If you’re young, footloose, and fancy free, you can still stay connected with friends and family back home through online social networking sites designed specifically for travelers. More and more travel agent sides are implementing social networking tools that allow users to connect with one another to share photos, stories, tips, and reviews. One of the major benefits is obvious: We prefer to hear honest, personalized travel advice from real people, even friends, and not just companies trying to sell us stuff.
Wayn.com is one of the biggest social networking sites for travelers. Members create a profile and share where they’ve traveled and where they plan to go. They connect with others who share their interests, hobbies, and dream destinations. It implements many of the features common on other social networking sites like Facebook: chatting, forums, photos, and amassing friends. Users who become friends through the website can even agree to meet in the same city.
Other sites combine social networking with travel booking information. Tripadvisor.com, for instance, is one of the biggest travel sites in the world, allowing people to read reviews and blogs from real-life travelers and share photos. Tripadvisor also connects with with your Facebook account, letting you see where your friends have been, where they are now, and which locations they “liked.” IgoUgo.com has a similar system; it rewards contributors who submit photos, blogs, and reviews with Go points that they can redeem for online gift certifications or frequent flier miles. Members gain fans who follow their blogs.
As more travel sites recognize the benefits of letting travelers connect with one another, whether for professional or personal purposes, the more they’ll integrate social networking into their websites. And we’ll be happy to read honest, personal accounts from people who have been there—especially people we know.
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