Itinerary Helpers – Gleaned from Frommer’s Blog Cheap Airfares within Europe There are nearly twenty low-cost airlines have created a fast and remarkably cheap way to travel between famous European capitals or resorts located rather far from each other. To see all the possibilities, go to a website called WhichBudget (www.whichbudget.com), which reveals the budget airlines that fly you to and from the places you're planning to visit. Or go to a website called dohop (www.dohop.com), on which you plug in a pair of airports and within seconds discover the cut-rate airlines that connect the two. Or you can go to a site called attitude Travel (www.attitudetravel.com), which lets travelers search for low-cost airlines in other parts of the world. The cut-rate airlines have revolutionized travel. You Know Where But Not When? So you want to go to Paris but your not sure what time of the year would be best. You can use TripStarter, on Hotwire.com (www.hotwire.com/tripstarter). Here, you plug in your home airport (or a major Airport within your area) and your destination airport, from a long list of both foreign and domestic cities, and then you get back an easy-to-read chart that graphs, month by month, where airfare prices have fallen throughout 2006 and 2007. The low-season patterns become immediately clear. Check the weather patterns in your destination (Wikipedia – usually provides average monthly temps.) and you have a reasonable basis for deciding when. Selecting an Airline What's the "best" airline in North America? The world? According to the latest release from Skytrax, those answers are, respectively, Air Canada and Singapore. Skytrax, a London-based research organization, regularly publishes the results of its ongoing airline survey results, and you're quite likely to find them helpful, at least for some trips. A New Useful Website For Overseas Airfares Mobissimo.com is becoming coming a major player among the airfare search engines, especially for international flights. Mobissimo.com is an aggregator. It reveals all the many options for reaching a particular destination, but then leaves it to you to access the winning fare, by going directly to the website of the airline or consolidator that has the lowest fare. A search engine with strong European roots (though it maintains a major office in the United States), Mobissimo is obviously best used for international itineraries. Good News about Passports Massive re-organization and expansion of staff have reduced the passport waiting time to six to eight weeks. The State Department has announced that things are back to normal in the issuance of U.S. passports. A standard application has been reduced back to six to eight weeks. And if you expedite (paying a hefty additional sum for that preference), you can obtain your passport in three weeks. Don’t Forget Greyhound “Go Anywhere Fares” As long as you purchase your ticket 7 days in advance and travel starting Monday-through-Thursday, "Go Anywhere" lets you travel one-way on Greyhound up to 300 miles for $29. It lets you go up to 500 miles for $39, up to 2,000 miles for $79, and over 2,800 miles -- anywhere in the United States--for $109. Buy the ticket 14 days in advance and that last price comes down to $99. Gee, could imagine it ever happening, but I’m getting kind of nostalgic about Greyhound. (www.greyhound.com for all the details) Finding and Booking Attractions for the Trip Viator.com (www.viator.com) lists thousands of sights, tours and attractions in important cities and islands all over the world, and then lets you book them prior to leaving home, avoiding long lines at the destination or being shut out during busy holiday periods. Includes everything from L0ondon's giant ferris wheel (the London Eye) to golf courses in Hawaii, always at the same price as you'd pay on the spot. Where to Eat on Roadtrips Roadfood (www.roadfood.com) steers you to that sumptuous diner where waitresses call you "Honey" and the apple pie tastes like grandma's. Though fast-food joints have taken over the interstates, RoadFood helps you find affordable, non-franchise restaurants with tasty, home-cooked food. About 1,000 restaurants are listed for the United States (also see www.dinercity.com for photos and addresses of classic diners Accessing English Speaking Newspapers English-language newspapers in non-English-speaking cities are often a goldmine of travel information. You haven't really exhausted all the available information for a trip to a particular foreign city until you've checked out the websites containing the articles appearing in their local, English-language newspapers. You can find ex-pat papers in the "Reading Room" of the Internet Public Library (www.ipl.org), at World- newspapers.com (a country-by-country hodgpodge selection of papers that thoughtfully includes a brief description of each), Onlinenewspapers.com (a mix of many papers, though it specifies which are in English), Newspapers.com (which doesn't have the most elegant of interfaces but does provide a brief description on some papers), and Newsdirectory.com. www.worldtourismdirectory.com a true database of official on-line tourism resources: a staggering 120,000 addresses in 330 nations, countries, and territories. It links not only to the sites of those local tourist offices but also to tourism associations, hotel chains, consulates, chambers of commerce, national parks, foreign-language media, tour operators, tourism news, sports, reservations agencies.