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PlanetEye upgrade makes it more useful

This attractive site has good advice, but it could use more planning tools.

I took a premature look at PlanetEye in June. I found a conceptually interesting product that wasn't ready for real-world use. Since then, the site has opened to the public and gone through a redesign. It's now worth checking out for planning vacation travel.

The organizing principle of PlanetEye is the "Travel Pack," which is a way of categorizing your destinations. You can create a Travel Pack for anywhere you're going and then drop restaurants, hotels, and activities into it. Photos of your destination or activity (from other users) show up on a Pack page, and PlanetEye will put a Pack's items all on a map for you and let you easily share your Pack with others. I'm thinking of creating a "Rafe's S.F. Visitor Guide" pack to send to people who come to visit our home.

Activities, restaurants, and hotels get useful summary pages. PlanetEye

Packs also recommend alternate activities. At some point, they'll will be prioritized based on a social formula; right now they just seem to be highly rated professional reviews. Which brings us to the best part of this service: the content. PlanetEye aggregates professional reviews and makes them all easy to find and discover. There are a few useful expert articles on the site as well. And it's a very attractive site--more travel magazine than utility. Combined with its recommendation system and Travel Pack organizational scheme, it makes for a good system to collect activities, lodging, and dining options for a location.

However, the system doesn't do enough for you once you've built your checklist. Yes, it does connect you to hotel sites for reservations and to OpenTable to book restaurants. But there's no timeline view of your activities to go with the map view, so planning your attack on a vacation spot is still a manual process. I'd like to see a planner like TripIt, or a printed city guide like Offbeat Guides, to go with my Travel Packs.

Travel Packs can be private, or you can borrow a public one. PlanetEye