Stay.com Helps Customize Travel Plans -- Without the Bulky Guidebooks

Monday marked the first official day of summer. Time to pack your bags, load up the car, and go on those road trips. But do you really have to go sans your favorite tech? Stay.com doesn't think so.

The newly updated travel site is incorporating social media technology with only what you really want to see when planning your next destination -- and you can leave the heavy travel books at home.

Their most popular cities are alphabetized on the site, making for easy finds, and

--you guessed right -- Miami made the cut. We poked around a bit, and

found a few highlights, tours, hotels, restaurants, bars and nightlife,

and things to do we hadn't yet thought up thanks to the already uploaded

trusty guides -- and we know Miami pretty well.

The site allows you to add in your favorite trip photos and hotspots to your own personal travel guide, to share with friends and strangers alike and keep for yourself for future reference. You can download, print and share it, and it's all free.

Most of the site's updated by staff experts, travel veterans, and web gurus, so the information is pretty up-to-date, but Stay.com's simple enough for anyone to use. They incorporate Facebook, Twitter, and more into their site, which was once merely just a hotel booking page. Stay.com's come out with a much more interactive, 2.0 version of its original site, featuring 50 cities worldwide, with the same assisted-DIY social travel focus.

"Basically, we created 2.0 by filling in all the blanks other sites like Expedia, TripIt, TripAdvisor, NileGuide, and all the others left undone," says Phil Putler, PR rep for the company.

The site now offers templates and travel info from previous users, as well as the option to add in your own research in order to build a better guide to a location. 

You can read more than 12,000 popular attractions, and book at more than 100,000 hotels.

"We leverage TripAdvisor's ratings for added user value," says Stay.com CTO, Knut Urdalen. "For

restaurants, we've signed contracts with the two largest players in

this sphere: TopTable and OpenTable. And we'll add more, much more."

Each added element, called "objects" can be linked in to others' guides or itineraries, called "stays." All of these social web elements create communication between travelers transforming the typical travel guidebook from a source to an actual platform. Stay.com also offers traditional (and obviously necessary) components of typical travel sites, like booking and reservations assistance.

Pick and choose what you want to see and what you want to do, and skip all of the extra reading you have to do with regular travel guidebooks. The best part? Once you're finished, you can convert your finished

guide into a printable PDF, breaking down your picks by category, and

dropping them all on a Google map for easy spotting.

It's all accessible from any device with an internet connection, with full mobile integration and geo-location engagement, video guides, and user feedback generated features.

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