Top Websites for Travel Agents, Consultants and Trip Planners

About.com Sites Inform and Educate Tourism Professionals

Travel agents, trip planners, concierge travel consultants and other professionals who design and market vacations, tours and business trips face a unique challenge. They have nothing concrete to sell, nothing that the client might test drive, try on, taste or sample. All they have is information and experience. Their job is to use their information and experience to create hypothetical trip proposals; and then to describe those proposals so persuasively that potential clients will vividly imagine the proposed trip, and hire them to make it happen.

The crucial tool for travel agents, consultants and planners is information. The list below provides links to one of the most authoritative, complete, and well-organized sets of travel- and tourism-related websites available anywhere on the World Wide Web. Written by professional journalists, who are experts on the topics they cover, these sites offer accurate, current and impartial information, not marketing hype or promotional hyperbole.

A...MORE few years ago, an internet tsunami changed the travel and tourism industry. A flood of travel-related websites wiped out some of the traditional sources of travel agent income. Airlines developed sites for on line booking, and stopped paying commissions to travel agents. Some hotel chains and other travel service providers did the same. On line fare aggregators, metasearch engines and discount travel sites empowered do-it-yourself bargain hunters. Huge, global, on line travel agencies and syndicates began using efficiencies of scale and automation to dominate the industry.

The digital tidal wave swept many independent travel agents right out of business, even as the number of international travelers increased. Agents who survived the flood of on line alternatives had to adapt their business plans to new market realities. Some have adapted by focusing on product categories that still offer commissions, such as cruises and speciality tourism. Others have moved from commission-based to fee-based business models; former agents of travel service providers have become travel consultants, hired for their expertise in planning trips and making travel arrangements.

Today, successful travel agents and consultants provide what the computers and corporations cannot. They use personal attention, understanding, knowledge and expertise to create travel experiences tailored for individual clients, like a bespoke suit. Their most important resource is reliable, rapid access to accurate, unbiased information about travel options and destinations. Using accurate, unbiased information to create optimal travel experiences for particular clients is a very different business from using promotional and marketing materials to sell trips or tour packages over the phone. That difference is what distinguishes tourism consultants from travel marketeers.

Most travel websites are designed on an advertorial model. Created by corporations, trade associations or governments, they only present information intended to promote or market destinations, airlines, hotels, resorts, cruises, attractions, guide books and tours.

By contrast, our B2B site, and the sites in the list below, are based on an independent journalism model. The are not designed to sell or promote, but to report and inform. They offer accurate, current, and impartial information about travel and tourism.

All the listed sites are part of the About.com family. So, they share similarities of format and structure. Each has a keyword search box that will take you directly to information about any specific subject you want to research. They also offer more general topic and category links that will lead you to broader fields of information. They include photo and video content; and feature a style that is friendly and accessible. They are a great way to become and remain familiar with new destinations and tourism specialities from a variety of perspectives. For example, several major cities are featured in separate sites that discuss them from the point of view of tourists and residents, respectively.

If you like these sites, go to About.com's home page for a comprehensive list of all the topics featured in its several hundred Web sites.

  • 01 of 07

    Africa

    Satellite image of Africa
    ••• Africa Public Domain Photo Map courtesy of NASA. Public Domain Photo Map courtesy of NASA
    • Africa Travel
    • African History
    • Ancient Egypt
    • Pharaohs
    • Ancient Egyptian Gods
    • Images of Ancient Egypt
  • 02 of 07

    Asia

    Satellite photo of Asia
    ••• Public Domain Photo Map courtesy of NASA
    • Asia Travel
    • Asian History
    • China Travel
    • Chinese Culture
    • Mandarin Language Lessons
    • Chinese Food
    • Ancient China
    • Images of Ancient China
    • Ancient Chinese Dynasties
    • Overview of Ancient Chinese History
    • Hong Kong / Macau Travel
    • India Travel
    • Indian Food
    • Israel Travel
    • Japan Travel
    • Japanese Language Lessons
    • Japanese Food
    • Korean Food
    • Middle East
    • Middle Eastern Food
    • Moroccan Food
    • Southeast Asia Travel
    • Thailand Travel
    • Thai Food
  • 03 of 07

    Australia and New Zealand

    • Australia Travel
    • New Zealand Travel
    • Australian / New Zealand Food
  • 04 of 07

    Europe

    Satellite photo of Europe
    ••• Public Domain Photo Map courtesy of NASA
    • Europe Travel
    • European History
    • Ancient History--Classical Europe
    • Amsterdam Travel
    • Dutch Food
    • Eastern Europe Travel
    • East European Food
    • France Travel
    • Paris Travel
    • French Food
    • Germany Travel
    • German Food
    • Greece Travel
    • Greek Food
    • Italy Travel
    • Italian Food
    • Scandinavia Travel
    • Scandinavian Food
    • Spain Travel
    • Spanish Food
    • United Kingdom Travel
    • Ireland Travel
    • London Travel
    • British & Irish Food
    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    North America

    North America Satellite photo
    ••• Public Domain Photo Map courtesy of NASA
    • Canada
    • Canada Travel
    • Montreal / Quebec City Travel
    • Montreal Community
    • Toronto Community
    • Vancouver Travel
    • Vancouver Community
    • Caribbean
    • Caribbean Travel
    • Puerto Rico Travel
    • Latin Caribbean Food
    • Central America
    • Central America Travel
    • Mexico
    • Mexico Travel
    • Mexican Food
    • USA
    • United States Travel
    • American History
    • African American History
    • Geology of the USA
    • USA Regional Food
    • California
    • California Travel
    • Lake Tahoe / Reno Community
    • Los Angeles Travel
    • Los Angeles Community
    • Oakland Community
    • Orange County Community
    • Sacramento Community
    • San Diego Community
    • San Francisco Travel
    • San Francisco Community
    • Hawaiian Islands
    • Hawaii Travel
    • Honolulu Community
    • Eastern US
    • New England Travel
    • Boston, MA Community
    • New York City Travel
    • Brooklyn, NY Community
    • Long Island, NY Community
    • Manhattan, NY Community¬†
    • Queens, NY Community
    • Philadelphia PA / South Jersey Community
    • Pittsburgh, PA Community
    • Washington, DC Travel
    • Washington, DC Community
    • Baltimore, MD Community
    • Midwestern US
    • Chicago, IL Travel
    • Chicago Community
    • Cincinnati, OH Community
    • Cleveland, OH Community
    • Columb...MOREus, OH Community
    • Detroit, MI Community
    • Indianapolis, IN Community
    • Milwaukee, WI Community
    • Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN Community
    • Kansas City, MO Community
    • St. Louis, MO Community
    • Northwestern US
    • Northwestern US Travel
    • Portland, OR Community
    • Seattle, WA Community
    • Southern US
    • Southeastern US Travel
    • Atlanta, GA Community
    • Charlotte, NC Community
    • Huntsville, AL Community
    • Little Rock, AR Community
    • Louisville, KY Community
    • Memphis, TN Community
    • Nashville, TN Community
    • New Orleans, LA Travel
    • New Orleans Community
    • Raleigh-Durham, NC Community
    • Florida
    • Florida Travel
    • Jacksonville Community
    • Miami Travel
    • Miami Community
    • Orlando Community
    • Tampa Community
    • Southern US Food
    • Southwestern US
    • Southwestern US Travel
    • Albuquerque, NM Community
    • Oklahoma City, OK Community
    • Phoenix, AZ Community
    • Western US
    • Denver, CO Community
    • Nevada
    • Las Vegas Travel
    • Las Vegas Community
    • Vegas Insider
    • Casino Gambling
    • Sports Betting
    • Reno / Lake Tahoe Community
    • Salt Lake City, UT Community
    • Texas
    • Texas Travel
    • Austin Community
    • Dallas Community
    • Houston Community
    • San Antonio Community
  • 06 of 07

    South America

    South America Satellite Photo
    ••• Public Domain Photo Map courtesy of NASA
    • South American Travel
    • Argentina Travel
    • Brazil Travel
    • Peru Travel
    • South American Food
  • 07 of 07

    Niche Tourism: Special Topics, Themes, Activities and Resources

    • Adventure Travel
    • Air Travel
    • Atlas of the World
    • Bed & Breakfasts
    • Bicycling
    • Birding / Wild Birds
    • Budget Travel
    • Business Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Culinary Travel
    • Disney Trip Planner
    • Family Vacations
    • Free Things to Do
    • Freshwater Fishing
    • Gay & Lesbian Travel
    • Geography and Maps
    • Geologic Maps
    • Golf Travel
    • Honeymoons / Romantic Travel
    • Hotels & Resorts
    • Luxury Travel
    • Mountain Biking
    • National & State Parks
    • Saltwater Fishing
    • Scuba Diving
    • Senior Travel
    • Skiing
    • Spas
    • Student Travel
    • Surfing and Body Boarding
    • Theme Parks
    • Vacation Homes
    • World Music