The holiday travel season is upon us, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and others. If you’re still trying to get your travel plans together, here are some sites to help. These sites are useful all year round, not just on the holidays.
This is a site that has, just as the name suggests, pictures of meals served on airline flights. Of course, airline food has been the butt of terrible stand-up comics and the pictures show it often deserves its reputation. But the site is still fascinating and actually serves a purpose if you’re trying to do some recon on the food service on your flight. In general, the flag carriers seem to do much better than U.S.-based airlines, and first and business class tend to have better food, obviously, but you might be in luck if you fly out of a place like Paris, because food in France in serious business.
Staying with family and friends over the holidays is great, but sometimes you just want to get away. Wikitravel is a travel guide similar to Wikipedia, even down to using the MediaWiki engine. But unlike sites such as Lonely Planet, the people rule on Wikitravel. So there’s a better chance of some actually useful information in good restaurants and other attractions. The best part is that, like Wikipedia, you can edit it yourself if you discover a great (and hopefully cheap!) restaurant.
Weather Underground Road Trip Planner
Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it. But people do have to travel, rain or shine. And if you’re taking a road trip to avoid the security lines at the airport, Weather Underground’s trip planner will come in handy. Just put in your starting point and your destination, and you’ll get driving directions combined with weather forecasts for each point along your destination. Be careful if you’re driving through inclement winter weather.
This is one of the newest travel booking sites. You can book the usual flights and hotels, but the design is really simple and clean. You can even see which flights have Wi-Fi, which geeks cannot live without. Plus, their mascot is a chipmunk. It’s too cute not to book your next flight.
You’ve probably heard about this site if you pay any attention at all to travel, but since it’s so useful, it bears repeating because it’s so useful. The site includes detailed diagrams of the seating layouts on every plane for every major airline, and can help find seats with the best legroom, power ports for your laptop, emergency exits, and so on. But they can’t help you if you end up next to a screaming baby. But at least you avoided the seats that don’t reply or are near the lavatory.
Some of us can’t leave our furry or feathered friends at home when we go on vacation. PetsWelcome is a handy website that lets users find lodgings along their route that accept pets. You can find hotels, campgrounds, cabins, and bed and breakfasts. You can find pet sitters and even a vet if you need one.
Let’s face it, gassing up your car is expensive the whole year round, and it appears it will only get more so in the coming years. GasBuddy.com has a directory of gas stations all over the U.S., which will let you find the cheapest gas stations if you’re taking a road trip. And road warriors who have iPhones will be glad to know that, yes, there’s an app for that too.