Using cyberspace for travel plans

Summer is well underway. It is a great time to get away and relax.

Summer is well underway. It is a great time to get away and relax. Of course, why stop there? Fall, winter, and spring have their own special draws.

The Internet is a great place to research places to go and to take care of all of those travel arrangements. In fact, travel research is one of the main reasons people go online.

Tear this page out of Dental Economics® and tack this one on your bulletin board for future use. This is one column you will find yourself using for years to come.

General guide sites

These are the sites where you will find ideas for places to visit. They are also places where you can take care of booking your airline, car, hotel, and more:

www.fodors.com, www.frommers.com, www.za gat.com: These are the Web sites of travel books which have been around for years. I am sure that you are familiar with some of them.

www.travelocity.com, www.orbitz.com, www.expedia.com: These are the big-three, one-stop travel sites.

www.10best.com, www.citysearch.com, www.concierge.com, www.cybertrip.com, www.kasbah.com, www.travelsource.com, www.etractions.com: These are all similar sites to the big three. You may find that you like them better. It’s a good idea to check out a number of sites when you are making your travel plans.

Bed and breakfast sites

www.bbonline.com and www.iloveinns.com: These are useful for those who enjoy this style of vacation.

Traveler search engine

www.sidestep.com: This site searches multiple travel sites at one time.

Discount travel sites

These sites claim to get you lower prices:

www.quikbook.com, www.travelsecrets.com, www.cheaptickets.com, www.hotels.com, www.hotwire.com, www.site59.com, www.priceline.com, www.travelzoo.com

Sites for maps

www.mapquest.com, maps.yahoo.com, www.mapsonus.com, maps.google.com, www.us.map24.com

Cruise sites

www.cruise411.com, www.cruise.com, www.cruise compete.com, www.cruisemates.com, www.icruise.com

Food sites

The guide sites we listed have restaurant sections. The two sites listed below are review sites:

www.chowhound.com, www.dine.com

Getting online

You may have free Internet access in your hotel room. Here are some sites to help you get online from whereever your Internet access is located:

www.netcafe.com, www.geektools.com, www.cyber captive.com, www.jiwire.com, www.wifizone.org/zonefinder.asp

Miscellaneous sites

Flight arrivals and departures: www.flightarrivals.com

Airline seating: www.seatguru.com

Currency converter: www.xe.com

Car travel games: www.momsminivan.com

Distance between two places: www.indo.com/cgi-bin/dist

Unbiased reviews of travel plans: www.tripadvisor.com

On a personal note, tripadvisor.com is one site that I use every single time I make my travel plans. I have found it to be very useful and very reliable. Bookmark this one!

I did not even begin to start listing the Web sites for the various airlines, hotel chains, and rental car companies. You can always go directly to these sites and obtain a price directly from them. Some of these companies are giving better deals if you book reservations directly on their sites instead of through the general guide sites. Always shop and compare prices.

Be prepared to spend some time online when you use the Internet to make your travel plans. Happy traveling!

Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FAGD, FICD, practices general dentistry in St. Louis. He also is the editor of St. Louis Dentistry magazine and spokesman and critical-issue-response-team chairman for the Greater St. Louis Dental Society. Contact him by e-mail at jeff@dfdasmiles.com, by phone at (314) 567-5612, or by fax at (314) 567-9047.

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