By Angela Ebron
If you've ever planned a trip, you've probably gone online for plane tickets, hotel reservations and reviews. But it's not just websites like Travelocity and Orbitz that offer great deals and information-there's a slew of other places to look, including cool phone apps. These resources cover all the bases.
1. Getting There
Kayak.com Compares prices at multiple travel and airline sites to help you find the cheapest plane tickets. Just click on the flight you want and you're automatically aed to the travel site or airline's website to book. (There are no fees to use Kayak; other sites sell you the ticket.)
Yapta.com Tracks airline prices daily and sends you an e-mail alert if the fare drops-even after you book (in which case you may be eligible for a credit).
SeatGuru.com Guides you to the best airplane seats. Leg room? Seat width? Most comfortable? You'll find out here.
AirfareWatchDog.com People, not computers, search for up-to-the-minute deals, including airlines' Web-only fares. That means someone's checking the nooks and crannies, like small airline websites, that other search sites may miss.
Discover 15 keyboard shortcuts you probably don't know.
Useful Phone Apps
Airline Bag Fees Before you pack, check this app, which tells you the checked bag policy for 26 domestic airlines. Now you'll know exactly what that extra, overweight or oversize bag will cost you. ($2.99; iTunes App Store)
Flight Status Find out the most up-to-date ETA on your flight. You can search by flight number, route or airport. ($4.99; iTunes App Store)
Next Flight If you've ever missed a plane, you'll appreciate this. It tracks scheduled departures from more than 4,200 airports and 1,100 airlines. Simply select a carrier and get the scoop. ($2.99; iTunes App Store)
Gate Maps Navigate your way through nearly 40 airports-a godsend when you're running late and seem to be rushing around in circles. (99¢; iTunes App Store)
2. Where to Stay
TripAdvisor.com Wondering what a particular hotel is really like? Find out from guests who've stayed there. This site has user-generated reviews of about 450,000 hotels worldwide, giving you the lowdown on the good and the bad. Thanks to its 15 million members, you get detailed, no-holdsbarred assessments that can save you from making a costly mistake.
Trekaroo.com Here you'll find reviews of kid-friendly hotels (destinations and activities, too) in every state, written by parents who've stayed there. And you can post questions on just about any family travel topic imaginable and get suggestions from other moms.
HomeAway.com If you're taking a weeklong trip, you may want to save money by renting a house or condo (having your own kitchen cuts meal expenses). Head to this site for a wide selection of rentals-more than 185,000! Looking for something near the beach? A place that allows pets? Air-conditioned only? Just choose your criteria, then search for the exact property you want.
Useful Phone Apps
Hotel Negotiator This app from Priceline lets you bid low on lastminute hotel bookings. Shake your phone to see recent bids. (Free; iTunes App Store)
Hotel Pal Not happy with your hotel? This makes it easy to switch by showing hotels in your area with current vacancies, plus rates and amenities. You can book right from the app. (Free; iTunes App Store)
Snack on 50 tasty foods under 100 calories.
3. Good Eats
Yelp.com Find out how restaurants across the country stack up, based on reviews and ratings from people who've eaten there.
OpenTable.com Looking for something cheap? Check the menus (and prices) of more than 11,000 restaurants in the U.S. and abroad, and make a reservation on the spot. Includes diners' reviews.
Restaurant.com Search by state or zip code for a list of restaurants offering $10 to $100 gift certificates at deeply discounted prices of $4 to $40. Just print out your favorites and mangia!
Useful Phone Apps
Urbanspoon A great guide to local restaurants, this app uses GPS technology to pinpoint them. Simply select a neighborhood, price range and type of food, shake your phone and the slot-machine-style dial spins to find you the perfect match. Keep shaking until you find one you like. BlackBerry users can hit the space bar; shaking only works on the Storm. (Free; iTunes App Store; Appworld.Blackberry.com/WebStore)
Kids Eat For Wish you could save a few bucks on meals? Take a look at this app. It uses GPS to tell you the nearest places where kids eat for free or at reduced prices. ($2.99; iTunes App Store; KidsEatFor.com/android)
Maximize your workout with 4 easy tips.
4. Getting Around
UrbanRail.net Don't get lost on public transit. Go here to find subway maps for hundreds of cities worldwide.
BreezeNet.com Need to rent a car? Search this site for some of the best bargains on the Web from multiple companies (Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, Hertz and more)-all in one place.
LowerGear.com Make getting from point A to B easier, whether you're on the road or sightseeing on foot: Rent a handheld or automotive GPS for as little as $19 for three days.
CityPass.com Save up to 50 percent on admissions to must-see attractions like Disneyland and the Statue of Liberty in 10 major U.S. cities.
Useful Phone Apps
GoTourIt Be your own tour guide: Buy and download GPS -guided audio tours of cities, national parks and historic sites. (Free; iTunes App Store)
AroundMe Need a pharmacy? ATM? A Starbucks? This app locates it (and tons of other stuff) and tells you how to get there. (Free; iTunes App Store)
Get fit with 20 tips and tricks.
How to Make Travel Fun For Your Kids
Put an end to constant whines of Are we there yet? and I'm bored! by downloading free audio stories from sites like StoryNory.com and TheStoryHome.com. And try these tips from WD readers, too.
"If you're taking a road trip, make the most of rest areas. Kick a soccer ball around with the kids every time you stop at one." Liz Nolen, Liverpool, TX
"My son is into sports, so I check out the college basketball or football schedules of the city we're visiting. College games are usually cheaper than professional ones." Kate Kopp, Bryn Mawr, PA
"Let kids Skype with their friends back home. It sure helped keep my daughter happy during our last trip." Jackie Lantry, Rehoboth, MA
Mom to Mom
Who knows more about planning vacations than moms? No wonder these travel sites are so useful.
TravelSavvyMom.com A network of mothers review family-friendly hotels and destinations. Their hotel 411 is especially useful: good overview of each property, lots of details and room photos.
WeJustGotBack.com This site features reviews of kid-friendly hotels and resorts, planning advice, real moms' travel tips and vacation deals. Cool extra: Insider guides to big cities give all the dish any mom could want-best tours, best family hangout, best playground and more.
Great Books from Insiders
The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2010 by Bob Sehlinger
The Travel Mom's Ultimate Book of Family Travel: Planning, Surviving, and Enjoying Your Vacation Together by Emily Kaufman
Frommer's 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up by Holly Hughes
The 10 Best of Everything Families: An Ultimate Guide for Travelers by Susan Magsamen
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.
You Might Also Like:
Boost Your Home's Value
10 Sneaky Ways Websites Get You to Spend More
Turn Clutter into Cash
9 Fights to Have with Your Husband
10 Things Your Husband's Friends Won't Tell You