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Jen Leo

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April 1, 2012 | By Jen Leo, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Allergic to peanuts? Need a gluten-free restaurant? What about eggs, shellfish or dairy? No problem. Even at Walt Disney World. Name: http://www.allergyeats.com What it does : Provides a peer-reviewed directory of more than 600,000 restaurants across the U.S. Includes menus (including gluten-free), allergen lists, certifications, nutritional info and more. What's hot: This website is built by a dad with five kids, three of whom have food allergies.
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TRAVEL
September 27, 2009 | Jen Leo
Say goodbye to gray freeways, black clothing and brown haze and head for the hills. CaliforniaFallColor.com tells you where you can find the best fall foliage within driving distance of Los Angeles or San Francisco. What's hot: New England is not the only place that puts on a show of red, orange and yellow after summer fades. You can get the California Fall Color Report by RSS for weekly updates on how the trees are progressing through their cycle and where the best spots are to see the color.
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November 22, 2009
You share travel tips with friends on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and other social media sites, but what if your reviews read like a magazine article's list of best places? Nextstop.com is an online travel cafe where visitors can get good advice without amassing hundreds of friends or followers. What's hot: It's very visual. You have the immediate gratification of photos and short reasons why a particular restaurant, hotel, shop or attraction is worth checking out. If you're the one recommending a travel gem, Nextstop makes it easy to build a guide.
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December 13, 2009
Are you buying a gift for a traveler who has everything or wants nothing? Step away from the neck pillow and look for something fun, unusual and/or handcrafted at UncommonGoods.com. What's hot: Once someone is labeled a traveler, that person inevitably gets gifts that are never used. Spare your traveling friends (or yourself) and head to UncommonGoods.com's Travel section for gifts that are both humorous and handy. I found pop-up towelettes ($12), a solar-powered backpack ($230)
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October 19, 2008 | Jen Leo
Don't you hate it when travel gets in the way of watching the big game? You can liven up any trip with SportsFanLive.com, a website that helps you meet up with other fans who are excited about watching the same game. What's hot: I was immediately drawn to the FanFinder. Here's how it works: Enter your favorite team, date and the ZIP Code you'll be traveling to, and a Google map displays sports bars that will be showing your game. I swapped "pizza" for "sports bar" and found new results.
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August 10, 2008 | Jen Leo
It's easy for kids to get caught up in the excitement and fervor of the Olympics, which began Friday. But what's the best way for parents to tie in some educational travel elements about China while they're stuck to the boob tube? National Geographic Kids ( www.kids.nationalgeographic.com) has a "Kids-Eye View of Beijing" for the Olympics. What's hot: David, a 12-year-old American who lives in Beijing, is blogging at least twice a week.
TRAVEL
March 29, 2009 | Jen Leo
There's a budding travel giveaway trend on Twitter.com. The micro-blogging tool on which users send messages, or "tweets," of 140 characters at a time to their followers has become a hot networking tool for the Web-savvy travel community. What's hot: Airlines and hotels reach out to their customers and offer personal service and tips, travel bloggers befriend and keep tabs on colleagues -- even convention and visitors bureaus have joined the Twittersphere to stay connected.
TRAVEL
August 3, 2008 | Jen Leo
If reading a guidebook to find the trendiest restaurants and nightclubs is too archaic for you, Thrillist.com can help you maintain your hipster image. What's hot: Getting its free daily e-mail newsletter and feeling cooler every time you read it. Even better: taking your friends to the latest happening sushi joint in L.A. Thrillist has city-specific information on what to do and what to buy in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Boston. Las Vegas gets a weekly mention.
TRAVEL
November 1, 2009 | Jen Leo
You could use Twitter or Facebook to ask friends for hiking and biking recommendations -- but then you'd have to wait for a response. Check in with Trails.SierraClub.org to find a trail or share a favorite of your own. What's hot: "Find a Trail" does just what it says, but I found it much easier to browse this site (which is still being developed) by states instead of getting specific in my keyword search. Rather than look for easy hikes in Los Angeles, I searched California trails and found 195 results, including Aliso Creek Trail and Bikeway in south Orange County, Big Bend Trail in Laguna Beach and Bridge to Nowhere in Angeles National Forest.
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