Avoid uppity maitre d's and book a restaurant table online for free. Not all leading restaurants are listed, but you'll find hundreds of choices for top destinations nationwide. Enter party size, date and time, and the site searches for a table. If one's not available, OpenTable will suggest an alternate time.
SmokeFreeWorld lists nonsmoking restaurants worldwide (or at least those with legitimate nonsmoking sections), including dozens in Paris. Vraiment!
Travel Guides/Destination Info
With concise destination pages, worldwide news reports and guidebook updates, Lonely Planet is a well-rounded site that understands what online users want. Created a generation ago for backpackers, Lonely Planet is true to its roots but useful for travelers of all budgets. Check the "Thorn Tree" for unvetted reports from other travelers. LP's compact "citysync" guides can be downloaded into a handheld computer, like a Palm, for a fee.
Sometimes the best vacation memories come from tours and excursions, like a walking tour of Jack the Ripper's haunts in London or a helicopter tour over Maui. Viator makes these tours and attractions easy to find, and ranks the most popular tours for more than 40 destinations. Book online: Viator's prices are the same you'd pay at the locations -- no fee is added.
Though no longer affiliated with Arthur Frommer, Frommers.com offers destination guides and advice by topic. Lower down on the home page are late-breaking bargains and tips from the publisher.
Nicely presented guides include destination-specific categories; for example, the Bermuda entry includes Best Beaches and Bermuda Shorts. The hotel and restaurant guides include reader reviews and numerical ratings. Click on "News" for bargains and columns such as "Tips for a Better, Cheaper Hotel Stay."
If you're thinking about renting a villa in Tuscany or lounging on the French Riviera, check this site. Steves, author of "Europe Through the Back Door," has navigated most of the Continent's back roads. However, some of the hotels he recommends have become so popular they're almost impossible to book during peak times. The site includes country guides, rail pass advice and newsletters.
Select a country or state on the Tourism Offices Worldwide Directory for links, locations and phone numbers of tourism bureaus. These can be helpful for learning about attractions, lodgings, festivals and more, though keep in mind it's promotional information. The site isn't the most slickly designed, but it works.
With advice on nightlife, shopping, sports, dining and more, CitySearch is useful for seeing what's on during the dates you plan to visit a destination. It covers more than 100 U.S. cities and dozens of international destinations.
With daily updates and showtimes for music, movies and other events, Vindigo is designed to be downloaded into handheld computers and some cell phones. The free version is called Vindigo Lite; the full-featured Vindigo is now a fee-based service, but you can try it free for 30 days.