There are more ways than ever to connect online with people all around the world—almost too many. These four websites did the trick for me.
A 2-year-old social network that compares your travel plans with those of your friends. I learned that I'd be at JFK at the same time as my childhood best friend, and we met up. doppler.com.
A collection of forums, journals, and tips from recently returned travelers. I found it useful early on in my planning, as I sifted through already-posted material. igougo.com.
A global expat community with 230 local branches. If your own social network falls through, this is the place to track down locals who speak your language. internations.com.
A micro-blogging site with updates from millions worldwide. I searched "Istanbul" my last night, and people were tweeting about the rain—floods hit hours after my plane left. twitter.com.