|Page 3 of 3 <|
54 Online Travel Sites to Bookmark Now
* Oanda.com: This currency converter can tell you just how much your dollar is worth in more than 100 countries worldwide. As discouraging as this can be these days, it's good to know so you don't get ripped off. You can also print a handy, wallet-size "cheat sheet" listing current rates that show, for example, one euro is worth $1.49, two euros are worth $2.97 and so on. There's also a history link here, so you can see what those euros were worth when you spent them, a valuable tool for expense reports. Another good site for currency conversion: XE.com.
* Away.com: The destination guides here are superb and feature stories such as "Adrenaline Nation," showing the best places -- organized by region -- for raising your pulse. Other features offer recommendations for more sedate trips, such as a section on family road trips. Also see the similarly extensive GORP.com and the National Park Service site, http:/
* OpenTable.com: With online booking for thousands of restaurants, this site lets you make your reservation before you go. OpenTable is plugged into restaurants' reservations systems, so the inventory is up-to-date. The site shows "most popular" restaurants, but note that these are chosen by those using the site. For restaurant reviews, see CitySearch.com. Zagat.com is also useful, but the most-detailed reviews are available only to paying members.
* BootsnAll.com: People love to talk about where they've been and share advice, and sites have sprung up to serve them. The easy-to-navigate BootsnAll targets young, independent travelers, with links to hostels and low international airfares. But the heart of the site is the BootsnAll Community, with well-trafficked message boards and "Ask an Insider," where you can get advice from an expert or someone at your destination. Two more excellent communal sites: VirtualTourist.com and Igougo.com.
* TripAdvisor.com: This site provides advice and recommendations from fellow travelers -- more than 5 million reviews at last count -- and uses those reviews to rank hotels and attractions by popularity. However, the site's organization is clunky, so use the "Browse by Destination" box to zero in on your destination. Rankings, based on consumer reviews, help you find the most popular hotels for a destination. You can also upload images, so the whole world can see that hotel's cracked sink or stained ceiling. While some reviews are suspect, the sheer volume of reviews generally makes it possible to trace trends. Use the map on the home page to document your wanderings visually. Travelers also speak out at HotelChatter.com, WhereToStay.com and TravelPost.com.
TRAVEL SITE DIRECTORY
* JohnnyJet.com: An extensive directory of travel sites by category. Some sites are a bit dated, but there are still hundreds of useful links. Sign up for the weekly newsletter to follow Johnny's global peregrinations and links to stories in newspaper travel sections.
Michael Shapiro is the author of "Internet Travel Planner" (Globe Pequot) and "A Sense of Place" (Travelers' Tales).