The internet can provide answers to a wealth of travel questions, from the obvious to the obscure, but you have to know where to look. The sites below are our picks for getting accurate and up-to-date answers to all manner of travel queries.
National Weather Service -
Local weather forecasts by city and state.
National Center for Infectious Diseases -
General health information for travelers and specific destinations
U.S. Customs Information for Travelers -
Travel emergencies and warnings; passports visas and services for those living abroad
Federal Aviation Administration -
Onboard safety instructions regulations and tips for more comfortable travel. The go to site for airport status and delay information.
Transportation Safety Administration -
Information on general airport security information, including carry-on restrictions, security check point and passenger screening procedures. Want to know how to get through the line faster? Check here for tips and recommendations
- Transportation Safety Agency (TSA) - The federal Transportation Security Administration’s site contains lists of prohibited and permitted luggage items, average wait times at airport security checkpoints and claim forms for luggage lost or damaged during the security screening process.
- Federal Aviation Administration – The site contains airline safety records, tips on flying with children and pets, and passenger complaint forms regarding safety, service and security issues.
- SeatGuru.com – Everything you ever wanted to know–including leg room, pitch and proximity to the loos– about the seating for 26 airlines.
- Can’t find your airline? Try SeatExpert.com, which offers info on a dozen foreign carriers not covered by Seatguru.
- VISA Global ATM Locator - The Visa site allows searches for ATMs by city or Zip code across the globe. The advanced-search feature also displays locations on maps and includes info on 24-hour and disabled-accessible ATMs.
- MasterCard ATM Locator – MasterCard’s site can locate more than 900,000 ATMs in 120 countries and includes such details as drive-through locations. Both sites offer airport-specific searches.
- XE.com – The best site for quick conversions of 21 major currencies.
- Oanda.com – Offers similar info, plus a printable currency cheat sheet.
- Bureau of U.S. Customs and Border Protection – The site publishes a “Know Before You Go” fact sheet with details about items that can and can’t be taken into the country and the rules on duty fees. Also offers info on border wait times.
- Flightarrivals.com – Check a flight’s status within a two-hour window by airline, flight number, city, airport, etc. Also offers separate displays for delayed flights and schedule changes by airport.
- Fly FAA – For a map of U.S. airports color-coded to indicate flight delays, see .
- Foreign Language Courses designed for independent study Courses in French, German, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, and Latin [COMING SOON!]
- Webflyer.com addresses the complicated subculture of frequent- flier miles, covering details on every major hotel and airline program. Frequent-flier guru Randy Petersen supplies timely articles on such topics as miles and airline bankruptcies.
- Flyertalk.com to chat with others about the world of miles
- Insideflyer.com if you’re so mile-involved you’re willing to pay the $45 annual subscription.
- Frequentflyer.com has good articles on hot topics like what to do with those Delta and Northwest miles.
HEALTH AND SAFETY:
- U.S. State Department – The site publishes consular info sheets and travel warnings on every country, with details about crime, terrorism and traffic safety.
- World Travel Watch for a more global opinion.
- Center For Disease Control – For health-related info on vaccines, health threats, etc., go to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s site at .
Protect your vacation. Compare from some of the best providers in the business for low cost travel insurance designed for your specific needs.
- Insuremytrip.com – The site compares and gives quotes for 96 travel insurance policies from 16 companies, including Access America, Travel Guard, Travel Insured and most of the other better-known firms. Easy-to-read chart lets a consumer see which policies are best for terrorism, financial default, emergency medical evacuation, etc.
- Check out Quotetravelinsurance.com , Quotewright.com, and Totaltravelinsurance.com to compare more travel insurance rates.
- Map Quest – Plug in the address or city for locations around the globe and this site will plot it on a map. It also offers driving directions for spots in the United States and a dozen Western European countries. Subscription service lets you download info onto your mobile phone.
- Freetrip.com - The site hows lodging and lets users ask for routes that avoid tolls or favor scenic roads.
- For 43 European countries, Michelin.com is a good choice for directions.
- Road Trip America
- FreeTrip.com – An easy-to-use trip and tour planner produces personalized road maps and itineraries (for the U.S. and Canada) that display the things you want to see along the way!
- Better Business Bureau – The BBB’s site can be searched by company name, phone number or Web address to find out whether a travel operator has a good or bad rating.
- Check for membership in the American Society of Travel Agents and the U.S. Tour Operators Association, two trade groups that monitor its members for good behavior.
- U.S. State Department – The site explains how to obtain, replace or change a passport. User can download applications and forms. It also details how much passports cost and how long they take to get. For visitors traveling abroad, the site contains foreign entry requirements, such as whether a visa is required.
TIME AND DATE:
- Timeanddate.com – The site contains a chart of the current time in hundreds of cities worldwide. Can be customized to show specific cities.