Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wanderfly, a "Travel Inspiration Site," Opens to the Public this Week

Travel is a beautiful thing but picking the correct destination can be stressful, particularly when vacation days and cost are an issue. is the digital version of spinning a globe and throwing out your finger to pick your next goal. The site acts like a Pandora of a travel, analyzing a destination's DNA and mapping it to what user's want.

In late August, we offered our readers personal beta invites to check out Wanderfly first hand. This week, the "travel inspiration site" has launched in public beta and has announced partnerships with 22 brands including Expedia, Foursquare, Yelp, NileGuide, Not for Tourists, Rough Guides, Find.Eat.Drink. and Lonely Planet.

Wanderfly lets users be adventurous. Just leave the "I Want To Explore" box as "Anywhere" or limit your search to a region such as "Asia" or "South America." It's similar to Kayak's Explore feature, but with more useful information like recommended activities (powered by services like Eventful), fast verify out and a simple, beautiful layout. With Wanderfly, users pick a price range, estimated dates and themes such as beach, party, luxury, culture, food, shopping, etc. Wanderfly then searches over 20 trusted sites, including Expedia, Foursquare, Yelp and Lonely Planet, to recommend a trip complete with destination, flight, hotel and activities.

After 7,000 private beta testers over the past few months, Wanderfly has updated their user interface, which includes multiple recommendations, allowing users to flip through trips with the arrows or click on the grid icon on the upper blue bar to view trip ideas from all over the globe at once. According to Wanderfly, their simple flight selector has been a huge hit in beta. The engine suggests just one flight, and allows users to click "more" to check out additional flights in a simple interface.

Additionally, the site offers a Facebook connect so users can see if their friends live in any of the destinations that Wanderfly recommends. The site also gives users the ability to share a trip on Facebook with the talk bubble icon on the upper blue bar.

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