There seems to be millions of vacation planning websites out there on the Internet. Many are helpful, but many are a waste of time. Some of the best web sites do not just offer travel and hotel accommodations and reviews, but give you tips, shortcuts, and tricks to enjoying your vacation. Some vacation sites are old standards that do their job well, while others offer delightful little surprises in the way of little known attractions, and out of the way places to stay.
Vacation Planning Websites: Try Local
With the overwhelming number of choices out there, many travelers neglect the best and most obvious vacation planning websites. These are found usually by accessing the local Visitors and Convention Bureau sites, Chamber of Commerce sites or have been set up as stand-alone sites through State offices in every state.
One of the best examples of what a vacation planning site should be for a state can be found at Visit Montana.com. Even if has never occurred to you to take a trip to that particular state, one look at the gorgeous slideshows, the comprehensive things to do categories, and the visitor services guide, will have you yearning to get on the road. This is one example of the many websites particular to the place that is so well done.
Sites like these are going to have the best and most up to date information on local and regional festivals, concerts, and other cultural events.
Family Fun: Vacation Planning for the 16 Hour Car Trip
Vacations are often about planning trips and get a ways with the family. Everyone wants to have fun, but how to satisfy everyone's particular need for amusement and relaxation is often the most difficult part of the process. An annual vacation planning quandary is just how to keep the kids on board and parents from issuing futile death-threat ultimatums.
Independent Traveler.com is a necessary stop for those planning trips with young children, teens, and grandchildren. Whether one is planning to do a road trip or take a take a plane to Europe, this site is chocked full of articles and resources.
From what to do to recession-proof traveling this site is a gold mine of information and practical advice. The site has a neat feature with traveler-written Trip Reports that range from a few succinct sentences to full-blown first person accounts.
It can also help you find such unique things as a youth spa and has a solid advice in its Budget Travel Center.
To Europe and Back: Planning Websites with Continental Flair
For the novice traveler or seasoned pro, there is something comfortable to be found in the tried and true websites, Frommers.com and Fodors.com. These people know travel and they know Europe, Asia, and the Middle East better than anyone does in the business. The best of both of their popular line of guidebooks are on their individual web sites.
The Frommers site is a trifle more stiff in layout and design. Their writing, directions, descriptions, and site maps are better suited to the older, more experienced traveler. They do, however, offer excellent advice on new regulatory rule changes in travel as well as trip alerts and safety information.
The Fodors site is splashier in design and has features like the Top 10 Travel Destinations done in a state-by-state and country-by-country format. Travelers share information through their open forums and responses and answers are readily available to questions such as, what to do if I have only six hours in Venice. Their restaurant reviews from dirt-cheap to diamond first-class are simply great and give you a direct answer to where to go and what to eat.
Trip Advisor.com: Vacation Planning Boon or Bust
Trip Advisor.com has receieved some mixed reviews. While some find it too general, others swear by it. It is a very clearly designed web site and presents information in a no-fuss, no frills way. It does have a great page for travel ideas when one calls upon it to Inspire Me, as well as access to free travel guides. Its links to travel deals, restaurant, and lodging are fine, if not themselves totally inspired. This site would probably suit the type of person who wants the details of a travel destination fast and without superlatives and adjectives.
Choose your vacation planning website with as much care as your destination. To find the one that best suits you, try out three or four and then pick the one with the best features suited to your personality as well as your vacation of choice.