TripAdvisor: Weekend getaways on a tank of gas
What we like: With the economy in a slump, many people can't afford luxurious vacations. As a result, TripAdvisor's new tool couldn't have arrived at a better time. After selecting how much gas you're willing to spend, the tool searches through TripAdvisor's catalog and recommends places that have 10 or more recreational activities, so rest assured it won't send you to a dead zone. In addition, its massive database includes various cities from Piscataway, NJ to Pisco, Peru. In fact, we were hard pressed to find a city it didn't include. Each recommended area (it offers up to 5 per search) is listed along with its top-rated attractions and clicking through takes you to a list of the area's top restaurants and hotels (obtaining the latter information requires setting up a free account with the website).
What we hate: Unfortunately, we found TripAdvisor's gas and price estimates to vary. Although the site claims to take current gas prices into account, it does so using the national average. As a result, your gas mileage will vary. In addition, the site doesn't take into consideration the type of car you're driving (sedan, SUV, etc), which also effects your gas consumption.
Final Verdict: Overall, the site is great for generating travel ideas. It doesn't accurately take into consideration current gas prices, nor does it consider other aspects of your trip (such as your car type and traffic conditions), but the latter two are small nitpicks from an otherwise fun (and free) tool.
Louis Ramirez is dealnews' Features Editor.