No time to assemble the contents for your own tool kit? You can get one ready-made. It won't have all the contents you may want, and it may not have the most user-friendly sites — or the sites that we've chosen — but it will be a basic, good starter set for you to build on.
Many such sites exist, and while we highly recommend a customized toolbox — no one knows your travel choices better than you do — visit these to see if they'll do the trick. At least for now.
Public Radio's Savvy Traveler: savvytraveler.publicradio.org/before
Public Radio's Savvy Traveler offers a ready-made toolbox with one of the most complete listings of tools on any single Web site. Virtually everything from travel guides to Web sites for U.S. embassies is here, and if you don't want to assemble your own kit, this is among the best you'll get.
National Geographic: www.nationalgeographic.com/traveler/toolbox.html
Another fine toolbox, already constructed, comes from National Geographic, with a wealth of sites ranging from general information to travel newsgroups you may want to look in on. It's well laid-out.
If it's air travel information you mostly seek, here's a good all-in-one site for flight tracking, airport delay data, weather, airport terminal maps, and international calling codes.
(Click on `Travel Toolbox')
It has an ATM locator, currency converter, travel warnings and advisories, online guidebooks, passport and visa information — and a site just for kids that is essentially for teachers, promising young ones more than it delivers without official registration.
On the list at the left-hand side, you'll find links for maps, currency, time zones, weather, country and health facts, passports and visas, phone codes and a translator.
Sealetter Cruise Magazine: www.sealetter.com/May-99/brentcol.html
This ready-made toolbox lists and describes plenty of sites about weather, restaurants, money, health and the like, but without links. You'll need to copy the address of a site to your browser to call it up.
ASIRT Travel Toolbox: www.asirt.org/toolbox.htm
The Association for Safe International Road Travel offers an unusual toolbox based on safety, with travel cautions and road safety reports.
A ton of sites, clickable along the left-hand side, lead you to many travel subjects, including those you won't find on many sites: newspaper travel sections, travel magazines, and all the major organizations representing travel agents.
If it's official government sites you want, this is your basic ready-made kit, with links to travel ministries, airports, essential phone listings, and a good group of frequently asked questions about traveling.