Online Vacation Planning Resources

Category: Travel

It's vacation time, and you're planning to travel. Where can you find information on where to go, how to get there, and what to see? Here are some great online travel and tourism resources to help you plan your trip...

Travel And Tourism Websites

If you're traveling the United States by car, an American Automobile Association (AAA) membership is a good idea. Along with expert travel planning services, you get emergency roadside assistance, first-class auto insurance, discounts on food, shopping, and other tourist attractions, plus access to the AAA network of certified auto repair shops. I can remember being about 12 years old, flipping through each page of the AAA Trip-Tik booklet as my family drove across the country.

The AAA Fuel Cost Calculator can help you budget enough gas money to get to your destination and back. Enter your starting city and destination; the make, model, and year of your car; and AAA gives you an estimated fuel cost based on regional gas prices.
Vacation Planning

Tourism information is plentiful online. Search for "tourism" and any locality name to find government tourism information sites from the federal to local levels. If you aren't sure where you want to go, try the website. You can browse summaries of free tourism brochures by State and order paper copies of brochures that interest you.

The U.S. National Parks Service is a comprehensive guide to the many national parks and wilderness areas in this country. Here you can find opening dates for the Grand Canyon tours; maps of parks showing campsites and points of interest; reports of hiking and fishing conditions; and much more. State park systems have similar websites, too.

Traveling Abroad

The Tourism Offices Worldwide Directory is a guide to government tourism offices, convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, and similar organizations. It contains over 1,400 entries as of this writing.

Before traveling abroad, you may want to check the U.S. State Department's International Travel Information site. It covers every country on Earth, providing information such as the location of the U. S. embassy and consular office; whether you need a visa; local crime and security information; health and medical conditions; and travel advisories.

The International Ecotourism Society can help you tread lightly on Mother Earth and help local people in developing nations. The society's trip planning guide and ecotourism packages are great resources for the environmentally and socially conscious.

If you fancy an ocean cruise, can help you choose a cruise line and package, then book your cruise at a discounted price. It even has "bare boat" deals in which you can rent a yacht or book rough passage on an ocean freighter.

Airlines partner with local hotels, car rental agencies, restaurants, and attractions to offer vacation packages that can save you 30 per cent or more. So do independent travel sites such as,, and others. is your guide to over 30,000 youth hostels worldwide. Hostels offer cheap private rooms and even cheaper dormitory accommodations for the budget conscious. Shared showers, laundry, and kitchen facilities are common in hostels. Staying at a hostel is a low-cost way to rub elbows with other travelers.

Do you have a favorite online travel resource? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Online Vacation Planning Resources"

Posted by:

21 Dec 2011

When I was traveling on business, I frequently referred to the CIA Factbook for specific country information and convenient regional maps. See

Posted by:

28 Feb 2012

I am planning a trip to Europe, Istanbul, and Bali. The trip will span a few months and I will be taking my laptop with me. I need internet access to my stock broker, preferably through a wi-fi connection. Using a phone modem (I have, one believe it or not, but not used for 10 years) is not out of the question. What do I need to make sure I can do this on a daily or every other day basis? BTW, I can handle the power issue by buying a kit at AAA.

I have alternative strategies: put my son in charge (OMG!!); put all investments in cash and just go; pray; just go with laptop and take my chances. None are great choices.

Many thanks.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Online Vacation Planning Resources (Posted: 19 May 2011)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved