Laurie McAndish King’s article about quirky and helpful websites for travelers originally appeared in in April:

Travel fares are temptingly low these days, but all travel is not equal. Here are some websites to help you find the best seats and meals, avoid dangerous destinations, stay healthy, comply with travel regulations, get through airport lines more quickly, purchase travel insurance, and more.

  • is the “world’s first website about nothing but airline food,” which is currently displaying “more than 17,000 photos from more than 520 different airlines. Monthly, we receive 300 new meal pictures.” There are also photos of what the airline crew eats, food from airline lounges, and behind-the-scenes photos from airline caterers.

  • The Center for Disease Control helps ensure that you get the right shots (no, not photos) before you travel, by providing “health information for travel to over 200 international destinations,” including info about official travel notices, safe food and water, insects, vaccinations, tips on staying healthy while traveling, how to find health care while you’re abroad, illnesses that may not be apparent until after you return, and how to put together a travelers’ health kit.

  • The XE Universal Currency Converter, the “world’s most popular currency tool, lets you to perform currency and foreign exchange rate calculations, using live, up-to-the-minute mid-market currency rates” for figuring out how much money you have in various foreign currencies, including many you probably never knew existed.

  • Robert Young Pelton’s Come Back Alive, “the place where professionals, adventurers, travelers & those who work & travel in high-risk areas can keep abreast of the latest info & safety tips” includes the DangerFinder guide to the world’s most dangerous places. (You decide what to do with the information.)

  • Straight Talk on Money audio discusses ways to decrease your chances of geting bumped from a flight, and what your rights are as a bumpee. “Despite what they want you to think, airlines don’t have you completely under their thumb! Get the straight scoop on your rights as an air passenger, including exactly when an airline does and doesn’t have to compensate you, the best way to almost guarantee you won’t get bumped from an overbooked flight, and more!”

  • Flat Seats is “the world’s information guide to airline ‘lie-flat’ seats,” and includes reviews, ranking, test results, photos, and more. There’s also a page suggesting relationships between six sleep positions and personality types, as well as the possible effect of various sleep positions on health. (The “freefall position was good for digestion, while the starfish and soldier positions were more likely to lead to snoring and a bad night’s sleep.”)

  • promises to speed travelers through airport security in exchange for your providing biographical information and fingerprints, and having your iris scanned for ID purposes. “As a Clear member, you can bypass the long lines at airport security and get to your gate quickly — usually in about five minutes.” Membership is $199/year, or less if you subscribe for several years at a time. Assuming you don’t mind giving up your right to privacy, which I’m pretty sure people fought and died for at some time in the history of this great country.

  • is “the Internet’s foremost travel insurance comparison site. With our diverse selection of more than 100 travel insurance plans from 19 leading companies, no other site matches our product depth, comparison features, or customer service. At, you can compare each policy and get the information you need to purchase travel insurance with confidence.”

  • Luggage Concierge lets you travel hands-free, by taking your luggage to and from your travel destination for you. “Skip the long lines at airport check in and arrival. Luggage Concierge service is convenient, reliable, safe and secure. Your luggage will be picked up at your home or point of origin, delivered to your travel destination, and returned to your point of origin. Luggage Concierge insures every piece of luggage, and pick-up and delivery options are tailored to your specific needs.”

  • Minimus “for all your travel size item needs” offers travel-sized packages of food, snacks, condiments, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, laundry supplies, and interesting specialty items like the “bug button” (pin-on insect repellant that lasts up to 60 hours), no-rinse shampoo, “pre-contact” poison ivy protection, a military field kit, hand warmer packets, and (don’t leave home without it) got2b Spiked Up hair gel. On sale when I checked: Smuckers Diet Concord Grape Spread and Tabasco Brand Pepper Sauce, Green.

  • PopPlanet from the National Library of the Environment is wholly managed by the National Council for Science and the Environment. The site is for learning, information sharing, and communication about international population, health, and environmental issues.

  • is “the ultimate source for airplane seating, in-flight amenities, and airline information.” You simply click on an airline and the type of aircraft you’re interested in, it shows a diagram of the aircraft with descriptions and ratings of the seats.

    You can find out where the bulkhead, galley, lavatories, and exit rows are; which seats don’t recline or have reduced leg room; where the in-seat power port locations are, etc. Also includes a guide to boarding procedures by airline, information about “green” airlines, and more.

  • lists tips — funny, practical, or both — for, you guessed it, sleeping in airports: what to pack and how to deal with extremes in temperature, overzealous security guards, malodorous emanations, uncomfortable chairs, and more.

    Also includes airport reviews, photos of people sleeping in airports, list of best & worst airports to sleep in, etc. My favorite suggestion was to pack a Twister game (small, lightweight, good for making friends or for whiling away long hours).

  • Triporati “We help you discover great trips — for your unique travel interests” intends to “inspire, motivate, and entertain you with stories about the world that are thoughtful, endearing, informative, hair-raising, or just plain off the wall.” You can search by destination, trip type (adventure, ecotravel, family), activity (backpacking, safari, mountain biking), interests (theme parks, zoos, kids’ museums) and more.

  • The Transportation Security Administration website has information on how to get through the line faster, rules for liquid carry-ons, acceptable IDs, prohibited items, traveling with fod or gifts, travelers with disabilities and medical conditiosn, traveling with children, civil rights complaints, FAA flight delay information, and the Traveler Redress Inquiry program.

  • TV provides “unbiased, professional videos to help you choose the right hotel” as well as access to online booking.

  • World Travel Watch has been “reporting on worldwide safety issues for travelers since 1985.”

I’d love to hear your tips for better, safer, healthier, more convenient travel; please post a comment if you have tips to share.


5 Comments so far

  1. Kristin on August 15, 2009 3:13 pm

    The last time was updated was on October 2007? How accurate is that meal information? What’s the use?

  2. Kristin on August 15, 2009 3:19 pm

    Also, “Clear” went out of business last month…July 2009.

  3. Flyaway Cafe’s Travel Favorites 8-16-09 : Fly Away Cafe - Travel Tips and Destination Suggestions from a Flight Attendant on August 17, 2009 3:42 am

    […] Travel Writers News lists the best online travel resources.  I was aware of most of these, but picked up a few that I’ve now added to my list.  You’ll find this very helpful. […]

  4. Laurie on August 19, 2009 5:56 pm

    Thanks for noting this, Kristin. I didn’t see any mold in the photos, so didn’t realize they were so old…

  5. Laurie McAndish King’s “Best Online Travel Resources” on December 1, 2016 6:39 am

    […] [Many thanks to Laurie McAndish King who’s letting us re-post her excellent sources of information about “Best Online Travel Resources.”  This originally ran in both and on Laurie’s own terrific website, Travel Writers News.] […]

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