You're finally on your holiday, and even the flight went off without a hitch. Let the good times begin! But of course, you want to have a good-quality meal for a good price in a local bistro and to not end up in some horrible tourist trap where they charge you 6 euros for a single drink. But how do you find out where the locals devour their lunch and what the secret locations are at your holiday destination? With these tips from the Flight-Delayed team!
http://www.lonelyplanet.com. Lonely Planet is well-known for its offbeat travel guides, but they also has a very handy website. By clicking on the 'Destinations' tab, you can search for a specific country or region. You are then taken to a page with tips on hotels and apartments, sights, etc. There's also a list of practical topics to choose from, for instance on health and safety at the destination.
Another name that you should recognise: http://www.tripadvisor.com. We know this website from booking trips and accommodations, and from the travellers' reviews. But Tripadvisor also contains a vast archive of reviews of restaurants, sights and activities. Many visitors also upload their photos from the sights and places they visited, which is very convenient if you want to get an impression before a visit. And once you've chosen a cafe or restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner, be sure to check what others have said about the place before you on http://www.yelp.com.
http://unlike.net is a sleek website with tips for 20 of the largest cities in the world. These tips are added by local editors and are mostly geared toward hip and trendy 20- and 30-somethings. The site recently also released an app for mobile devices (iOS, Android and Nokia), which can be very convenient when you're on the road.
Did you know the Guardian has a City Guide website? You can find it here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/city-guides. Each city's page has a map with the local hotspots, which you can also filter along the categories of accommodation, food, shops, etc. The search results are divided into two categories: upscale and budget. So there's something for everybody!
Two very similar-sounding names, but two completely separate websites. http://www.spottedbylocals.com is a collection of blogs, sorted by city, and once again also an app by the same name. The bloggers mainly write about new locations, but also write about some old city staples.
http://www.guidedbyalocal.com is rather like Tripadvisor in terms of format: travellers and locals can sign up and submit tips and reviews to the site. The site claims to have 788 contributors for 505 cities in 194 countries. Do you, by the way, want to receive a custom-made guide by a local? Read our previous tip about Nectar&Pulse.
http://www.getyourguide.com provides tips and shows you deals at the same time, making it a hybrid of a review website and discount sites like Groupon. This makes it easy for you to find good deals on restaurants, tours and sights for your stay.
We know http://www.timeout.com from the magazines, but there's also a website with tips and hotspots. You can search within a specific category, but also within certain neighbourhoods. That might come in very handy if you're looking for a good hearty meal and cannot get yourself to walk more than 50 meters! (We've all been there.)
http://guidepal.com has produced handy apps that you can download and bring with you on your holiday. But Guidepal's website also helps you with tips. The online guides aren't just available for European cities, but also for many cities across North America and Asia.
Another great website with city tips, compiled by a local team: the True websites. They exist for seven European cities. The direct links are:
http://www.greatlittleplace.com is really more a community than a website. The local teams are mainly active on their local Facebook page: very convenient as the latest updates will simply appear in your timeline. In order to find the local pages for the different cities, check the 'headquarter Facebook page', where you can find an overview of which cities are represented.
Our last tip is another blog, founded by blogger Pauline Egge. Pauline admits to being a 'lover of hotspots', and travels the world in search of these new hip places for her blog http://petitepassport.com. Because the tips are all selected by the same person, it's easier to predict what kind of locations you will find here: many are quite design-oriented, which is great for design aficionados. The posts have a personal touch to them, and the photos are beautiful. In short: one of the Flight-Delayed team's favourites!
Image source: Petite Passport/La Terrazza Bar