A New Way to Make Travel Plans and Pals

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One of our chief complaints about travel websites that rely heavily on user-generated comments is you can't be sure who the comments are coming from--or whether that person even shares your tastes. Enter Tripmates.com, a social site with a fresh approach. It's an interactive community where people worldwide can swap tips, organize their trips, and connect with others looking for travel (or dating) partners.

Tripmates functions as a one-stop shop for all-things travel. As a member, you create a profile where you can post reviews and photos, share past and future trip itineraries, list your favorite travel tunes and destinations, and blog. You can search the Tripmates member database--half American, half international, all ages--and designate people as "my tripmates," like you'd list friends on friendster.com.

The site's Tripvite feature, modeled on Evite.com's party invitations, allows members to fill out a form with travel details and send it to friends, who can then post comments and RSVP. It's a great tool for planning family reunions, weddings, or girlfriend getaways.

Launched in August by a Los Angeles couple, Tripmates now allows non-members to scope out profiles and read reviews. But you'll still have to register (for free) before you can post information or contact tripmates directly.

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