Adioso opens travel search for the adventurous

There are a heap of travel sites on the Web, but most look to serve to the fixed-date traveller: those with a date and destination in mind. Adioso, funded by the prominent Y Combinator startup incubator, launched a third version of its product Wednesday as a way for open-ended, adventurous travelers to seek out their next destination before they pack their backpacks, dawn their cap and shades, and head out for their next escapade.

The site works in a simple way: On its homepage, you are automatically shown your location and a list of various domestic and international destinations based on fares. When you click on one, or alternatively type in your search, you are taken to a page with a graph of ticket prices over time — a useful indicator for the right dates to travel — and flight options for each day.

It’s far from the only innovator in travel search. The recently launched Hipmunk shows flights on a grid to eliminate duplicate results and other noise from a search. But Adioso uses natural-language search and an impressive routing algorithm to provide the ability to make open-ended searches like “Los Angeles to anywhere international under $700,” “Los Angeles to anywhere domestic during Oct,” or “Los Angeles to Honolulu next week.” It’s one of few travel sites on the Web without the predictable “destination” and “date” selection boxes, a much-welcomed change.

Sporting an elegant interface, the service seems to be the perfect answer to those wondering where they should take their next holiday, frequent travelers looking to backpack their way to exotic destinations, or simply those with a fixed budget in mind. If destination and date are open for debate in your planning, it promises to take care of the rest.

Adioso was founded in 2008 and is based in Melbourne, Australia, and San Francisco. The startup has raised $355,000 to date from various angel investors, with its initial funding coming from Y Combinator in November 2008.