The Next MySpace

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Plan trips while you make friends on these new social-networking sites.

Sign on, and become a travel writer overnight. You can blog about a trip, create a guide to a city, or deem yourself an "expert" on a place and advise others on their vacations. Best of all, Matador pays members to contribute short articles on destinations. Assignments up for grabs are listed on the site's Bounty Board. The money won't exactly finance a trip to Fiji—most stories net $25—but it'll cover dinner at the airport.

This one's about where to set your travel sights: A color-coded map on the home page pinpoints which countries are good to visit each month depending on what you want to do. For example, Chile, Australia, and Tanzania are ideal places to camp in February, according to tallied member reviews. Have a question about a certain destination? Post it under the Answers tab and other travelers will weigh in with their ideas.

TripIt's community is big on sharing—users log on to arrange airport carpools and to volunteer as guides for people traveling to their cities. The site itself lends a helping hand with its impressive itinerary builder: Send your e-mail confirmations from airlines, hotels, and travel agents to, and it will compile them into a trip schedule, complete with weather forecasts, maps, and restaurant ideas.

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