No one should leave on any international trip until they consult these eight online tools:
www.Xe.com: To avoid getting ripped off by shady currency changers right when you cross boarders, make sure you know what the exchange rates are before you go, using this excellent website.
www.WikiCostofLiving.org: The key to traveling on a budget is choosing where to travel. Costs of everyday things like lodging vary greatly from country to country and it is very important to know what you are getting yourself into before you go. This website, in the form of a wiki, so anyone can edit it, is constantly being updated by travelers around the globe to give fellow travelers the most complete and best updated cost of travel index in the world.
www.Virtualtourist.com: This website is full of reviews and user-recommended top 10 lists for just about every location on the planet, an indispensible tool for any traveler.
Google maps: Any traveler loves maps. And Google maps are the easiest and clearest maps to use on the internet.
Airport Shuttles: Use this directory to find a ride to any airport in the US, if you are traveling longer than a week or so and don’t want to pay to park your car at the airport.
www.Wikitravel.org: This user-updated wiki is truly a guidebook alternative, with up to date info on everything from things to do in a given location to lodging and transportation options.
www.Hostelbookers.com: Choose from the widest selection of hostels available on the net and make reservations for hostels online without any extra fees, to ensure you have a bed when you get to your destination. It is also an excellent tool to use to see how much lodging will cost in a given country when you are still in the research phase.
www.Couchsurfing.com: The site that every traveler wishes they would have thought of, what better than to travel the world and stay in local homes for free? With this site you can make the contacts to do just that.
www.travelblog.org: Where else can you get more unbiased, user-generated travel recommendations from real travelers who have been there before? This site full of personal travel blogs should be firmly etched into any traveler’s trip preparation.
With these eight online tools your next trip just made it to the big leagues!
Domenick Buonamici is an editor for WikiCostofLiving.org and is on the life travel plan.