Previewing Menus in the U.S.
With approximately 25,000 restaurants across eight cities, MenuPages makes it easy to plan meals by type of food, neighborhood, price, or random craving (bialys in Philly?). Caveat: Menus may be a bit stale; 3,000 to 5,000 are updated per month. And, unlike at OpenTable (see page 106), you can't book tables online.
Nabbing the Perfect Seat
Preview seat maps—including where to find the power outlets as well as that extra inch of legroom—for 73 models of aircraft on 39 different airlines. Like most airlines these days, the site is no-frills, but you'll never get stuck next to the bathroom again.
Dishing with Global Foodies
An obsessive community of feisty people around the world share secret finds. The site features interviews with experts, videos of local culinary customs (watch how to tie pancetta), and blogs such as the newly launched Tasting Notes.
Customizing an Itinerary
Plan a trip to one of more than 90 destinations from start to finish. Along with all the basics (hotel, restaurant, and entertainment ideas), get tips on what to read before you go. Caveat: They tend to overpack an average day with suggestions.
Planning a Cruise
Research almost anything about 60 different cruise lines and gather advice on everything ship-related—from buying travel insurance to using onboard slot machines. Caveat: Not a booking site, so prices usually aren't listed.
Mapping Routes on U.S. Public Transportation
Decide on your transport of choice, as well as how far you're willing to walk, and get point-to-point directions for five cities. Bonus features: You can see what the trip would cost by taxi and look at panoramic shots of what to expect when you emerge from underground. Plus, there's a new small-screen version for phones and PDA's. Caveat: There are no actual subway maps.
Driving Directions in Europe
Scan information on 4.4 million miles of road across 42 European countries. Maps feature pop-ups with descriptions and pictures of the desired destinations; directions include estimates about what you'll spend on gas; they even tip you off to speed traps. Caveat: It requires an extra step to convert from kilometers.
Creating Comprehensive Maps Worldwide
Simple, clearly designed maps and driving instructions are just the beginning. The standout stuff: live feeds of traffic conditions and street views of major U.S. cities (only slightly creepy); addresses, phone numbers, and Web sites for what you're mapping.