TraveLinks (recommended sites)
Own only what you can carry with you: know language, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.
The Web site links are listed alphabetically, and grouped very loosely into five categories: those related to Destination, Transportation, Accommodation, and Minimization, plus miscellaneous Information.
Things change. Please take a moment to let me know if you find broken links on this page, Web sites that are no longer as I have described them, or anything else that needs fixing.
Want to know what the weather will be like where you're going? AccuWeather provides detailed current information, plus short term forecasts for places all over the world, in its easily navigable Web site. Another way to determine expected weather conditions (particularly for long-range planning purposes) is to view historical data. World Climate publishes such information for tens of thousands of cities worldwide, garnered from a variety of sources.
The U.S. Government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains a superb Web site, filled with health information related to international travel. This is the place to discover what you need before you go. The CDC's Yellow Book (free to read online) is particularly valuable in this regard.
Wonder what your money is worth in some other currency? A great place to find out is OANDA's wonderful Currency Converter. They also offer an excellent (and free) currency converter app for smart phones, and will even create a customized, wallet-sized "cheat sheet" for you to print (click on the "print" link at the top of the converter) and take along!
Various foreign affairs offices provide useful (and important) information about travel in other countries, including but not limited to foreign entry requirements (passports, visas, inoculations, etc.) and travel warnings (political unrest, lawlessness, violence, natural disasters, epidemics, aircraft safety, etc.). I particularly like the detailed and timely reports of the U.K.'s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, but there are many other sources, including Consular Affairs for Canadians and the State Department for Americans. It can be useful to compare their respective opinions (which do not always agree).
To get a relative sense of how long your money might last in various parts of the world, check the Foreign Per Diem Rates listed by the U.S. State Department for a wide variety of international locations, and compare with cities that you know.
Learning a bit (or a lot!) of the language(s) in use at your destination(s) is one of the best things you can do do improve your relationship with the local citizenry. The Language "Quick Fix" section of the BBC's site (no longer updated, but still relevant) will help you do just that, by providing essential phrases, including MP3 pronunciation clips, for some three dozen languages. Want to delve even deeper into pronunciation? Try Forvo and fonetiks.org. Or the Omniglot site, which offer lists of useful phrases translated into well over a hundred languages (many phrases can be clicked to hear them pronounced). Finally, if you're travelling really far afield, the dedicated Mark Rosenfelder has compiled translations of the numbers 1–10 in an astonishing 5000+ languages!
But don't fret too much about language skills. When you experience a language for the first time, grammar information is unlikely to be of much help. Learn a few basic travel phrases: "Hello", "Excuse me", "Thank you", "Yes", "No", "Where is the toilet?", "Where is …?", "How much does that cost?", "This food is delicious!", and "Do you speak English?". That, plus lots of gesturing, and you'll be fine.
Wikipedia provides a comprehensive, country-by-country listing of (electrical) mains power around the world, with associated voltage levels and photos of the necessary types of plugs. It also offers detailed descriptions of the AC power plugs and sockets themselves. And World Power Plugs offers much (but not all) of this information in a more user-friendly format.
Wondering how to pronounce someone's name correctly? Pronounce Names offers a large collection of given and surnames from many different places, complete with phonetic and audio pronunciation assistance.
Produced by Time Out, "one of the planet's leading publishers of entertainment listings and city guides", this au courant site suggests where to go and what to do in an impressive selection of worldwide cities.
The nearest government tourist office, visitor's bureau, or the like is generally an area's best source of local information; for tourists, it should be the first stop when you arrive at a new place. The World Tourism Directory has plenty of listings of such non-commercial services.
If you're roaming the world with a laptop, searching for a network connection, the Wi-Fi-Freespot Directory might be just the thing you need: countless wireless hotspots, free and otherwise, around the globe (though its user-driven database means its coverage is somewhat sporadic). And Anil Polat's WiFox app (for iOS and Android) provides a user-driven directory of passwords to airport WiFi networks, both public and private, updated in real time.
Wikitravel, a community-edited worldwide travel guide, is rapidly becoming an excellent source of information on destinations around (and off!) the globe, with plenty of additional travel-related topics — including a growing collection of phrasebooks — as well.
The World Clock yields a useful (and configurable) display of the current time in many world locations.
An extensive online compendium of useful information about "every country in the world" is published by Columbus Travel Media, a U.K. publishing firm. Their World Travel Guide provides solid basic facts about most destinations on the planet.
Using a truly phenomenal database of rail stations, Deutsche Bahn's TravelService site will provide you with schedules for rail (and many road & sea) connections all over Europe. In their home territory (Germany) alone, they cover almost 150,000 regional stations!
The European Railway Server links to timetables, home pages, and "aficionado" sites for the various European railways. Lots of other Euro-rail-related resources can be found here as well.
If you're searching for an e-community of people who like to talk about air travel, look no further than FlyerTalk, which has been around since 1998. Lots of useful travel ideas (on a surprising variety of topics) await your discovery here.
When you come to the realization that flying is not the ideal course for leisure travel, you should be delighted to discover the work of Mark Smith, The Man in Seat Sixty-One. His site is slightly U.K.-centric, but still manages to quite thoroughly cover everything having to do with rail (and some ferry!) travel worldwide. Don't miss this (other) labour of love!
If you're wondering where you'll be sitting on an upcoming flight, take a look at Matthew Daimler's amazing SeatGuru site. It offers detailed diagrams of a staggering number of commercial aircraft, complete with indications of the best seats, the amount of legroom, and the availability of power ports for computers. A more recent competitor, SeatExpert, offers a similar service, but I prefer the original.
The official site of Hostelling International provides contact and other information for the many hostels that make up their worldwide network. These are the "official" hostels that require a membership to use.
When it comes to independent hostels, Hostelz claims to list "every hostel in the world". Unlikely, but it's certainly a convenient way to find (and compare booking prices for) this type of accommodation.
Expedia's massive Hotels.com site, with its staggering number of worldwide accommodation listings, offers a price-matching guarantee, and a convenient search form to help locate what you're looking for.
If your tastes run more to Bed & Breakfast places than hotels, you'll want to explore InnSite, an excellent resource for all things B&B.
One Bag, One World, originally a blog by Brad Isbell (who claimed to have been "inspired" by this site), then taken over by Frank Brown, offers up assorted "tips & techniques for light travelers". Its authors and I don't agree on everything, so you'll certainly find some diversity of opinion there; still, most OneBag.com fans will discover topics of interest.
The information resource that most closely conforms to the philosophy espoused here is Lani Teshima's Travelite FAQ. Following a five-year (2003–2008) hiatus, Lani — who doesn't travel much anymore — reconstituted her site as a blog, though seems to have abandoned it again in 2013. Nonetheless, plenty of useful information and opinion, particularly from a female perspective, can still be found there.
Although I continue to believe that the above two blogs include information that may be of interest to OneBag.com readers, I am saddened to note that both have devolved into largely product announcement streams, with far too much ill-considered product promotion for my tastes (though some may find them of value for this reason alone). But it's obvious that much of this information is simply regurgitated marketing claims, unverified by experienced travellers under real-world travel conditions.
The literate Eytan Levy authors the informative (and entertaining) Snarky Nomad site, addressing a constituency that notably overlaps that of OneBag.com (though Eytan is more a hostel-and-backpack kind of guy). As always, reasonable people disagree on some things, but you will almost certainly find useful ideas there, from someone whose bona fides include plenty of international travelling.
The venerable Arthur Frommer has always been an outspoken producer of useful travel guides, starting with his justly famous "Europe on USD$5 a Day". Now he offers a very worthwhile travel site, with much to be learned from one of the most experienced authors in the business. And it's updated daily, catering to the bargain hunter.
Kaaryn Hendrickson spent a lot of research time (including a study of these pages) prior to her traditional three-month student trek of Europe; she shares those preparations, along with much that she learned along the way, with visitors to her excellent Backpack Europe on a Budget site.
Betty Winsett, a former professional photographer, offers a collection of informative travel photography ideas at Betty's Travel Kiosk. And although the site is apparently no longer being maintained, there's a good collection of travel links, and even her own packing list suggestions.
John Gregory has written a complete (25 chapters, 120 illustrations) book on How to See the World on USD$25 a Day or Less and published it on the Internet. An impressive feat; be sure to take a look.
Marc Brosius maintains a personal travel site at Perpetual Travel, with a variety of information, notably his Round-the-World Travel Guide. Some details of the latter have become a bit dated, but it is still a very worthwhile read.
And you think my site has a lot to read! Randy's Travel Tips are the product of Randy Johnson's considerable (five+ years) third world travel experience. There are four sections: Transportation, Shopping & Bargaining, Safety & Security, and What to Take. For inside information on riding a bus in Syria, or haggling in a Pakistani market, this is the place to go. Alas, Randy has discontinued this most helpful site, but an archived (2013) version of it can still be accessed via the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.
Since 1996 (the same year that OneBag.com started!), the Lonely Planet folks have hosted an outstanding bulletin board devoted to travel topics, called The Thorn Tree. You'll find an interesting community of well over 100,000 users there, and perhaps answers to your more obscure questions. This is one of the most useful travel sites on the Internet; just bear in mind that not all of the posters are necessarily as experienced as they try to appear!
Backpackers ("independent budget travellers", per the site's definition) will want to take a look at Giles Smith's ambitious TravelIndependent.info. He offers — in addition to his own thoughts about travelling light — lots of useful destination-specific opinions and advice. A very worthwhile visit for the round-the-world adventurer.
Most travelogue Web sites are pretty bad. Don and Linda Freedman's well-written TheTravelzine.com is a refreshing exception, and should prove worthwhile to anyone planning a European visit.