From: Bob Rankin
Subject: TOURBUS - 28 JUN 2005 - Vacation Planning
Today's TOURBUS will help you plan a trip, save on travel costs, learn about the attractions before you arrive, and get there without getting lost. If you are planning to travel this summer, read on!
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...was one of the first travel resources on the Internet. In business for 20 years, and online since 1996, it's refreshingly different from any travel-related site I've seen. Instead of trying to sell you plane tickets, hotel rooms and rental cars, this site offers free Official Tourism Guides and kits from tourism bureaus & cities.
Travel Info - http://www.travelinformation.com/tour.html
You might think it strange that I'm recommending an offline service for travel planning, but in my experience the good old-fashioned color brochures you can feel and touch offer a higher quality of information with less hassle. Once you've decided where to go, the other sites on today's tour may help you find additional info and some good deals on reservations.
I know, I mentioned Travelocity briefly in the last issue, and they don't pay me to say nice things about them. I just happen to think it's a great place to shop for airline tickets, vacation packages, car rentals and hotel accommodations. Here are some of the key features of the Travelocity website:
TRAVEL RESERVATIONS - Lets you access the same computer database used by travel agents, so you can book airline tickets, reserve hotel rooms, or reserve rental cars from all the major agencies.
DESTINATION GUIDES - Comprehensive travel guides for more than 80 destinations worldwide with content from Frommer's Guide.
AIRFARE DEALS - Search for the best prices on air travel, find special offers on travel to certain cities, sign up for low fare alerts and info on last minute packages.
Travelocity - http://www.travelocity.com
Whenever I write about travel, a bunch of people will email to ask why I didn't mention their favorite online reservation site. Well, yes, there are a bunch. There's Expedia (a Microsoft subsidiary), Orbitz, CheapTickets, Hotwire, Priceline and more. Slap a dotcom on any of those and you'll end up at their website. Try 'em all, and stick with the one you like best. In my experience, there is very little difference in pricing across the board.
A couple of Tourbus frequent flyers wrote to tell me about SeatGuru. This site won't make air travel faster or less expensive, but it just might make it a bit more comfortable. You'll find ratings of each individual seat on the planes of about 20 different airlines. If legroom, reclinability, noise, and laptop power ports are important factors for you, pay a visit to SeatGuru.
SeatGuru - http://www.seatguru.com
Real men never stop to ask for directions, but they do read maps. So before you head out, make sure you plot your course. These online map services will help you get from point A to point B.
MapQuest - http://www.mapquest.com
MapQuest provides free easy-to-read online maps, driving directions and destination info you can view, print, or download to a wireless device. The RoadTrip Planner also helps travelers find restaurants, ATMs, entertainment and attractions along the route.
Yahoo Maps - http://maps.yahoo.com
Yahoo Maps offers a similar slate of features, including online maps and point to point driving directions. Interactive maps allow you to pan and zoom for detail on any portion of the trip. The total distance and approximate travel time are also displayed.
That's all for now, I'll see you next time! --Bob Rankin