Even the most ardent of technophobes have a few things to like about the Web revolution.
Whether it's the simple communication of e-mail, or links to DMV registration and the gas bill, there are one or two features that add convenience to everyone's day-to-day life.
But for me it's not the "convenience" of e-commerce, or the chit-chatty e-mails ending with ;) that do it for me. It's the places that the Web can take me that makes it so exciting and useful.
People that put a premium on traveling (that is to say, people obsessed with traveling) can use the Web as a resource for saving money. As any traveler will tell you, the more money saved, the more trips you can afford in the end. And as the old (or new?) adage goes, he who dies with the most frequent flyer miles wins.
Of course our online affiliated partner, tahoe.com, can help you find accommodations and travel reservations, but besides tooting our own horn, try out these helpful sites:
Traveling.com: World travelers will find a friend in this useful research resource. Adventure travelers and sun-bums alike are all accommodated by this site.
A simple navigation frame allows the user to flip-flop between interesting and relevant sites. Click cruises, and get connected to a mile-long list of cruise destinations; hit Brazil or Mexico, and up pops cruise companies, government-sponsored travel tips and links to make reservations.
This site has it all - except that it doesn't appear to be regularly updated. Users might get frustrated when they see their efforts to connect with sites rejected with error messages.
Traveling.com might be of particular interest to outdoor adventurists. Links to the best (known) backpacking destinations might help with planning that $5-a-day trip.
Connecting to the Egypt link, for example, provides colorful (though not very detailed) maps of the Nile Delta. Unfortunately there were no links that I saw that allow travelers to reserve camels for a cross-desert journey. I guess we will have to settle for a 1997 Hyundai, some beef jerky and a 50-gallon jug of water.
Travelocity.com: Travelers with their sights set on practical, common destinations should use the Travelocity site above all others.
What makes Travelocity so useful are numerous charts that offer up-to-the-minute pricing for major airlines, hotels, rental cars and cruise lines. Some of these companies offer discounts to Web shoppers who are making last-minute travel arrangements.
In just a few minutes of Web browsing I found a San Francisco to New York flight on Tower Air for a mere $218 round trip. For that price, I don't care if the plane is buzzing, clicking or losing cabin pressure, I'll just adjust my oxygen mask, dig my fingernails into the armrests and dream about watching the Knicks get creamed in the Garden.
Some other deals worth logging onto:
-- San Francisco to London: $408/round trip.
-- San Francisco to New Orleans: $406/round trip.
-- Las Vegas to Chicago: $198/round trip.
Priceline.com: Priceline is like Ebay.com for travelers. There is a simple process for bidding on a flight, hotel reservation or rental car and, if your bid is within arm's reach of reasonable, the airlines, hotels and rental companies will likely accept it and electronically book your reservation.
The one time I used this service to book a flight, I saved about $40 on a round-trip ticket between San Francisco and Portland, Ore. It's well worth checking out; besides, William Shatner is the company's spokesman and it's about time someone gave him some regular work.
Aalodging.com: Skiers who tire of the endless offerings of the Lake Tahoe resorts have deep psychological problems. Perhaps that's the reason they might need to get out of town for awhile. This Web site gives snow-hungry ski bums links to tons of promotions for lodging in Salt Lake City, the other great Western skiing destination. (OK, Colorado is pretty good, too.)
At the base of Snowbird, Solitude, Alta or Park City are the condos and hotel rooms where "pooped" ski bunnies and their boyfriends named "Chaz" can warm their toes while sipping on a mocha. Aalodging is your link to reservations that will put you there. The site also might help with reservations for a Range Rover for those trying to get the "complete skiing experience."
One of the unique offerings of Aalodging.com is corporate discounts. Nothing promotes worker satisfaction like two weeks of fresh tracks.
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Featured chats of the week:
-- Monday, Feb. 14: "The Millionaire Man" author Thomas Stanley at Barnesandnoble.com
The author moderates an online discussion about his work from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
-- Monday, Feb. 14: Pop stars Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey at Yack.com
Simpson and Lachey answer questions live online from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
-- Thursday, Feb. 17: X-files Writer Vince Gilligan at Aol.com
TV Guide online sponsors the Gilligan chat from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
-- Thursday, Feb. 17: Rock band The Folk Implosion at Sonicnet.com
The band talks to fans from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.