Web Travel Resources, Part 2
Thursday, November 8, 2007; 12:19 AM
Last weekI gave you a guide to some of the best, most popular, and little-known travel planning Web sites.
This week I'll help you find the best online resources for travelers, including sites with restaurant and hotel reviews, and more.
Menu Pages.This guideto over 25,000 restaurants in eight metro areas provides user reviews and downloadable menus.
OpenTable.com. Want to book a table for four people tomorrow night at 8 o'clock?OpenTable.comlets you quickly discover which restaurants in a given city (20 in the U.S., a few internationally) have availability at a particular time, then book a table. Members earn points that can be redeemed for discounts at participating eateries. OpenTable.com includes links to reviews in Zagat.com and other sites.
Zagat. The famed guide to restaurants, featuring consumer reviews and ratings, is available digitally in several forms. You can get restaurant details for freeon your laptop(but no ratings or reviews) orcell phone Web browser. For $5 (for 30 days) or $25 (for 12 months), you can access Zagat's reviews and ratings on a laptop or cell phone browser. Other options: Download the Zagat application and database ($30) onto your Palm, BlackBerry, or Pocket PC handheld; or buy a CD-ROM for your computer ($30). Go to theZagat Survey Shopfor info on these service.
Chowhound. Thisfoodie sitefeatures reviews and tips from diners around the world, plus interviews with experts; forums; videos; and blogs.
TripAdvisor. Here's where hotel junkies trade secrets, reviews, tips, and photos. Users rate hotels on such things as service, value, and cleanliness.The sitefeatures forums, in which travelers pose questions to other travelers. You can also book hotel and airline reservations.
USAToday.com. The newspaper'sHotel Hotsheet blogis ideal for keeping up with the latest hotel trends and news.
HotelChatter.This bloghas tons of hotel news, gossip, and reviews, as well as annually updated lists of the best and worst hotels with Wi-Fi.
Google Maps. I've had mixed success with all the mapping/direction sites. But I useGoogle Mapsmost often, because I love the satellite and street view features and the real-time traffic updates. I also use Google Maps on my Treo for on-the-go driving directions without a GPS.
Weather.com. For thousands of cities worldwide,Weather.comlets see how local weather will affect outdoor activities; allergies; skin conditions; even weddings.
YouTube. There are thousands of user-posted videos in theTravel & Places categories.