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T+L's Top Travel Websites of 2009

200911-a-travel-websites

Photo: John Pirman

Trip Planning

Organize Your Trip

tripit.com

Click Factor: Forward your electronic travel confirmations to this personal travel organizer, and its Itinerator will gather them into one place, create an itinerary, and add helpful extras, such as maps, weather forecasts, events listings, and other travel information. The site’s social-networking feature will alert you if there’s a chance you could bump into a friend using the service (and with similar travel plans).

T+L Tip: Most of Tripit’s features are free, but for an annual fee of $69, you can add mobile alerts about cancellations and delays, create an inner circle to share your details with friends—or your assistant—and keep track of loyalty points. There are many ways of accomplishing these things at no charge via other Web services, but you pay for the convenience of having them all in one place.

Score a Real Package Deal

dealbase.com

Click Factor: Launched in late 2008, Dealbase compiles package deals from thousands of hotels, newsletters, rewards clubs, and online travel agencies, and then pulls apart their components, pricing them à la carte to let you know how much you’re really saving.

Drawback: More deals, please! This valuable service only covers the United States, the Caribbean, and Mexico. But it’s expanding internationally before the end of the year.

Search for Activities and Experiences

Travelocity.com

Click Factor: The booking engine’s interactive Experience Finder compiles ideas for hotels, tours, activities, and events for 30 destinations (major U.S. cities, plus Bangkok, Barbados, Cancún, Hawaii, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico). The portal is intuitive and easy to use—we love the built-in almanac on the events calendar page—and is a great source of inspiration even if you don’t know where you want to go.

T+L Tip: Don’t miss the downloadable Travelocity Toolbar, which has deals, driving directions, language translations, time zones, a currency converter, and flight status reports.

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