Here are my favorite travel planning sites – those I use to learn more about a destination and put together an itinerary. I talk about my favorite sites specifically for booking hotels or airline tickets in the Best Sites to Find Travel Deals article.
As travel guides go, this is one of the best. Information is categorized in easy into understand sections; include suggestions on itineraries, and hosts a vibrant community forum environment.
Provides local information about a destination better than any site I know. Though not necessarily a travel guide, it provides in-depth information about a region, city, even a particular neighborhood across the globe. Information is maintained by the community at large, as opposed to a single reviewer.
As their tagline says, all seats are not created equally. This site will tell you which seats on a given plane are better than others. Information includes whether the seat has obstructions, the best pitch (recline), legroom, if under-seat storage is missing, etc. The site will also tell you what amenities are available, such as entertainment system, power adapters (important for international flights) and more. This site saved my butt once – I was about to take a trip on China Airlines – until I found out there wasn’t any entertainment system in any of the seats. What I like about this site compared to similar sites, you don’t need to know the airplane model number – just enter airline info and time.
When I want to know more about a hotel, TripAdvisor is where I start. This member based review system provides details on how recent the trip was, the type of trip (business, leisure, etc), and whether the reviewer would recommend the property to a friend.
|Yahoo Currency Converter
Much more convenient than looking in the newspaper, this online currency converter will give you a ‘ballpark figure‘ as to how much of the local currency you can get for your hard earned money. What I like about the Yahoo Converter is it provides a handy pocket guide, 5 day trends and a wealth of information regarding the entire currency conversion process.
|Farecast (now Bing Travel)
While actually a travel aggregator, the killer feature is the site’s ability to ‘predict’ whether the fare will go up, down or stay the same within the next 7 days. It will also give you historical analysis of where the fare has gone over the last 30 days. Now owned by Microsoft – they give strong Buy or Wait recommendations. Primarily focused on domestic flights – it is expanding rapidly into include international route predictions.
|US State Department
The first and last stop you need to make for passport, visa or international entry/exit requirements. In addition, the state department includes travel alerts (changes in travel), warnings (what us travelers need to look out for) and US Embassy locations across the globe.
These are some of my favorite sites; if you have other travel related sites you like, please share them with everyone.