Destinations can be explored by themes, presets or tags* or simply by exploring them all at once and filtering them down from there.
Why you should consider registering
The main benefit of registering is to be able to store locations. In your location results and destination pages you are able to store locations as "should see", "might see" or "should see". In your "My TI" section, you are then able to refer to all locations you have previously stored. In addition to that, you are able to create itineraries ("Summer vacation 2015") and allocate locations to that.
An additional benefit of this is that we keep track of, and show you, how expensive or cheap hotel stays in locations are at the moment. This can look something like the following, where a user has stored a number of must-see locations, and the red and green bullets indicate whether that location is currently (exactly 2 weeks from today) cheap or expensive to book a hotel in.
*Difference between themes, presets and tags
The difference between themes, presets and tags may be slightly confusing. At Travel Indicator we let users vote on 23 attributes for each location, for instance on whether a location has beaches or whether it is adventurous. Based on this we deduce themes. The theme Beach and seaside gives you an overview of all locations where the score for beaches is fairly high, say 50%-60%. If you were to go to the regular search and only set the filter for beaches to 50% and higher, you would get pretty much the same results.
Presets are essentially combinations of themes. A preset like Romantic city trips shows you all locations that score high on "Urban" and "Romance".
Finally, tags are a different beast altogether. These can range from Diving and snorkeling to Awe inspiring nature and are more of a freestyle labeling of whatever 5 tags we think are most relevent to a location.
Two new features and better presentation of some existing ones have been added to Travelindicator.
The first new feature is travel cost. We have established a link with Rome2Rio to give you an indicative city-to-city (or practically door to door, if you wish) price next to each location. On the left side you see an example of how this looks for one location (Amsterdam). The left indicator shows the average hotel rate for 2 weeks from now, while the left shows you the return fare to and from your base location (Glasgow, Scotland in this case). Clicking the link gives you a breakdown of the €220 fare, which in this case consists of €14 for trains in Scotland, €200 for a return flight Glasgow-Amsterdam, and €6 for trains in Amsterdam.
Under the return fare indicator we show you some extra info; the fare for a single trip as well a the indicative fare for a return trip and stay of 2 nights based on average hotel rates. Note that flight fare information is not necessarily live but is indicative based on Rome2Rio's algorithms as described here.
In a similar vein, we now show you the duration of travelling from A to B, again calculated by Rome2Rio. The 4.3 hours breaks down to 23 minutes by train in Scotland, 16 minutes in Amsterdam, 1:30 hours by plane and the remainder (roughly 2.5 hours) taken up on both airports.
Pretty useful stuff, we thought. To make the location dashboard complete, we have improved the presentation of whether a location's hotels are currently (i.e. for bookings 2 weeks from now) discounted or at a premium, and what the expected weather (maximum temperature ranges) is like.
I have been busy in the past weeks - in preparation for taking a while off as I am about to become a father! - and have added 3 new features to Travelindicator that I believe will be very useful to our users going forward. They are: weather forecast, altitude and percentage price changes. Let me explain how they work and what their use is.
Weather forecast - Right from the start we have incorporated historical average temperatures and precipitation for every month of the year and every location. That gives a pretty solid idea of what the weather should be like when booking a long-term holiday, however for the shorter term it does not really suffice. Using data from openweathermap.org we now source expected maximum temperatures for the coming 14 days for every location. We take the lowest and highest (maximum) temperatures in the range and show you that in the results overview. You can also sort any page with results by forecast 14 day temperatures from low to high and vice versa.
Altitude - Not entirely sure how useful this will be, but it completed our static information for each location. In the results overview we now show you the altitude for every location, and needless to say you can filter on altitudes low to high or high to low. Apparently the highest places we currently incorporate are Mont Blanc, La Paz and Uyuni.
% price changes - As you know we source average hotel rates from Expedia on daily basis. As we store these prices, we thought it might be useful to give you an indication of how far above or below average a currently stated rate is. You can see these on the location pages below the nightly hotel rate. This for instance tells us that - as of writing - Madrid is 16% above its historical average rate. Do note that the averages are calculated from the moment we start incorporating them in the database. For most of the locations this will be about half a year to a few months.
We have recently updated the frontpage of Travelindicator a bit to make it more clear to you what we stand for. You will likely have come across the following, which is what we like to call our "Five Pillars".
Whereas other travel websites may at most give you travel ideas based 2 dimensions or so (Beaches in Asia? Culture in Europe? There you go.), Travelindicator works along the 5 dimensions of distance, weather, cost, surroundings and themes:
Let's give you an example of how you can maximise the 5 dimensions above to your benefit. Essentially each search starts with deciding whether you want to look for travel destination in a radius around your current location (or nearest city), or whether you have already roughly determined the region or country you want to travel to and just want to see what's on offer there.
Step 1 (distance): Let's assume you will be traveling to Berlin and are looking to make a European trip that goes anywhere in a 2,750km radius around that.
Step 2 (weather): You want decent weather, let's say temperatures above 10ºC and rainfall below 130mm. Note how the weather filter applies to temperature and rainfall in April, as that is the basic setting and the period in which we are searching.
Step 3 (cost): Your budget is not minimal, but you can do without staying in hotels in places likes Monaco which will probably cost you an arm and a leg. So you select an average nightly hotel rate (measured across all available hotels with 2 stars and up) of $275.
Step 4 (surroundings): You may land at Berlin, but you care nothing for Europe's big cities. What you are after are smaller towns that have at least some form of greenery around them. So you set "urban" at a max. of 30% and "forests" at a minimum of 30%.
Step 5 (themes): Having selected all this, you still have a few more criteria you want your holiday destinations to meet. They should offer some history, architecture, culture or art and be family oriented. So no Spanish party islands into the mix, please.
Your preferences will look like this:
With this search you have just generated a list of 19 towns that meet your requirements. Ordered by distance (ascending), the top 10 includes Quedlinburg, Rothenburg, Český Krumlov, Bavaria, Dürnstein, Hallstatt, Bratislava, Maastricht, Füssen and Alsace.
Alright, we know we should be focussing on getting many more places into Travelindicator rather than doing small technical enhancements instead. And honestly, we are doing both as hard as we can. The latest addition is something we think will grow out to be a useful one: tags.
It's fairly simple really, as we add new locations we will be giving them specific tags like "vineyards", "rocks", "medieval castles" or "world war 2". You can click through on these tags and get other locations that have this tag assigned to them.
Looking for a relaxing trip to European vineyards, looking for great spots to go hiking, or are you simply out to visit some historical sites relevant to one of the wars? Travelindicator has you covered.
Click on one of the tags you see listed with a location, or simply on "Tags" on top of the website to reach an overview with currently available tags.
If you click the Budget menu option above, you get to see something like the following:
The "hotel only" option is straightforward: it shows all cities where average nightly hotel rates (2 to 5 stars) fall within a price range. Filter down on those between $0 and $100 and you will be shown locations like Dubrovnik, Taichung and Berlin. Filter down on those above $350 and it's Tokyo or Bora Bora. This looks a bit like the following:
This states the hotel price (€118), and an estimated flight price (€142). While at some stage we would love to incorporate real average ticket prices into Travelindicator, for the time being that is not technically feasible. We could have chosen to omit it altogether and function solely as a hotel price aggregator, but that is no fun is it?
So we scoured the web and came across an article at the Rome2Rio Blog. They found that air fares could be linearly approximated by the formula ticket price = $50 + 0.11 * mile. We have slightly tweaked it, but essentially we do something similar. And we find it to provide a very reasonable approximation. Its accuracy will fluctuate, but Beijing to New York is never going to cost $200.
The "Hotels (2 night) + Flight" is based on all of the above. It uses the estimation of the costs for a round trip flight, and adds to that two times the average rate for a hotel. This gives you something like this:
Note how the hotel price (€118) is unchanged, but we now also show an estimated total trip cost (€434). With this you will be perfectly able to work out the difference in cost of a city trip to Berlin or to London.
Some things to clarify: If you are staying for more than two nights, we are sorry, but you will have to do your own calculation! Using the regular search you can do just that. Also, all of this is based on your location. If you load the site from different countries, you will get different results! Of course, you can manually adjust. The city you stay in impacts results and you will have to select it by yourself.
As we have stated before, Travelindicator started out of a conviction that something was missing in the land of travel websites. On the one hand, the internet is filled with many great travel blogs giving general traveling tips or zooming in on very specific locations that they have discovered, inspiring us all. On the other hand there are the Trip Advisors and Lonely Planets of this world. Their role is to give you all the miniscule details once you have picked the destination. Where to stay, what sights to see, what to eat, that sort of stuff.
All of that definitely serves its purpose and it would not be an understatement to say the supply of such sites is somewhat saturated. But what website do you go if:
1. You want to travel and know what you want out of a holiday but have no idea where to go? (example: you want to make a city trip to a desination that scores high in the areas of culture and architecture)
2. You have no idea which destination you will be able to afford? (example: you have a budget of $500, both for getting there and staying the night in a hotel)
3. You have no idea which destinations are nearest to you? (example: you want to go somewhere which is in driving distance, 500km or 250 miles)
4. You have no idea what the weather will be like? (example: you want to go on a beach holiday but prefer not to get soaking wet from rain while chilling out on the beach)
That's where Travelindicator now comes in and why we exist. We categorise locations by (monthly) temperature and rainfall, by exact location, by price (live average hotel prices per city and estimated flight prices) and by attributes.
What we mean by attributes are the qualities of each location (as voted for by you, the users), of which there are quite a few, for instance: Adventure, Culture, Beaches, Mountains, Deserts, Eating and Going Out, Shopping... Mix and match as you like, take away your results and make a choice! Or go ahead and book that hotel on Travelindicator instantly :-)
Besides rapidly adding more and more locations (nearing 300 now), we are also working hard on adding new features to make Travel Indicator ever more useful for its users. Earlier this month we already described a new feature that includes an estimate of the cost of flight ticket prices. Meanwhile we have also added that feature for easy access to the "Budget" menu tab, so that you can instantly see where you could travel for various price buckets from your starting destination:
Of course we kept working hard, and today we are proud to present the next new feature: itineraries. To access this new feature you will have to register an account, and access your "My TI" page. Here you will first of all find an overview of all places you have previously stored as must/should/might see locations, as well as easy access to all the reviews you have left behind. The new feature allows you to group locations together into an itinerary. So if you're looking for places to go to during your trip to Nepal, or during your next summer holiday, this is it. An overview of one such trip may look like this:
Creating a new itinerary or removing old ones can be done straight from your My IT page. Adding locations to your itinerary is done from the location pages and may look like this:
We would love to hear what you think of all of this, so do give us a shout!
I will be honest with you. This site is a perfect reflection of my own core interests. The first interest is probably our common denominator: I like to travel (my most recent trip in fact was last weekend, to Phuket in Thailand). The second interest is probably more specific to me: I like to puzzle, analyse data and present it to others in a format that can be of use to them.
Travel Indicator already offered you the ability to filter down on places based on distance, weather and features (mountains, shopping, culture, etcetera). It also allowed you to filter based on the average price of an overnight stay in a city, giving you an indication of how expensive a stay in a certain place would be. Today we have made a start with an additional piece of the puzzle: an estimation of the cost to get there by airplane. Imagine if you would have a database showing you up-to-date costs of flying to and staying in a certain place, and then allowing you to filter down on what those places have to offer travellers. That is what Travel Indicator has already become, and it is easy to see how useful and exciting this will be to many people!
Access the feature by showing some results, then filtering down on Total cost.
Now, hold your enthusiasm for a second. The flying costs are an estimate, and a crude estimate at that. We have looked at historical data for flight tickets, set them off against distance and come up with a simple formula that reflects historical price levels. This is far from an absolute truth, as there will be discounts and upswings and downswings in prices. Yet it should be obvious that generally speaking there is some relation between distance flown and tickets prices. This general relationship is what we are trying to incorporate, and on the whole it is expected to work better on long distances. In due time we will try to link up with a major flight ticket site to give you a real actual reflection of ticket prices. Stay tuned!
P.S. Meanwhile we have also silently added support for some additional currencies: EUR, GBP, AUD and CAD.
Europe is a continent full of high culture, fantastic scenery and history. From Paris to Rome or from Istanbul to Amsterdam, there is no shortage of amazing metropoles that you will see described to the smallest detail in every single travel guide you could possibly purchase about the continent.
And truth be told, the main historic attractions across the continent do tend to cluster in and around these cities. But to really experience Europe, visiting some small towns simply has to be part of your itinerary as well. Travel Indicator is here to summarise all of these good places for you and make them easily searchable by country so that next time you go on a trip to, say, Germany, you can just use our database to conveniently zoom in on some of those must-see small towns. But for now allow me to summarise 6 of my favourite historic small European towns thus far have covered.
1. Manarola (Italy)
This place is a thing of beauty. You might have seen this village before, depicted on some website or magazine before as an unnamed spectacular village trying to lure you into travelling to Italy. Now you also know where it is - this is Manarola, in Liguria, northern Italy. Although in fact a tiny village, its stunning location and colorful buildings on top of a cliff overlooking the Ligurian Sea, draws many tourists here. The oldest building in town is the San Lorenzo church, dating back to the 14th century. Besides exploring the town, drinking a glass of the famous local wine and enjoying the sights of the city from the harbor, taking a hike to some of the other 'Cinque Terre' towns nearby is definitely a good spend of time. And be sure to take your camera, as you will be shooting hundreds of pictures.
2. Fuessen (Germany)
So technically we're cheating a little bit here. What you are looking at is in fact the immensely picturesque Neuschwanstein Castle that lies very nearby the town of FÃ¼ssen. Besides just the castle(s) nearby, the town itself also has plenty to offer: The medieval Altstadt (old town) of FÃ¼ssen looks like a romantic fairy tale with its colourful faÃ§ade and cobbled streets, great coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants and shops. With its own castle, fountains, and churches it is a good place to explore for half a day or otherwise to use as a base for checking out the rest of the region, which is a great area for hiking, cycling or other active sports.
3. Albi (France)
Albi is a medieval town that lies in the French Midi-Pyrenees region. Situated on the River Tarn and largely built in red brick style so typical to the region, this town became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.
4. Bacharach (Germany)
This town has a tiny population (under 2000), but is quite grandly situated. Overlooking the Rhine river from the hilly terrain that surrounds it in Rheinland-Pfalz here in Germany, this is an absolutely charming city to explore by foot. Main attraction is the Stahleck Castle and city walls as well as the general architecture in the village (think half-timbred style houses).
5. Cesky Krumlov (Czech Republic)
Scenically run through by the Vltava river that can't quite seem to make up it's mind on what direction it wants to flow here, this town is most famous for the old town center and the castle of the same name (don't make us write the name again, please). The old town consists of narrow cobblestone streets that are lined up with Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque buildings and some good places to eat and drink. The Castle dates back to 1240 and is exceptionally large for a town of this size as it is in fact the second largest castle in the country. It offers great views of the historic town center as well as the Baroque castle gardens.
6. Bled (Slovenia)
And finally there is Bled, a Slovenian Alpine city that can boast of fantastic natural surroundings in the form of lakes and mountains. Top it off with churches, castles and a national park next door (Triglav National Park), this is a great place to spend not a few days but an entire holiday, even.
Note that if you wanted to see more small historic towns that we have covered across the world, you can Have a look right here.
We are hard at work to improve Travel Indicator. Better performance, more locations, better compatibility with mobile devices, and so on. One part of the functionality of this website that we have so far not discussed are the "Presets" which you can load in the menu above.
Just to recap, you probably already know that we have the regular search functionality (accessible from the Home page) which gives you the ability to filter out any specific holiday criteria that you may be after. For instance if you are after a holiday with some adventurous element, mountains and beaches with warm temperatures within a 1000 kilometer radius, this is your spot to start closing down on places.
Next to the normal search we have the themes. Here you will find all locations that score 60% and upwards on a specific theme like adventure, romance or history. If you for instance think of Rome, you would obviously associate that with history. We want to aggregate other places like these under a single header. Note that once here, you can still filter on weather and distance.
Then there are the surroundings, which are a kind of themes as well but more focussed on the surroundings and environment of a place. Summarising, again for scores of 60% and higher, whether a place has beaches, forests, mountains, etc. For instance, if you consider a location like Boracay, it is pretty much a given that you associate it with beaches. We wanted a convenient way to group all of these places together, and the themes are it.
Finally, allow us to introduce the presets, coming in 18 different flavours as shown below this post. The idea behind the presets is basically to give you suggestions on holiday combinations that might appeal to you. In a sense adding some extra granularity to the themes and surroundings, and often combining them, or combining them with the weather. Give them a try:
OK, so we know that although we have started giving an indication of the average nightly rate of hotels for every city we cover, that is hardly painting a complete picture of the real cost of travelling there. The obvious missing component is the cost of getting there, and this is something we are at the moment still asking you, the visitor, to fill in for yourselves. Eventually we would like to address this by including the information as well, but for now we'll have to make do like this.
Nevertheless, even being able to compare the price of all the different locations along these dimensions is interesting. Some places are remarkably more expensive than you might initially expect where some are surprising in the opposite sense. Of course it should be noted that these prices do fluctuate quite heavily on a daily basis, but in general the rankings remain fairly stable. Prices below are as of 15 December 2013. and are of course going to fluctuate.
When scouring through the list of locations currently covered, the following 10 are currently the most expensive:
- Serengeti, Tanzania: USD 569/night
- Bora Bora, French Polynesia: USD 469/night
- Thimpu, Bhutan: USD 400/night
- Astana, Kazakhstan: USD 316/night
- Hamilton, Bermuda: USD 309/night
- London, UK: USD 284/night
- New York City, US: USD 260/night
- Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: USD 251/night
- Moscow, Russia: USD 244/night
- Port Louis, Mauritius: USD 244/night
Who would have thought that seeing some wildlife in the Serengeti, or the capitals in the middle of nowhere of Bhutan and Kazakhstan would be so expensive to reach? And what about not-much-to-see-here Riyadh? We find a somewhat less surprising "cheapest" ten places:
- Surabaya, Indonesia: USD 61/night
- Phnom Penh, Cambodia: USD 62/night
- Shaoxing, China: USD 64/night
- Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic: USD 66/night
- Xi'an, China: USD 66/night
- Patan, Nepal: USD 67/night
- Hoi An, Vietnam: USD 69/night
- Budapest, Hungary: USD 71/night
- Obidos, Portugal: USD 74/night
- Magelang, Indonesia: USD 74/night
So, all in all not too surprising. What is perhaps more so is how many premier southern European destinations find themselves near the bottom in terms of costs. If you are considering a budget trip around some renowned cities in Europe, consider touching down in the following:
Finally, if the north of Europe is more your cup of tea, consider Berlin (USD 115/night) or Riga in Latvia (USD 74/night).