Monday, April 2, 2007

Geek's Travel Guide:

Online websites to help plan your trip

Today, tech savvy travelers can use online websites to make sure they are getting the best in every city, find the perfect radio station in every town, have a reserved parking space when they arrive, and even sign up for a program that lets them text message other cars using just their license plate number.

Despite all the online technology roadtrippers and vacationers could be using to improve their traveling, most are still resorting to Web 101 such as Mapquest. Mapquest is free because they are paid to give you directions that will put you in the cities or drive past particular businesses that pay them. This doesn’t mean the route is the shortest… its means it the most commercial. There is nothing wrong with this as long as it doesn’t inconvenience you. However, there are new ways and you now have choices.


Ask City

Ask City's simple interface and vividly colored "hybrid" maps make it a favorite among less than savvy internet users. That means that even if your co-pilot has very little internet experience they'll still be able to navigate the site along with you. I typed in Cheesecake factory for Sherman Oaks, CA and received several listings. The location I wanted was at the top of the list. Once I clicked on it, Ask City provided a restaurant summary with Amenities and Reviews.



The site acts as a link between the driver searching for a parking space and the parking space owner looking to rent out a space. Unfortunately, SpotScout is only available in Boston, New York, and San Francisco at this time.

Australia has Findacarpark and The United Kingdom has ParkatmyHouse

Ride Sharing

If you're into road trips but are on a tight budget, or simply dislike driving long distances alone, you can go to the websites below for a road buddy.


RidesterRidester's design makes it ideal for finding other travelers along your route. List your trip (including date, time, route, and price to tag along) on Ridester's network and wait for other travelers to contact you.


eRideShare contains more than 20,000 total ride share listings throughout the US and Canada. But what sets the site apart is the wide range of trips it covers. The site has trips listed as short as running a single errand, to people looking for daily commuter carpoolers, as well as those looking for a cross-country companion. In addition, eRideShare maintains an extensive list of tips and tools for picking the right passenger to help minimize the chances of getting stuck with an undesirable companion.

On The Road Know As You Go


I use Gas Buddy every single week to look up the lesser of multiple gas price evils.

The price of gas is so different from city to city and sometimes from city block to block. To simplify the process, GasBuddy compiles lists of gas prices around the nation making it possible for you to find the best deal.


You have two choices. Bring a ton of complilation CDs or go through the tedious task of having to scroll through the radio dial for a radio station every time you pass through a new city. Now there is a smarter choice. Radio-Locator has done all of the work for you by amassing a list of radio stations in the United States and Canada.

Travel Deal Search


Searche more than 150 websites to find some of the best travel deals the internet has to offer. The site features a comprehensive search list customizable down to the type of currency you prefer to see prices in. The best feature on SideStep is the application's ability to link everything together.

The Real Deal


If you can't decide on where you'd like to vacation, check out VirtualTourist. They offer thousands of photos, mapped destinations, and a great travel guide library that will give you a ton of information you'll need to plan the perfect escape.


RealTravel takes advantage of the internet blogging phenomenon by pairing destination searches to blogs from local residents and other travelers. From there you gain a first hand account of what that destination is truly like. After all, who better to tell you where the locals prefer to eat than a local.

Your Going, Now What?


Simply type the name of the city you're staying in into 43Places search box and hit enter. From there, a list of activities will pop up and give you plenty of places to go

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