Robinson Crusoe had Friday. Lewis and Clark had Sacagawea. You probably don't have your own personal Web guide, so we've spent countless hours online to come up with a listing of the best online destinations.
BEST OF THE WEB
www.smarterliving.com The name is rather unfortunate, as it doesn't scream travel. But for those who find it, the site is a mecca for its discounts. Its weekly updates are the big draw: Customize your own travel newsletter by tracking discount departures from any number of cities across the country.
www.concierge.com E-mail questions to a panel of nine industry experts and tap into Condé Nast Traveler reviews of 15,000 restaurants and features like "the sexiest hotel pools in America." A lively "There in Spirit" column celebrates the nation's best 24-hour eateries and corner bars, like Pete & Shorty's in Clarksville, Iowa, with its combination bar and all-night breakfast counter.
www.onetravel.com Passenger rights expert Terry Trippler just updated his excellent Rules of the Air page. Choose an airline and any number of snafus, such as lost baggage and denied boarding, to find out the carrier's policy and your rights.
www.fairair.com If this site does what it promises when it launches later this year, it will be a boon for travelers: a marketplace for the buying, selling, or exchanging of airline tickets that have already been issued by the carriers.
www.rideboard.com Want to avoid the open skies altogether? Find road-trip buddies here, free (the site emphasizes the obvious prudence of meeting your prospective companion in a public place first). Even if you opt out of a ride, there are handy motel and diner reviews and road-trip tunes for sale.
www.about.com Smart details on topics from romantic getaways and spas to treasure hunts. Sign up for their weekly newsletters. You might learn how to park an RV or find a kid-friendly dude ranch.
www.avantgo.com For handheld PC toters, downloadable dining guides, driving directions, real-time flight-tracking, and even currency conversion.
www.opentable.com Make a reservation at any of 1,100 restaurants in 22 cities, including Denver and Dallas. The frequent-diner plan is the big plus: Earn points for registering and booking reservations; redeem them for free food.
www.bbonline.com A guide to over 2,750 inns throughout the United States and the Caribbean.
www.hiayh.org Tap into the network of over 4,500 youth hostels here and abroad.
www.thebathroomdiaries.com The most practical of all practical sites, literally where in the world to go. The bathroom reviews include categories like aesthetically special touches (heart-shaped mirrors) and celebrity sightings. One Sydney visitor was pleased to run into an Australian pop band. A bit thin on listings, but the bathroom essays are priceless.
www.unclaimedbaggage.com . Lost your luggage? Search this online emporium for missing bags. Even if you can't find your stuff, you might still buy someone else's lost loot. Great annual ski equipment and jewelry sales, too.