Looking for a road less travelled?

Here’s your online guide to offbeat travel websites

When it comes to travel planning, gone are the days of skimming through hefty guidebooks and relying on word-of-mouth advice. Travellers today are pampered with countless websites providing endless information and services to help them quench their wanderlust. There is one problem though: they all look the same, work the same way and often give the same kind of info. For those looking for a unique and eclectic travel experience, it can be a little disappointing.

So, we at Opera Software, makers of the Opera web browsers that are so handy for travel, have done the homework for you. We’re bringing you the following travel websites that stand out from the pack, to help you discover travel experiences that are off the beaten track. Some of them will even help you save an extra buck or two. Take a look:

1. The Most Unusual Restaurants In The World
Food forms a big part of a traveler’s experience, so when searching for curious travel destinations, why settle for anything less when it comes to food? This website, compiled after over seven years of research, offers information on the weirdest restaurants in the world. There’s an exhaustive list of restaurants, ranging from those providing dining in the dark served by wait staff who are visually impaired, to those offering food cooked by robotic chefs and even dining with giraffes.  

2. Atlas Obscura
True to its name, this website is a compendium of the most strange and obscure places in the world. Whether it’s a small Michigan town called Hell on Earth, where anyone can be mayor for a day, or the strange Skeleton Lake of Roopkund in India, the website never fails to surprise you with its bizarre attractions. The website also conducts meet-ups to help like-minded explorers connect and discover new places together.

3. Adioso
If you’re one of those people without a clue about where and when to travel, this flight comparison site is a great resource for you. The site offers flexible travel options based on your budget and interests. Simply enter your departure city, and the site will show you some wonderful places where you can travel. Even better, if you find the prices a bit out of your reach, you can set an email alert, and it will update you when the fare fits your budget.

4. Helpx
Have all the time in the world but not enough savings to fund your travel? No problem. Get on to Helpx.net and sign up as a volunteer to work at farms, ranches, sailboats and more around the world, in exchange for free accommodation and meals. And, while you’re visiting these places for free, you get the rare opportunity to live like locals and come back with experiences that you’d never have thought of! Who says working holidays can’t be fun?

5. Airbnb
Why spend so much money on a hotel room, when you can rent an apartment, villa or even a castle? This website, which has been giving hoteliers a run for their money, offers accommodation from local hosts in more than 34,000 cities across 190 countries. All property listings are accompanied by photographs, reviews and location coordinates. Besides being easy on the wallet, it also gives people a more authentic local experience, though in some markets, it is advisable to tread carefully – a quick search for local news about Airbnb in your target city is worth your while.

6. Spotted By Locals
No matter where you travel or how much research you do, as a tourist you are bound to end up in some standard “must-see tourist attractions” – unless you have a local connection. This is where this site comes in, offering curated content from locals spanning over 50 European and American destinations. Each city has 4-6 local authors who give insider tips on what to do and, more importantly, what not to do in their cities.

7. Gogobot
Coined as the Facebook of travel, this website can help you discover globetrotting destinations from over 700,000 reviews and 4 million photographs by seasoned travelers. And, if you’re a bit unsure about where to go, you can scan through categories such as Best summer festivals, Top ski resorts, or check out the Go Tribal section, which recommends places to visit, depending on your preferred style of traveling, like adventure, business or luxury travel.

8. Designtripper
For those with an eye for personality rather than luxury, this is a pretty neat website for uncovering some unique lodging destinations tucked away in different parts of the globe. So, if you’re ready to overlook that plush hotel with a jacuzzi and plasma in favor of artist-designed inns, treehouses or RVs, this is the website for you. Apart from breathtaking photographs, the blog has beautifully written backstories about the featured places and why they were chosen.
Keep these quirky travel websites at your fingertips for your next journey by adding them to your browser’s Speed Dial. Within Opera for computers, simply select the “+” symbol on the Speed Dial start screen, or while visiting a website tap the Opera menu to add the webpage to Speed Dial.