Thanks to the our planet’s tilted axis, for a few months out of the year one hemisphere points more directly towards the sun than the other. The end result of this off-center spin is that from about the beginning of June through to the end of August, those of us who live north of the equator get to enjoy warmer temperatures, sunnier days, and an almost irresistible urge to travel. Still, before you kick off the shackles of the work-a-day world and flee laughing out into the clear blue sky, you really should take a moment and make sure everything is in order. After all, there are few things more enjoyable than the perfect vacation—and there are few things more horrific than a vacation that goes awry. Well, don’t worry; you don’t need to leave your travel plans in the hands of fate. Today’s technology makes it possible to take some of the uncertainty and danger out of your holiday. So, before you buy that plane ticket or book that hotel, check out a few of these helpful online sites.
If you haven’t quite settled on a specific destination yet, you can easily narrow down your options with a quick visit to Wikitravel. Thanks to the abundance of information available through crowdsourcing, Wikitravel travel features articles on thousands of destinations around the world, submitted by hundreds of thousands of users. There you’ll find not only data regarding specific sites and destinations, but you’ll also be treated to information having to do with local customs, native phrases, and travel and safety tips. Basically, Wikitravel allows you to visit your location virtually before you visit it actually, so you can be sure that you want to be there before you ever arrive.
Once you’ve figured out the destination, you’ll need to figure out a few other things as well, such as which flight to book, where you’re going to stay once you arrive, how much you’ll need to set aside for a rental car, etc. Now, each of these questions can be answered with exhaustive online search and a few international phone calls. Or, you can visit Kayak and just take care of it all at once. All you do is enter your destination and travel dates, and Kayak will provide you with rates for everything from complete travel packages on down to individual expenses, and will even compare rates from other travel sites, so that you can be sure that you’re really getting the best deal.
OK, so you know where you’re going, and you know what it’s going to cost you, now you just need to get packed. If you’re like many travelers, this means that you’re going to take an hour or so to carefully place various necessities into your suitcase, and then spend several days remembering important items and jamming them in wherever they happen to fit. On the other hand, a quick visit to Budget Direct’s Ultimate Packing List should save you some of that grief. This interactive site has you enter a few bits of non-personal info (gender, climate of destination, length of stay, etc.), and it then generates for you a detailed list of those items that you should be sure not to leave home without. You can then print the list, and have your reference on hand so that you only need to pack your suitcase once.
Summer is only here for three months out of the year; don’t blow yours by failing to properly plan for your vacation. The internet has made it easier than ever to gather all of the information you’ll need to make sure that your trip ends up being a good one. So, before you open that suitcase, open up your web browser and see just how wonderful your summer can be.