Online Travel Planning Resources

Online Travel Planning Resources

by Kevin Patterson

Vacations are awesome. You get on a plane and step into a different world. But it's easy to forget how much planning and organization goes into traveling. If you're like us, you just want to get to the beach. To help you do that, we're going to share some of the tools and resources we use for inspiration, planning and sharing.

1. TripCase

This handy travel app helps you keep track of your flight and hotel information in a pleasing and intuitive interface. Simply forward your airline and hotel confirmation emails to a TripCase email address to populate your trip information. If you forget to do that or something changes on the fly (which never happens, of course), you can enter your new confirmation numbers. In the app, you can check the weather and view maps for each leg of your trip. Plus, you receive real time flight updates and get phone numbers for airlines and hoteliers. If you're traveling with a group, you can email friends and family with updates and track multiple trips.

2. Trippy

Trippy is a community of travel enthusiasts from all over the world that post and answer questions, as well as share travel pictures and experiences. This community takes itself seriously in a fun way. To get an account, you have to submit your information and then wait for an invitation, but it's totally worth the effort. This process means that just about every conversation on Trippy offers really helpful tips and information. It's a great place to discover ideas for a vacation that's perfect for you.

3. SpeechTrans

Break down language barriers with this popular translation app. It's received quite a bit of notoriety from the likes of NBC, Wired and USA Today. In addition to translating text messages and speech, SpeechTrans will translate signs. All you have to do is take a picture and highlight the words you want translated. This feature alone can help you feel more grounded and oriented in the destination.

4. Seat Guru

Are you trying to pick a seat on a plane, but you aren't familiar with the layout of a 757-200? Head over to Seat Guru. Not only can you search the seating arrangements for all sorts of aircraft, the seats with particular advantages or disadvantages are noted. You can browse by airline, or you can search for your particular flight to see the type of plane you'll be flying on.

5. Tripfilms

Browse a wealth of travel videos highlighting destinations all over the world. Tripfilms is cool for two reasons. First, it hosts a community of travelers, posting their videos and sharing experiences. So you can easily show off your amazing trip to friends and family. And once you join that community, Tripfilms even rewards you with points (redeemable for things like Amazon gift cards) for uploading your own travel videos. Secondly, Tripfilms features tons of more produced videos from individuals, businesses and the Tripfilm staff, so you get more polished footage of all the beautiful locales. Seeing these places through other people's eyes can help you decide which destination will look best through yours.

6. Independent Traveler - Packing in the Advice

The Independent Traveler has done a superb job of centralizing a lot of packing advice into one place. Are you an overpacker? There's an article for packing light. Are you going on your first trip? There's a checklist and a Packing 101 guide. Are you unsure what kind of packer you are? There's a quiz to help you find out. All this advice plus an interactive packing list will help you get to the beach with everything you need.

7. Conde Nast Traveler - Tech Guide and Reader's Choice

Need help assembling your perfect arsenal of travel tech? This section of the Conde Nast Traveler website is a very helpful guide. They group their reviews and reports into sections, including great devices for families, wanderers and adventurers. Once you're teched up, check out Conde Nast's annual Reader Choice Awards for ideas on places to go. Readers vote on their favorite destinations, creating a short list of cool places to visit. It's a great place to see what other people are raving about and get some ideas for your next vacation.

8. National Geographic Travel

Take National Geographic's beautiful imagery and excellent reporting and focus it on travel. You'll be dreaming of your next two or three vacations to Mexico and the Caribbean. A whole section called Trip Ideas is dedicated to sharing different kinds of travel experiences, from beaches to family vacations and more. Read blog posts and destination guides; browse gorgeous pictures; get advice from travelers: these ideas and insights will get your vacation gears turning.

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