If you are starting to think about your summer vacation then Google Maps is one of the best tools to help you pick, book and plan your trip. Here is a list of sites that that could prove invaluable:
Choosing Your Destination
TripTouch is a travel home page for independent travellers. What sets TripTouch apart is the sheer wealth of information available. Not only does the site provide information about various locations around the world, including weather reports and currency rates it also has a number of community features. Users can publish their vacation photos, blog about their trip and keep in contact with the people they meet.
TripTouch uses a small Google Map on each location page to illustrate the destination. The map can also be viewed in full screen.
Booking Your Accommodation
Map Channels Hotel Directory is an amazing Google Map that performs a hotel availability search of your chosen destination and then tags the search results on a Google Map. The results can be sorted by price, guest ratings or hotel name so it is very easy to quickly find the hotels within your price range.
When you click on a tagged hotel on the map an information window opens providing a picture of the hotel, the hotel's best rate and a link to more information.
If you are lucky enough to be heading off to France then CyberGites can help book your accommodation. The site is a directory of holiday rentals, bed and breakfasts, and camp farms in France.
You can search the directory by type of lodging and location. The individual results include details of each accommodation, a calendar of availability and a Google Map of where it is located.
Planning What to Do
Before leaving on your vacation it is always a good idea to find out a little about your destination and what you can do once you are there.
Nomao (dead link removed) is a community recommendation service for places and events. It lets you search a location for restaurants, museums, activites etc. The results are then shown on a Google Map. When you click on a tagged result a user review of the location appears under the map.
Trusted Places (remove) is a similar website for UK locations. Each city page gives a wealth of information about this week's top community reviewed restaurants, bars, cafes and clubs. Clicking on an individual result will generate all the user reviews of that location, a Google Map and a list of other reviewed destinations near-by.
Other Travel and Tourism Related Google Maps