Tools Tour

 
When should you go? Google Calendar can help you determine the best dates for your vacation. Create separate calendars for work and personal events to keep track of projects, meetings, holidays, paydays, birthdays, and other important events. If you share your calendar with coworkers, they can easily find possible meeting times. Check your friends' availability and invite them to take a trip with you.

Google Calendar
Let Google help you get from point A to point B. After you've determined your destination, you can use Google Maps to find basic or custom maps, local business information, and driving directions. View satellite images of your desired location that you can zoom and pan. You can even get directions to and from locations using your feet, bicycle, or local public transportation options.

Google Maps
It's helpful to have a knowledgeable guide when planning a trip. You can check in with a couple million experts using Google Groups: a searchable database of more than 700 million Usenet posts on every topic imaginable, including unspoiled islands and low-cost airfare. Ask questions and read comments in the discussion forums. Explore topics in detail by perusing posts that contain amateur advice, professional recommendations, and everything in between.

Google Groups
Make sure you don't forget anything! Whether you're traveling for a few days or a few months, you can use Google Docs to keep track of where you will be staying and what you will be doing. You can share your plans with others and access them online from wherever you are. Collaborate with friends to create packing lists and itineraries. If you're worried about splitting the bill evenly, use Google Docs templates to calculate shared travel expenses.

Google Docs
Add some RSS feeds from your destination's local news sources to Google Reader. Brush up on the latest headlines so you'll be able to converse with the locals about current events. You can also subscribe to travel blogs to find future travel destinations, hotel deals, discount plane tickets, and more. See what your friends are reading and use them to find other feeds you might want to subscribe to.

Google Reader
If you're feeling adventurous, you can combine all of the previously mentioned tools to create a travel-planning dashboard using iGoogle. Add a weather gadget so you can check the temperatures in locations around the world and keep plane ticket, hotel room, and car rental searches right at your fingertips. iGoogle has colorful themes featuring many locations; apply one to your page and daydream about your next destination while sitting at your desk.

iGoogle

 

Plan a trip with Google's help.

Work is tough and you deserve a break. A sun-soaked vacation is the perfect remedy for your work woes, but you're not sure where to begin. Many of Google's tools can be used to help you save time and money while planning your next trip. To see how these free services can help you organize a fun-filled holiday, tag along as we plan a tropical getaway.