Macworld's Summer Travel Guide

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Be your own travel agent

Quit dreaming of the beach and start booking your flight! These sites and widgets will help turn your dream getaway into reality.

Key to the city

The next time you’re somewhere new (within the United States), visit Ask City, a search site from Ask.com. Ask City culls information from well-known review and reservation Web sites such as Citysearch, Fandango, OpenTable, TicketWeb, and Yelp. You can find places that the locals prefer and then link those destinations to create a custom itinerary. You can also get walking or driving directions, make restaurant reservations online, and even see if there are events happening along your route. Better still, Ask City has drawing tools, so you can personalize your maps and add notes. With all of these tools, you’re bound to feel like a local (free; Ask City ). —Eric Suesz

Keep it together

With your to-do list on the fridge, flight reservations in your BlackBerry, and printed maps stashed in a briefcase, just getting everything together for a trip can be a challenge. The next time you’re planning a getaway, use 37signals’ Backpack to keep all your disparate information in one place—and accessible from any computer with Internet access. Create a new page for your trip, and use it as a notepad where you can store all your travel information, build to-do lists with reminders, and link to the Web sites of your hotel and local attractions. You can even add items to your page via e-mail. You can also let travel companions edit the site to help with planning tasks (free; 37signals ). —Mathew Honan

Track it

Forget to write down your parents’ flight info? FlyteComm’s Flight Tracker widget (included with OS X 10.4) lets you view all flights between two airports, so you don’t have to remember flight numbers or airlines to find a flight’s arrival time (free; FlyteComm ). —Mathew Honan

The road less traveled

When you go off the tourist track, getting up-to-date, accurate advice can be as hard as finding a cheap hotel room in Manhattan. When I needed a reputable travel agent in Vietnam and budget accommodations on an out-of-the-way Central American beach, I turned to Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree, a bulletin board where globe-trotting travelers post questions, answers, trip reports, and all manner of advice. Geared toward the international traveler, Thorn Tree is the world’s best source for real-world travel information (free; Lonely Planet ). —Mathew Honan

The global guidebook

You’ve probably heard of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia anyone can edit. Now, in a similar vein, there’s Wikitravel, a collaborative online travel guide built entirely by its users. (I’ve added information on San Francisco restaurants and hotels in my neighborhood.) It’s best for major cities and tourist hot spots like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon, but with 14,000 entries and counting, Wikitravel is fast becoming the world’s most comprehensive guidebook. Most entries list hotels, restaurants, and attractions; the more comprehensive listings include information on culture, demographics, and history. And since the site is completely user-driven, you can finally go from guidebook reader to guidebook author (free; Wikitravel ). —Mathew Honan

One-stop shopping

BargainTravel.com’s AirCompare widget lets you start your flight search right from OS X’s Dashboard. The site searches three airfare sites of your choosing to find the best deal (free; BargainTravel ). —Mathew Honan

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