The inside story: the best travel Web sites

Planning made easy

Information please

For authoritative sightseeing advice, it’s always wise to go to the source. Locate official tourism board Web sites by scrolling through Get a different spin on your destination by emailing an insider through or chatting online with in-the-know locals at

Fête accompli

If you’re more interested in attending unusual events than eyeballing stationary monuments, take a peek at It boasts a massive database of festivals, spectacles and celebrations ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. (Anyone for a Mexican Radish Fiesta or India’s annual Camel Fair?) Search by specifics or browse through themed categories like Kids & Family, Festivals, Arts, Sports and “Bizarre.”

Money matters

Trip expenses mount quickly, so it’s good to know how to get cash fast. Users of the worldwide PLUS or Cirrus networks can find bank machines through and Both give addresses and maps by city or intersection. You can even search for drive-throughs and 24-hour access. To discover how many dinars or dirhams you’ll get for a dollar, pay a visit to, which provides handy printable cheat sheets.

Fair weather friends

Don’t let foul weather dampen your plans. Type in your destination and vacation dates at for the scoop on temperatures and precipitation, based on historical averages. Those hoping to make hay while the sun shines ? or who want to make the most of the nightlife ? can also check It calculates the number of daylight hours you can expect.

Part 1: Planes, trains and automobiles Part 2: Planning made easy Part 3: Eat, sleep and stay healthy Part 4: Let’s talk

From the February/March 2005 issue.

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