Travel Magazine

The Best Travel Companies for 2012

By Livingthedreamrtw @livingdreamrtw

Several months ago we put together a post on "The Best Travel Websites" for 2012.  That particular post was only focusing on websites run by fellow travelers, mostly in blog style format.  This post introduced you to several great super blogs that are authored by many of the industries best solo-bloggers.  But there is more to the travel universe than that.  There are also up-and-coming travel companies that deserve an equal spotlight for those planning future travels, and this post serves as a spotlight of some of our favorite ones that have been released and increased in popularity in recent months!
Disclaimer:  This post does not feature any sponsored links.  We do have industry connections with many of these companies and will be working with some in the future; however, none have asked or paid to be included in this list.  To put it bluntly, we like these companies, and that is the sole reason we are listing them here for you to check out.
Roomorama - The Apartment Booking Tool
Roomorama is one of the leading apartment booking websites that exists today.  Not long-term apartments of several months for those who want to live in a city, but short-term rentals anywhere from one to seven days or more for those who are just passing through!   The booking structure of the site is no different than many other booking engines out there, but where the site thrives is in the options that are expanding everyday.   Not only is the site host to businesses renting apartments, but the site is also home to several individuals who rent out their own apartment and extra rooms while they are away on business or travel.  
The site has you covered on if you are leery on renting someone's apartment, and has distinctions on whether the apartment is a shared room in an active unit or a completely private rental.  For each rental regardless of type you are able to see how many bookings have been made, the positive and negative reviews, and comments from the people who actually stayed there.  This makes sorting out reputable rentals a breeze!
Some apartments will have minimum commitments, and that is perfectly understandable.  A traveler who is only in a town for two nights may not need all the amenities that an apartment has to offer while another who is staying for a longer period may have some extra time to unwind and relax in a home-like environment.  Likewise an individual who is renting out their apartment shouldn't have to have professional cleaning services come through after every 24 hours just to make a little bit of money on the side.  A win-win scenario when the renting and booking scenarios match, and a hotel from the normal hotel scene is your reward for, in many cases, the same exact price!
Not every city is currently represented on Roomorama at this time; however, their network of accommodations is growing every day. We will be renting our first apartment on Roomorama next month in New York City and putting their service to the test, so check back soon for a full review!
We Hostels - The Social Booking Tool
We Hostels is a unique company that blends two great business styles: social media and hostel booking.  In a world of instant connections to everyone in your social circle, there is little chance to disconnect and truly unwind.  Part of the reason we love travel is to escape from the everyday, but even traveling solo gets a little lonesome from time to time if we aren't making many friends in a particular destination.  One solution to this is group tours where you can often find other travelers on the welcome boards to make friends before departing.   But for those who do not want to travel on a guided itinerary and are looking to make friends before arriving, there was no great solution, until We Hostels hit the scene.
The premise of We Hostels is simple, to add the human aspect back into travel.  Instead of booking a good hostel that has a social environment from historical reviews, We Hostels looks into who will actually be staying at the hostel while you are there.  In that aspect you are booking your hostel not only for the accommodations, but for the people staying there as well.   Share the same interests as travelers who will be there? Book it!  Don't think you'd fit with the crowd?  Pass along.  After you book you can start conversations with friends who are looking to meet fellow travelers and plan to meetup all before you have the first greeting in your travel city!
We Hostels was previously named and renamed in May 2012 and will be releasing a new smart phone app later this year!
Flightfox - Let Others Work for You
Flightfox is a great new company to the travel world that is run by travel writers who were looking for a way to do it cheaper than the alternatives.  Asking what Flightfox does for you may not be the right question, but rather you should be asking who at Flightfox does the work of making travel cheaper for you.  The answer is other travelers, the experts who have found these deals before and know the inner workings of airline travel more than standard search engines can be programmed to.
How do you get the travel experts to work for you?  That is simple.  First you begin with a "contest" by offering a fee for the user who can find the best deal for you on your particular itinerary.  The interested experts come back with a flight that they believe is the cheapest for you.  You get to look at all of the offered itineraries and choose a "winner" of the contest by who is the most helpful.  That expert gets the fee, and you get the resources of other travelers finding, and competing, for the best fares to give to you.
The ways an expert can find a better fare for you is nearly endless.  A bit more flexible?  Experts may look through hub cities to find multiple individual flight segments that would reduce the overall cost.  Have a set destination but can vary your travel days? They may even look there too.  This service is definitely built for those in it for the long-haul, as multi-leg flights and unusual destinations are most suited for the biggest savings over standard searches.  Have a unique itinerary you'd like help saving money on?  Give Flightfox a try!
Have you tried out any of these above companies?  What did you think?  Comment below to let us know!
The Best Travel Companies for 2012

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