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At the December New York Tech Meetup, a new startup called Wanderfly presented their new vacation finding startup.  As part of this presentation, they had a contest to win a trip by coming to their website, creating a trip and tweeting it out.  I was lucky enough to win the contest and took the time to work with their service fairly in depth.

The way Wanderfly works is you pick a starting location, time period, either by a general time period or specific dates, amount of money you wish to spend and where you want to go, either a specific place or letting the website select the location for you. The site then figures out air fare and hotels for you and offers some ideas for things to do there. If you want to take a vacation and are open to different ideas on places to go, it’s a cool concept.

Since I had been planning to run the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, I already had a trip in mind, which doesn’t work entirely with the way their service was supposed to work.  My plan was to travel from Westchester airport to Fort Lauderdale, visit family for two days, drive up to Orlando and spend four days there before heading home.  Unfortunately, Wanderfly currently doesn’t support segmented trips like that and I needed to work with someone from Wanderfly to create the trip I wanted.  Wanderfly also used Kayak as their reservation system for the airlines, but it was having trouble finding Westchester airport for flights, which is 15 minutes from where I live and the most convenient airport for me to travel from.

The other problem I had with Wanderfly was that the activities available in Orlando are taken from Yelp and Foursquare, and since the information for the local attractions tended to be different locations within the theme parks, many of which were mislabled in the other apps, so they came across as incorrect in Wanderfly. I knew I wanted to visit the local theme parks to see things like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but the parks themselves did not appear as options.  When I played with other locations on their site, the activities worked a lot better at finding interesting places to visit.

Wanderfly did find me a fantastic hotel, though.  They use Expedia to find hotels and I used their recommended hotel to find the Embassy Suites Downtown Orlando, where I had a two room suite with a King size bed.  The inside of the hotel was a seven level panopticon with a bar and cafe at the center in the lobby and my room had a view of the outdoor heated pool, which I was not fortunate enough to spend time at.  The hotel was centrally located and convenient to everything I did on my vacation.

If I had been more open to a vacation that didn’t have such a set itinerary, Wanderfly would have been a great way to explore new places. I would use them again if I wanted to get away and had no set plans, like the marathon. Hopefully, I’ll get to take a vacation soon and try it out properly.

Although Wanderfly paid for my trip to Florida for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, they did not sponsor this post and in no way was I obligated to write about or promote them here. I do thank them for their contest and sending me to Florida.

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