1. Register with U.S. embassies and check any travel alerts through the U.S. State Department’s web site (www.state.gov/travelandbusiness). Need a U.S. passport in a hurry? Turn to www.travisa.com.
2. Peek inside faraway hotels and restaurants with Tripadvisor (www.tripadvisor.com). It features more than 1.5 million travel reviews about hotels, attractions and restaurants worldwide.
3. Check weather reports at www.usatoday.com/weather/forecast/wglobe.htm.
4. Create and print a currency converter table with www.oanda.com/convert/cheatsheet.
5. Go the extra mile. Tuck in tips on local customs, or include a cheat sheet on international tipping standards (www.magellans.com, click “Travel Advice,” then “Planning,” then “Worldwide Tipping Guide”).