Wanderfly is an easy-to-use travel site geared toward a fast-paced, social media-using, nomadic generation. What makes it unique is that you don’t even need to know where you want to go to start planning your next vacation. You can restrict or expand your travels however you like, from “Europe” to the default “Anywhere” and see where your budget and the algorithms take you — the virtual equivalent of throwing a dart at a map. In this way, Wanderfly brings the fun and infinite possibilities back in to traveling.
At the bright, big-buttoned homepage, users are asked a series of simple questions: where you’re leaving from, your budget, a rough idea of when you want to travel, where you want to explore (this can be as vague or specific as you like), and finally what you’re interested in. Hit “Get Going” and the site’s ingenious algorithms take over from there, coming up with a recommended trip.
Now this page may look a little overwhelming but it’s really not. In the top left we’ve got a little menu. The first tab shows any Facebook friends that you might have in the area — ideal if you’re looking to save money on a tour guide. The other tabs will get you tweets about the area and weather. Below that is the meat of the page: flights, hotel, and your total cost.
The site has picked both a roundtrip flight and a hotel within our budget range. You can easily change these by clicking the plus sign buttons. The flight locator, powered by Expedia, is one of the easiest to use out there. Hotels are recommended and rated with information from sites like Not for Tourists, NileGuide, and Lonely Planet. Once you’ve settled on how you’re getting there and where you’re staying, you can explore any and all of the activities you selected, with recommendations from social media sites like Yelp and Foursquare. As you make changes, your total price changes in real time.
Of course if you entered a vague place to explore (like “Asia” or “Anywhere”), you might not like where Wanderfly threw the virtual dart on the world map. You can either click the “next” arrow for another recommendation or you can view multiple recommended destinations at once by clicking the multi-trip button in the top right.
Wanderfly makes it easy to check off multiple trips and compare them side-by-side.
When you’re ready to book the trip, checkout is as simple as it should be: everything’s on one page and you only have to enter your credit card information once.
Wanderfly is a solution to a real problem — the fact that planning a trip can almost suck the joy out of the entire experience. Just ask co-founder Evan Schneyer, who created the site out of frustration with other travel sites. As Schneyer explains, “We believe the fun should start from the very moment you decide to go.” We think we’ll find ourselves deciding to go a lot more often.