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Electronic Avenue

Making travel arrangements on the Web

Entrepreneur magazine, June 1998

Despite the recent hype over making travel arrangements online, most people are still using the Web primarily as a research tool. The best way to make your reservations generally depends on the type of traveler you are and the nature of your trip. Booking online works well for simple trips to familiar places, but you'll still need to contact a live human travel agent for complicated itineraries or trips with possible last-minute changes, upgrades or cancellations.

There are two main places on the Web to make travel arrangements. First are airline Web sites--almost all now allow travelers to buy tickets online. As an incentive to try this option, many airlines routinely offer frequent flier bonuses to online bookers. But like a call to an airline's toll-free number, when you make reservations on an airline's Web site, you don't have access to other airlines' flight and fare information.

The other place to book travel online is at travel agent sites. These sites are full-service travel agencies offering more than just flight availability, fare information and booking capabilities for a variety of airlines. They are also replete with destination information, computerized mapping and directions, restaurant reviews, and links to car rental and hotel booking sites. Plus, if you run into trouble online, there's usually a toll-free number listed so you can speak to someone to untangle your reservation. Some sites to check out include: http://www.thetrip.com,http://www.biztravel.com,http://www.expedia.msn.com,http://www.travelocity.comor http://www.itn.com

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