Where do you turn for reliable information about a destination? If you're a traveler, the Internet is generally the last place to look. Not only are many travel sites difficult to navigate, incomplete and confusing, but they're often also tainted by commercial and political interests.
All that is changing, though, as Web sites that collect information for the corporate traveler come of age, promising road war-riors targeted data without the fuss of surfing around.
One of these pioneers is Weissmann Travel Reports. Sold by corporate travel agencies as part of some trip packages, Weissman's data is difficult to find elsewhere online. If your travel agent isn't offering these irreverently written and thorough reports on such things as shopping, dining, weather and etiquette, they're worth asking for.
Another early entrant into this niche is Ontheroad.com. If one of the 25 cities Ontheroad. com works with is on your itinerary, the company will send you a schedule of events for the days you'll be there, give you details on restaurants appropriate for entertaining clients and tell you about conferences being held in town. The service is deliverable on the Web or via e-mail and personal digital assistant.
The latest resource for business travelers is iJet Travel Intelligence, which launches this month. IJet pulls together data about your trip-including security information, weather data, trip delays and health alerts-and sends it to you via -mail or to your personal digital assistant. Unlike Ontheroad.com and Weissmann, iJet doesn't serve up subjective information about a place, but rather directs you to where you can find the facts necessary to cope with any problem you might face when you're traveling.
Some of the "old dogs" in information Web sites have also learned new tricks. Per Annum's City Directory software, for example, is now available for the Palm platform. The Manhattan version alone features more than 500 restaurants, 100 hotels and 600 shops. The yearly subscription fee of $20 makes it a bargain for busy entrepreneurs who don't want to wrestle with a phone book when they're out traveling, and updates can be downloaded from the Web site.
Christopher Elliott is a writer in Annapolis, Maryland. Contact him at www.elliott.org.