Staying abreast about potential travel destinations is one of the most basic forms of information-hunting that globe-trotters and home-bodies alike endorse when planning to hit the road or board a plane. Different regions, countries, and even distinct areas in home communities provide escapism from the routine of everyday living and help broaden perspectives with local culture and unique natural environments.
It’s easy to get caught up in what you already know about a travel destination, but a compelling visitor website helps returning and new tourists navigate which locations and other details will make the most out of their adventures, be they abroad, near home, or somewhere in between.
Today’s best travel and tourism websites
Another Escape is an exploratory publication focused on examining the values of outdoor living, sustainable ecology, and related creative projects, all toward the passions of readers who submit their own stories in addition to the publications of staff. The nature-driven topics they cover address a wide range of inspirational content, and the site’s design offers close-up, high-def imagery from people exploring wildernesses from around the world. The homepage’s large mountain range is perfect for their background image, and their online store is well-supported with thorough descriptions of their different books, prints, and bundle options from easy-to-browse store galleries.
If you’re looking for exposure to a true winter wonderland, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place than Finland for its bright Northern Lights and historical relation to the real Santa Claus. Findland’s official tourism website showcases all of the above while offering more specific travel information about the country’s climate, landscapes, urban sectors, and entertainment opportunities. The homepage is provides an interactive map with plenty of user click feedback via small animations on a simple color grid. Scrolling down the landing page expands the degree of more specific visible information on the page, like which cities to visit, hotels to stay at, and everyday things to do about-town depending on which regions most interest you.
The enormous tourism rental platform, Airbnb, offers a platform for people to rent short-term lodging across a variety of types, including apartments, hotels, and even hostels. Their site smartly describes the magnitude of the company — that they provide millions of listings in almost 70,000 cities around the world lets visitors know that Airbnb means business. Since their website is the primary tool they and their customers use, Airbnb does a great job of prioritizing testimonials so readers can vett spaces accordingly, and by including plenty of photos from multiple angles in each listing so customers can see the quality at a glance. They also offer promotional emails and website content based on your next travel destinations for more current information about what’s generally desirable about where you’re headed.
With a highly illustrative, pencil-like approach to drawings throughout the site, the UK-based company, Pitch, doesn’t sacrifice strong brand presentation for an overly basic format. Their homepage video includes some inspiring information about exploring the British countryside, and scrolling down each subsection clever brings readers through both a checklist of “how to pitch” (camping instructions) and how to order their products online or book a camping session. The site loads very quickly,and each area they mention includes concise definitions of what the location is and what usually transpires there beyond your next trip so you can plan for exactly the adventure you want.
Brazil’s official tourism site includes some of what you might guess: beautiful beaches in sunny weather, grassy mountain ranges and knolls for trailblazers, and the urban accouterments and architectural styles of life downtown. However, the sheer size of Brazil, a country that takes up almost half of South America and with the world’s 5th largest population, isn’t easily encapsulated with depictions of the weather and generalized moments of joy. Brazil tackles this problem by making distinct sections for different regions based on their type of natural environments, businesses in the area, and the local cultural events happening now and in the near future.
On the Grid
On the Grid is pretty unique compared to others on this list since they’re a travel blog that spans several countries and continents. Their tagline, “Explore the World” acts as both a call to action and a general service description on the first homepage image you see, and just below it is a button for choosing a specific city of interest. The homepage’s alphabetical list of different guides includes thorough descriptions of every location possible, and their hot dog-style menu of viewing a specific city with Google Maps on one side and the company’s local businesses of choice listed on the right makes figuring out how to navigate the area and the website itself very easy.
Toucan Cafe and Tours
Toucan Cafe and Tours is almost like combining two different industries in a very effective, if somewhat unintuitive way. They’re a cafe business based in Medellin, Columbia, and they organize tours for visitors and even language exchanges for passionate foreigners. Their homepage’s menu bar makes learning about this unconventional company a breeze with easily differentiated categories and fundamental information about visiting the country (in addition to what makes their coffee great). Crucially, the site is available in English and Spanish because they know most of their tourists come from English-speaking backgrounds.
Visit Wheeling, West Virginia
West Virginia may be notorious for lower tourism rates beyond stunning mountain range enthusiasts, but it’s also opportunistic as a state looking for tourists, and recently saw a surge of website visitors due to a famous video game’s location there. They even partnered up with the video game developer directly on the site to specify what the game takes from region-specific ghost stories, nature-driven experiences in the outdoors, and which historical facts were inspiration for the game’s content. The designers made great efforts to section the site into four sections, covering Wheeling’s hotels, restaurants, recreation, and historical outings for the most popular services visitors want to experience.
The official travel site for Oregon offers a full-page video loop of what their tagline, “Oregon Magic” really means to the state at large. The video inspires visitors with descriptions of the distinct regions that compose its cities, towns, and naturally-occurring destinations and with clear calls to action (CTA) to learn more about the Rose City, it’s hiking trails, and the state’s coastal beauty. All the CTAs use action-words like “wander” and “explore” in order to emphasize the more fun, laid-back nature more consistent with the culture.
Mount Kilimanjaro Guide
The site for Mount Kilimanjaro Guide is heavily informational, with lots of text in each subsection and throughout the homepage. This is atypical for most websites, and even for tourist sites that need more information to make sure customers know what they’re regionally getting into. Since their information is solely based on visiting and climbing the famous mountain, it makes sense that they’d tailor specialized content to a narrower audience. Their text-heavy pages specify what’s valuable about their guides to people with hiking passions, and targeting this audience in particular with more descriptive text will make them come back for more expert perspectives because it’s one of the richest places to get it.