Pack your bags. We’re going on vacation!
That’s exactly what a well-designed travel website should make you feel. It should activate the travel bug with vibrant imagery and vivid copy.
And it should give would-be travelers all the information they need to arrange their travel plans.
Not all travel sites tick all of these boxes, but the ones that do stand out from all the rest. That’s important because how your site looks will determine what your users think of it.
In one study, when participants were asked why they distrusted a website, 94% of the comments were about design. So when you’re setting up your travel website, you want to make sure you leave no stone unturned.
What Should a Travel Website Include?
To make a visitor’s travel planning easy, the ideal travel website should include a mix of the following:
- High-quality photography
- Brief summary of the area, with highlights of important places
- Hotel recommendations along with web links to hotel/booking sites
- Recreation and outdoor activities (think parks, sports, water, etc.)
- Arts & culture, including museums, theaters, and other attractions to visit
- Travel tips
- Maps and guides
- Public transport info
- Airport information
- Language and local dialect
These elements will vary according to the size and complexity of the website and the destination, but you should aim to include as much of this information as possible.
To really know what your travel website should look like, you have to look at what some of the best travel sites are doing. So here are a few great examples of inspirational travel and tourism websites. Some of them are for cities while others are for states, provinces, and countries. Enjoy!
A prominent image gallery does a lot of the selling on the website for Telluride, Colorado. By making the images so large, the site makes sure the first thing you see is a beautiful landscape.
This is an example of a site that relies less on copy, choosing instead to display picturesque views and various activities in action.
The takeaway: For a memorable travel site, large, high-quality images are invaluable.
2. Into Brazil Provides an Interactive Experience
Into Brazil aims to create a virtual travel experience that allows the user to explore the sights of Brazil right from their web browser.
This is a unique approach because it gives people the ability to “travel” and get a taste of what Brazil has to offer before they even buy a plane ticket.
The takeaway: It’s worthwhile to brainstorm ways to allow your visitors to experience traveling without leaving home. This adds more depth to their browsing experience.
Color-coordinated icons serve as the navigation for this Turkish travel website. This is a breath of fresh air amongst clunky travel industry websites that are anything but user-friendly. The straightforward design of Travel Is On gives you easy access to the entire site.
The takeaway: Keep your site design simple when possible. Bright colors, easy navigation, and minimal page elements will make sure your visitors can find everything they need to.
Wonder what it’s like to travel the world for a living? This mother/daughter pair has made a name for themselves doing so, and they’ve created a nice compilation of their journey on Cookiesound.
What sets this site apart from others is the personal perspective. You can tell this site was made out of a passion for traveling. From their blog to gallery of snapshots, this website is sure to inspire the traveler in you.
The takeaway: Consider adding a personal touch or two to your site to help connect with readers better.
Indigenous Tours services India and offers well-planned tour packages to customers across the world.
Their site is exceptionally comprehensive. It features must-see destinations, hotel details, travel tips, and much more. Best of all, everything is easily accessible from the big menu bar. This travel site does a great job of making sure you get all your questions answered.
The takeaway: Don’t leave your readers in the dark. Make your site as comprehensive as you can.
6. Fun is First With Wheeling Travel
The website for Wheeling Travel takes a fun approach with its scrapbook design. The choice of font adds another element of lightheartedness to the site.
It has a different look from any of the other travel sites on this list, and while this design isn’t for everyone, there’s no denying it can pull readers in.
The takeaway: A more informal approach to site design could be the ticket (pun intended) to a great travel site.
This combination is wonderful––a huge call-to-action with an image that elicits an emotional response. It makes you feel like you’re about to ski down a wintry mountainside.
The takeaway: Pair your CTAs with specific, dynamic images for maximum effect.
Travel Oregon’s site is another fun travel site that uses pixelated graphics to give the user a one-of-a-kind experience. What other travel sites let you play a video game?
Again, this kind of spin on website design isn’t for everyone, but for Oregon’s laid-back atmosphere, it’s perfect.
The takeaway: Don’t be afraid to try new and different methods of engaging readers and providing unique interaction.
Here’s yet another take on interactive web design. Australia’s official website offers 360º videos so you can choose a vacation spot and explore it to your heart’s content.
It’s important that interactive elements don’t come off as gimmicky, and these 360º videos are anything but gimmicky. It’s a special way to view authentic tourism footage.
The takeaway: When designing interactive elements for your travel site, go above and beyond. How can you give your audience the most immersive experience?
Live Africa encapsulates the essence of the African safari experience, down to the textures and colors used throughout the site. The striking videos of majestic animals roaming in the wild show the reader what they can witness when they plan a trip to Africa.
The takeaway: The destination(s) you advertise should inform your site’s design.
No frills here, just all the information you’ll need to plan your African safari adventure. You can instantly tell that this site will help you find inexpensive trips.
The takeaway: Make your goal crystal clear. Your homepage should be optimized for not only conversion but also user-friendliness.
The gritty, torn photographic treatment adds to the energy and adventure of the Really Wild Challenges website. It has a memorable style that’s uniform throughout the site.
The takeaway: Aim for a unique style with your site design, and make sure that stays consistent on every page of your travel site.
At first, The Hawaiian Islands seems to be an average travel site. It has a landscape image and a standard navigation bar. But take a second look, and you’ll see how clean and simple the site is. The navigation hierarchy is broken down into six basic tabs, but you can still find what you’re looking for.
The “Scroll to continue” tag at the bottom is also noteworthy. It’s direct and effective.
The takeaway: Cluttered is out, and minimal is in. Aim for simple and impactful, even if it comes at the price of losing a little bit of detail.
When it comes to travel sites, there’s often a struggle between making sure you include all the information and making sure you don’t overwhelm your visitors.
Lake Crackenback’s site is a great example of how to walk this fine line. There are 13 menu items, but nothing feels cramped, and it’s all easy to navigate.
The takeaway: If you want to include a lot of detail on your site, make sure you give everything some breathing room.
Idaho’s website is unlike any of the others on this list. Why? It uses graphics in its menu. This may seem like a small decision, but it makes navigation that much easier. It also groups menu options using just four categories.
The takeaway: Navigating a site should be fun and frustration-free. You can utilize everything from graphics to interactive elements to achieve that goal.
Washington The State goes heavy on the visuals in showcasing the areas natural beauty in its marketing. The subtle, natural-toned color scheme is sure to appeal to nature-lovers, which is the demographic the site seems to focus most heavily on.
The takeaway: Know who your audience is and customize your site (both design and content) to cater to them.
Egypt’s travel website does a great job of showing how culturally rich the country is. The first thing you see is a stunning landscape, and the slideshow available on the home page displays Egypt’s diversity, showcasing everything from a room full of antiques to the iconic Giza Pyramids.
The takeaway: Variety is key. It’s tempting to choose a classic picture of a clearwater beach or a mountain range, but by showing off several different attractions, you’ll stand out more.
Costa Navarino’s travel site has one objective: to make you forget about everything but the beautiful island scenery in front of you. A travel customer needs to envision themselves in that hot relaxing place when they book tickets from their cold home in the winter, and Costa Navarino’s site understands this.
To that end, the site uses a giant slideshow, a collapsed hamburger menu, and inviting copy. The weather report in the top right is a nice touch.
The takeaway: Minimize distractions. Your site visitors should be focused on one thing: the destination.
Sure, this site looks nice, but more importantly, it loads super fast. It doesn’t lag on mobile devices, either. Since most people will be using a mobile device to find the best destination for them, this is critical.
The takeaway: Make sure your travel site is mobile friendly.
Chile has received numerous awards for tourism, and it displays these awards prominently on its homepage. The slideshow features three hero images, each with a different award at the top.
The takeaway: If you can show off any awards or critical acclaim, consider doing so (tastefully, of course).
There you have it! 20 inspirational travel websites to get you thinking about travel website design (and possibly future adventures).
To sum it all up, here are a few important points to keep in mind when working on your own travel site:
- Make sure navigation is simple. Graphics, smart category grouping, and smaller menus can all help with this.
- Images play a huge role! Don’t be afraid to use big banner images.
- Think about what can set your site apart from the rest. What style is right for your site (and your audience)?
Which one of these travel sites inspires you the most?