Plane Dealing: Need assistance negotiating those maze-like airports? The World Travel Airport Guides comes to the rescue, delivering the scoop on an international array of them. Directions plus fast facts for services such as parking, ground transportation, duty-free shops, business centers and lounges are all included. What you won’t learn is where to grab some ZZZs if you get grounded. Luckily, the terminally tired can surf over to Sleeping Airports.Net for tips on the best spots to take a catnap.
Please be Seated: We’ve told you how much fliers can glean from Seat Guru, but train lovers needn’t feel left out: Seat61.com is designed especially for them. Named for creator Mark Smith’s favorite seat on the Eurostar, it has the pics and personal recommendations you expect; however, the knowledgeable fellow in Seat 61 also addresses the brass tacks business of railways worldwide. Fares, timetables, train-car amenities and route details are only a mouse-click away.
Ticket to Ride: Within Europe, trains have long been the preferred mode of transportation. But whether it’s an economical alternative depends on the type of ticket you buy. Rail Europe sells passes as well as point-to-point tickets, and you can now use its re-designed website to compare fares. Handy charts outline the former while a booking engine linked to European rail databases lets you determine what you’ll pay for the latter.
On The Fast Track: If you’d rather join the underground movement, check out Subwaynavigator.com. It has maps of the world’s metro systems, among them Paris’ métro, London’s tube, Buenos Aires’ subterraneo and Atlanta’s MARTA. Better yet, when you plug in your arrival and departure stations it can provide you with directions and even approximate trip times within select locales. Links to the individual cities’ rapid transit systems are also available onsite. For the skinny on buses and other forms of public transportation, try Routes International.
Start Your Engines: Motorists can score loads of useful info from automobile association websites, even if they aren’t members. Take AAA.com. As long as you have a zip code you can access goodies like turn-by-turn maps and suggested tour loops (the loop suggestions come with estimated driving times). Wondering how much gas will cost for that trip from San Francisco to LA? Type in the make, model, and year of your vehicle and Triple-A’s fuel cost calculator will tell you.
Road Rules: Britain’s AA is equally helpful. In the “Travel” section you’ll find a route planning tool as well downloadable documents advising you on everything from seatbelt laws and compulsory safety equipment to illegal blood-alcohol levels in 46 European countries. There are details on road tolls, too (like the whopping $57 fee charged on Italy’s A1 between Milan and Naples), so frugal drivers can either budget accordingly or plot a less expensive route.