Retired Austin Travelers (RATs) is a group of good folks in the Austin area who love to travel. The group meets every other month in a public library in South Austin, and meets for coffee during the alternate months. There are no dues and no officers.
Today’s meeting at the Hampton branch library featured talks by Maureen and John. Maureen showed photographs taken during her recent trip to Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and she passed around some beautiful textiles purchased from Uzbek vendors.
John’s talked about online resources for travelers. Here is my list of websites and apps that he and others mentioned:
- WikiVoyage and WikiTravel — Lots of information about wherever you want to go. WikiTravel has more photos, but also has advertisements. You can download information about your destinations before you leave home.
- Google Maps (maps.google.com or app)– Tells you how to get from here to there by car, public transport or on foot. You can store maps when you have internet, then access them when you don’t (are “offline”).
- Google Earth (google.com/earth) — Provides beautiful 3D views of cities and landscapes.
- Trivago (trivago.com) — Excellent site for finding hotels. You can filter the results by price, distance from your desired location, hotel rating, etc.
- Trip Advisor (tripadvisor.com) — Reviews of thousands of hotels, tours and locations. Check the ratings here before you book.
- Check My Trip (an app) — Store and manage your travel plans in one place.
- Flight View (website and app) — Look up the flight status info of any flight in North America and see live flight tracking maps with FlightView’s real time flight tracker.
- TripSavvy — Suggestions for what to see and do, events, and essential information, about wherever you want to go.
- XE — A website (xe.com) and app that shows reliable currency conversion rates.
- Google Translate (website and app) — Translates languages, both text and audio. Can translate signs using the camera on your phone. Download language packs in advance of travel.
- WordPress.com and Blogger.com — Create your own blog.
- Tours By Locals — Enter the city you are visiting, find a resident who gives tours.
Carolyn Barkley is a member of RATs who has been to a very large number of countries. She maintains a very informative blog, CarolynTravels.com. If Carolyn hasn’t been there and blogged about it, the place probably doesn’t exist.
If you notice any errors in this list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org so I can get them fixed. Thank you.
UPDATE: Sharon L. relies on FlightAware.com, which tracks flights all over the world.