Calling Super Planners: Indispensable Sites?

Old Mar 12th, 2008, 02:06 PM
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Calling Super Planners: Indispensable Sites?

In this week's newsletter, we highlight 27 web sites that we think are particularly helpful when it comes to general trip planning:
http://www.fodors.com/news/story_2960.html

Several editors pitched in on the recommendations---some of which are well known here (opentable.com for instance). There were a few I wasn't aware of, including viator.com, where you can apparently book shows, tours, and day trips around the world.

I did note that one of the editors mentioned the OrbitzTLC Traveler Update.
(http://updates.orbitz.com/)
I've never used this myself but I'm curious if anyone here has.

Does anyone have any favorite go-to site that they strongly recommend? Anything vaguely obscure or perhaps under many travelers' radar? What would you add to this list?
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Old Mar 12th, 2008, 03:20 PM
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For checking flights and airports, I like flightarrivals.com (http://www.flightarrivals.com/cgi-bi...bjects/Flights)
because you can sometimes get more information about a specific airport than you'd get from your airline's website. You can pair airports and airlines to find out what's happening or look at one airport with various destinations/origins to figure out about a flight between two cities when you don't know the specific airline, etc. It offers a number of ways to check on things.

A little more arcane is www.flightaware.com, which allows you to track a specific flight. Aside from looking back over a few days to see what route a flight took and how often it was on time, it's useful if you want to know where the flight originated, or if you know where the equipment for your flight is coming from and you want to see where it is.

Essential for me beginning a couple of days before flight time is the Weather Channel's www.weather.com "Aviation Weather" set of maps -- showing forecasts for weather, turbulence, jet stream, winds at various altitudes, etc. Unfortunately, it's not easy to find via their home page -- no matter what sequence of links you click, you tend to get too limited info. Sequence that works is map type: "outdoors activity" and then under that: "aviation" and THEN click on the map to get full-screen image.

Here's the direct link: http://www.weather.com/maps/activity/aviation /usairportoverview_large.html (but
eliminate the space before "/usairportoverview" -- I inserted the space to avoid using tinyurl but still provide the complete html.)
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Old Mar 12th, 2008, 03:36 PM
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Before choosing a seat on an airline, www.seatguru.com

I always what specials are running on www.travelzoo.com

I now use google earth when looking at the location of a hotel, ie: near the railroad tracks, busy road, etc.

I downloaded www.yapta.com which tracks the cost of your flights, even after you have purchased them. If the fare goes down, you can call the airline and get a voucher for the difference. It worked for me on a flight last fall to Toronto, saving $181 per person (x3).
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Old Mar 12th, 2008, 03:50 PM
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I love the flexibility of kayak.com
I love being able to play with time of arrival or departure, i love playing with different airlines and airports. i love being able to find the shortest duration.
i find it indispensable in figuring out when and what airlines to travel.
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Old Mar 12th, 2008, 03:51 PM
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When ya gotta go, ya gotta know where ya gotta go...

http://www.thebathroomdiaries.com
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Old Mar 12th, 2008, 04:34 PM
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I frequently use tripadvisor.com for reviews and info on lodging.
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Old Mar 12th, 2008, 05:18 PM
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www.sleepinginairports.net is good both for the obvious subject matter (Can and where can you sleep in various airports safely, comfortably and with minimal disruption?) but also more generally on the subject of airport conditions (organization/chaos, cleanliness, corruptness).

I check the airline frequent flier threads on flyertalk.com in the last few days before I travel. They can be the fastest source of information about major airport disruptions for the key airports associated with particular airlines (e.g. British Airways for Heathrow an Gatwick, Air Canada for Canadian airports, etc.)

www.journeywoman.com is a good source of information about what to wear where in the world.

For travel to areas where safety risks are higher than what you're used to, I check the "information for travelers" sections on the foreign affairs websites for several different countries. I find that a single country's view of safety risks in a given country doesn't always provide a complete picture, so I usually check the travel warnings / country profiles published by at least two of Canada (I'm Canadian), the UK, Australia and the US.
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Old Mar 12th, 2008, 05:41 PM
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I think that the Weather Underground's Trip Planner feature is unbeatable:

www.wunderground.com

Plug in your destination and the date range for your trip and you'll get the weather specifics you want. And not just highs and lows, but chance of rain, chance of a freeze, chance of a cloudy day, and more. I use this site alot!
H
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Old Mar 12th, 2008, 08:51 PM
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Katie - not sure if you mean to include air fare search sites, but the fist place I look is the ita site at http://tinyurl.com/2qbg2

www.seatguru.com has already been mentioned - another place on my links bar.

For currency conversion: http://tinyurl.com/6qij

On time records and airport info: http://tinyurl.com/9ssh7

Local events and activities: http://tinyurl.com/338jwm

And, of course, for first hand recommendations from experienced travelers, http://tinyurl.com/2u2brf
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Old Mar 13th, 2008, 06:46 AM
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There's some great ones--thanks for making your suggestions.

I'm a huge kayak fan too; I use it constantly.

lvk---thanks for the reminder about yapta. You must have been pleased when it saved you that money---do all the airlines make up for the price difference with a voucher?

If you can never get enough of these site-related threads, than you might want to see this long running thread that was just topped the other day:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=34641450
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Old Mar 13th, 2008, 07:25 AM
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Chowhound is one of my most used for up to the minute dining recs!
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Old Mar 13th, 2008, 07:33 AM
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http://gocitykids.parentsconnect.com/choose

I've been planning a trip to NYC for the past 2 weeks and gocitykids has helped in such a major way. They list all sorts of things from attractions, parks, to childcare services! Not only giving you details of the activity/service, but also adding tips, reviews, and how to obtain discounts (if any).

If you're planning a trip with kids, I highly recommend giving this website a try... http://gocitykids.parentsconnect.com
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Old Mar 13th, 2008, 07:42 AM
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www.skyscanner.net for budget airline flights, especially in Europe

itasoftware.com for a comprehensive view of all airlines on a route (and the month-long view) is great for price variations

sidestep.com is another airline site
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Old Mar 13th, 2008, 07:55 AM
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this is a little obvious, but for the sake of completeness, Mapquest is a great tool for point to point driving directions.

www.mapquest.com
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Old Mar 13th, 2008, 08:33 AM
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I like www.petswelcome.com for traveling with pets. Another old standby for me (my pre-internet travel research tool) are the travel publications (guidebooks and accomodation guides) published by AAA. These are still useful to have with you on a road trip.
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Old Mar 13th, 2008, 10:50 AM
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Katie,

Fortunately, my flight was on UAL, and they don't charge a fee for claiming a refund. American and others charge up to $100 per ticket. Here's a list of the different airlines' policies:
http://tinyurl.com/ys7ef

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Old Mar 13th, 2008, 10:53 AM
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oops, somehow a letter got truncated from that link: http://tinyurl.com/ys7efm
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Old Mar 13th, 2008, 11:09 AM
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Haven't had a chance to use this yet, but seems very handy: http://www.tripit.com/


(And twice now mapquest has sent me in the wrong direction, so I use http://www.randmcnally.com/)
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Old Mar 13th, 2008, 11:30 AM
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I95 exitguide.com for travel on east coast - lists what is available at each exit on the entire 1500 mile route.
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Old Mar 13th, 2008, 11:54 AM
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I definitely have a list of sites that I frequent often.


http://www.tripAdvisor.com
absolutely the best and biggest hotel review site. I can always count on there being at least 1 review for even the most obscure hotel

http://www.TripIt.com
new site, I can plug in every detail of a trip and have it all in one place. Make notes, share it with friends, etc.

http://www.boo.com
I'm waiting for this little site to take off -- reviews of hotels, restaurants, etc. in cities all in one place.

http://www.resideo.com
Another up-and-coming site, I love, love, love the search feature, and the easy booking process (3 steps!). I can also update hotel information for places I've stayed at before.

http://www.intellicast.com
Weather...great layout, easy to use

http://www.yapta.com
they track flight prices, letting me know when they change.
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