Travel plans gone sideways? 10 must-have websites for travel troubles
Whether it’s an out-of-the-blue flight cancellation, a sprained ankle while climbing ruins or discovering the hotel you booked doesn’t quite resemble the photos you saw online, travel means you have to think on your feet. When you need fast access to information, the websites you pack in your mobile web browser might help you out of your travel predicament and save your precious time.
“Many mobile browsers include a start page, like Opera’s Speed Dial, with website shortcuts that work like a phone’s speed dial, offering one-click access to the content you need. That saves you scrolling through bookmarks or typing long addresses,” says Jan Standal, Vice President of Products at Opera Software, makers of the Opera Mini mobile browser app. “Before you hit the road, make sure you add the websites you might need in case of travel emergency to your Speed Dial.”
This feature was pioneered by Opera Software, and since been introduced in many other web browsers. With Opera’s Speed Dial, you can save an unlimited number of website shortcuts, simply by pressing the “+” symbol and entering the web address. Press and hold your Speed Dial choices to edit or re-order them.
“In my 20 years of travel experience, I know things will always go wrong when you’re out and about in a strange country,” says TV globe-trekker and travel celebrity Ian Wright. “Keeping helpful online info at your fingertips with Speed Dial is a brilliant way to be more prepared, if you need it. If you ever get stuck, you’ll be glad good advice is only a click away.”
1. Oh no, they cancelled my flight!
Before you get in line to rebook, give yourself the upper hand with flight information. FlightStats.com provides up-to-date flight details, airport delay maps, weather conditions and airline contact details. Things might be easier at the ticket counter if you can suggest an alternative flight, and it gives you a better chance of getting the itinerary most convenient to you.
2. Where’s my luggage?
It’s late at night, you’re the last person at the luggage conveyor belt, and it stops – without your suitcase. Not to worry, dear Watson! After reporting to airport staff, be your own luggage sleuth and trace your missing bag on the airline’s tracking site, or via Mylostbag.com or SITA WorldTracer.
3. Nowhere to stay?
Change of accommodation plans or just need tips for sightseeing and snacks? TripAdvisor suggests hotels, activities and restaurants — reviewed and rated by real travelers. Book lodging through TripAdvisor, or visit Hotels.com, which helps find hotels with good deals. Deal of the Day can save you money if you need a room immediately.
Afraid of being ripped off in a strange city, or taking the scenic route through dodgy neighborhoods? TaxiFareFinder uses taxi rates from more than 200 international locations. It provides not only fare estimates, but also route suggestions.
5. Hey, has anybody seen my passport?
If you lose your passport, encounter visa problems or need emergency assistance abroad, contact your embassy for help. Bookmark EmbassyWorld, which offers a comprehensive list of contact details for all of the world’s diplomatic offices. The site is easy to navigate, and its search engine will help you quickly locate the office nearest to you.
You never know when you’ll need advice on anything from a boo-boo on the knee to a full-out accident. If you need quick access to first aid information while traveling, it may be a lifesaver. Try BBC Health and St John Ambulance. If you’re feeling seriously ill, don’t waste time on the internet; go and see a doctor.
7. Help, I’m lost!
Finding your way in a new and strange place can be frustrating. Lucky for you, map sites like Bing Maps can provide directions and a map of your location, right in your mobile phone. Also, check the advice of the 1st Special Response Group on what to do when lost. Save this webpage for offline use, so you can access it later even with no mobile coverage.
8. ¡No comprendo!
Frustrated that you can’t understand the locals or debating whether it’s wise to order something random from a foreign menu? Loading a language translator on your mobile browser can save you in those lost-in-translation moments. Google Translate supports 58 languages, and it automatically detects the input language before translating the text to the language of your choice.
9. When there’s a storm brewing
Few things can ruin a good journey like bad weather. Keep up to date on your travel outlook with weather websites for highly targeted forecasts including local temperature, wind speed, humidity and water temperature. Use Accuweather and Gismeteo to plan the best days for outdoor sightseeing or hitting the beach, to avoid a ruined day of soggy clothes or even a vacation flu.
10. Is this a bargain or what?
The exchange rate between currencies varies every day, so don’t rely on that conversion you memorized a few weeks before your getaway. Before you take out your wallet, go online to check the most recent rates. Yahoo! Finance’s Currency Converter provides the latest currency exchange rates for all major world currencies.
Opera Mini is a free, fast and compact app for accessing the internet on your phone. It optimizes and shrinks down the webpages you visit before they reach your phone, so you use much less data — making mobile surfing faster and cheaper, especially when you travel. Opera Mini is available from your favorite app store or at m.opera.com. More than 190 million people across the world use the Opera mobile browsers every month for a better web experience.