Tropical paradise

Just a few years ago, you probably would have called up your travel agent if you were thinking about taking a trip or vacation somewhere. These days, though, there are thousands of websites online that can help you with every step of the planning process — as well as offer some help beyond what a travel agent could do for you. With these online tools, you can make sure that your travels, whether for business or pleasure, are enjoyable.

Planning

Tripbase

Tripbase

Tripbase — Get ideas on where to travel and what to do, based on what you enjoy.

Yahoo! Travel — Access an integrated set of travel tools that recommend specific trips, help you find cheap airfare and hotels, and more.

Iloho — Read up on locations you’re considering visiting, as well as plan your itinerary.

Triporama — Manage the travel plans of whole groups of family or friends and make sure you all get where you’re going.

RealTravel — Look at reviews for trips, locations, and even hotels in order to plan your travel.

TripConnect — Get travel advice from your network of friends.

Travel.State.Gov — Check government advisories on travel as well as get tips for specific countries.

TripAdvisor — Plan each step of your trip while consulting reviews from other travelers.

Tripology — Get help from travel agents with planning your vacation.

OneBag — Learn how to pack your bags and travel light.

Trekaroo — Put together a family friendly travel plan.

PlanetEye — Read reviews of destinations around the world.

TripWolf — Get access to professional travel articles as well as information from other travelers.

AmateurTraveler — Discover new places to visit.

TripEssentials — Bookmark and manage accommodations and other travel information while you’re planning your trip across multiple sites.

TravelIndex — Ask questions about traveling and find resources.

Openplaces — Research your destinations and find reliable information.

Flying

SeatGuru

SeatGuru

FareCompare — Find cheap flights and get Twitter updates about cheap deals from your home airport.

SideStep — Search major travel sites like Orbitz and JetBlue with just one search.

Mobissimo — Compare results from a variety of travel search engines, as well as get news and connect with the Mobissimo community.

Bing Travel — Find airfare and get tips on when to buy your tickets so that you get the lowest possible price.

Frekfly — Get the details on the airports you’ll be flying through, like where you should eat.

atLarge — Find Internet access at any airport in the world.

AirTroductions — Connect with other passengers who will be traveling through particular airports at particular times.

FlightAware — Track your flights and check out the activity at the airports you’re headed to.

FlightStats — Get information on the status of your flights.

SeatGuru — Learn which seats are the best on the plane.

FlyerTalk — Improve the number of airline miles you get from frequent flyer programs.

Vayama — Search for international flights.

Momondo — Discover the dates that will offer you the cheapest airfare.

Airline Quality — Check the quality of the airline you’ll be traveling with before you book.

FlyMyCase — Have your baggage shipped to your destination before you leave and skip baggage claim.

Yapta — Track ticket prices to make sure you get the best deal.

Riding

Google Transit

Google Transit

Google Transit — Plan trips on public transportation.

RailEurope — Purchase rail passes to travel around Europe.

Driving

Ridester

Ridester

Ridester — Share rides in the U.S. by either finding a ride or offering one for a share of the gas money.

TripWiser — Plan road trips and get advice from a social network on where to go.

TravMatix — Create a driving plan, complete with suggestions on where to stop for gas.

PlanYourTrip — Find information on motels, campgrounds, and attractions around the route of your roadtrip.

Moblu — Calculate your gas costs for your trip.

Accommodations

LicketyTrip

LicketyTrip

Hotels Finder — Find hotels in various cities and see their rankings and details on a Google Map.

Rent Me A Vacation — Search for vacation rentals based on location and price.

EpicTrip — Watch videos and read reviews of the hotels you’re considering staying in before you book.

TravelPost — Search for hotel reviews across thousands of websites.

HomeAway — Find vacation rentals all over the world, as well as rent out your own vacation rental.

LicketyTrip — Get last minute deals on vacation rentals.

HostelWorld — Check out hostel options in more than 170 countries.

LateRooms — Book hotel rooms at the last minute for deals.

Skoosh — Search for boutique hotel rooms.

ConcertHotels — Going to a concert? Find a hotel near the venue.

CouchSurfing — Couchsurf your way around the world by finding locals to stay with.

Hostelling International — Book hostels around the world in order to travel on the cheap.

Hospitality Club — Travel for free and connect with locals through this site’s volunteers.

HostelTrail — Read up on hostels located in Latin America.

Domegos — Locate vacation rentals in more than 70 countries.

AirBNB — Connect with hosts who will let you sty in their homes.

gloveler.com — Rent private accommodations inexpensively.

Travel Guides

Simpatigo

Simpatigo

Boo — See guides and travel advice written by other travelers.

EveryTrail — Share trip routes and photos online and through mobile devices, as well as find trips where you’ll be traveling.

WhereTo.org — Look at information shared by other travelers describing places they’ve been, along with their recommendations.

Vcarious — Read travel guides written by recent visitors, as well keep your own travel journal.

WikiTravel — Find and edit this shared travel guide organized along the lines of Wikipedia.

Cosmotourist — Get travel tips that go beyond guidebooks and ask any questions you want answered before you travel.

World66 — Check out more than 20,000 different destinations with almost 80,000 articles written about them.

TripCart — Find what to do once you’ve got an idea of where you want to travel.

Geobeats — Watch video travel guides to learn more about where you’re headed.

Travelistic — See thousands of travel videos from all over the world.

Simpatigo — Create custom tours of the area you’re visiting.

World Hotel Link — Read up on information about different areas with a socially conscious angle.

LonelyPlanet — Browse professional travel guides online.

OffbeatGuides — Print your own customized travel guides.

WorldSaurus — Access travel guides written entirely by locals.

KeenGuides — Watch guided tours for the areas you plan to visit.

Local Help

Yelp

Yelp

Boomtrek — Get acquainted with individual cities, from finding the neighborhood you want to stay in, as well as find other information about the city.

Wayn — Find locals and other travelers to hang out with.

CityTherapy — Hear about the newest and coolest places to go in European cities.

BringSome — Bring or get items usually only available in other countries.

Where’s the Beach, Dude! — Get listings on where nearby beaches are.

Yelp — Read reviews of restaurants and other businesses in there area you’re visiting.

DailyCandy — Learn about local events and the bests of different cities.

HiEverywhere — Connect with a local who has volunteered to be a tour guide.

Networking

Dopplr

Dopplr

Dopplr — Share information about where and when you’ll be traveling with your network so that you can tell when you’ll be in the same places as your friends.

myTripBook — Write about your adventures and share them with your Facebook friends.

TripIt — Network with your traveling friends and update your plans just by forwarding your confirmation emails to the site.

Matador — Read about the exciting adventures of other travelers, network with them and find trips you’d like to take as well.

Jauntlet — Create a travel plan that you can add to your blog, social networking profiles, and other places where you can share your adventures with your friends.

GeoJoey — Vote on the experiences you’ve had while traveling and see what trips are the most highly ranked.

Diddit — Share lists of your adventures and compare them with your friends.

Here or There — Read and write travel blogs to share your experiences.

Extravigator — Discuss luxury travel options and get the inside scoop.

Sosauce — Recreate your travel memories with photo tools.

TripHub — Pull together all your information about your travel plans in one place so you can easily share it.

Where I’ve Been — Map out the places you’ve visited on your Facebook page.

TwisitorCenter — Find visitor information for different cities through Twitter.

TravelBlog — Post a travel blog for free and discuss your adventures with other travelers.

Trips — Use this Facebook application to plan trips with friends as well as share your travel information with your friends.

Driftr — Plan and record your trips so that you can easily share them with friends and family.

TripSay — Tell your friends where to go.

Twaller — Get and give travel tips on Twitter in real time.

EverLater — Keep a record of your travels for later.

Image credit: Vlingva / iStockphoto

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