Trips Ahoy!

Classic Sites & Add-Ons

To be useful to road warriors, the best Web sites have to constantly improve and upgrade their content. They also answer the questions every traveler asks: How do I get there? What's the weather like? How about my miles? Here are three of the most useful travel sites:
What it does: doesn't just tell you what the weather's like. It also features information travelers need to know, like airport weather forecasts, travel advisories and even your flight's on-time status. Data such as the site's road conditions information is indispensable to the business traveler.
Why it's cool: is always looking for new ways to deliver data, such as Desktop Weather, which shows current conditions in your desktop tray.
What it does: The Rand McNally site is more than a place to click on for turn-by-turn directions. Its detailed electronic road maps tell you everything from road construction updates to estimated driving times. The site uses more advanced technology than that of competitors such as MapBlast and MapQuest. Considering that it got a late start, has played catch-up with its competitors nicely.
Why it's cool: The site is uncluttered and does what it's supposed to without too many ads and graphics.
What it does: does one thing and does it well: It helps you select and enroll in a rewards program and provides information for maximizing your miles. Don't miss the Frequent Flier Crier, a free newsletter that provides the latest mileage news.
Why it's cool: This site is useful and irreverent. Webmaster and mileage expert Tim Winship isn't afraid to distinguish between good deals and awful ones.

Online Adds
Even though the dotcom boom has turned bust, the Web isn't dead when it comes to business travel. New Web sites for road warriors are popping up all the time. Here are three of the best:

Airport Parking Lots
What it does: Enter your locations and dates for a price quote. The company negotiates with airport parking lots for volume discounts.
Why it's cool: Airport Parking Lots eliminates calling ahead for a less expensive parking spot but still allows you to choose which parking vendor to use.

What it does: HotelShark offers hotel reviews from a guest's perspective. The site has been around awhile, but it's only now becoming an indispensable site for finding the best accommodations.
Why it's cool: Other than word-of-mouth, getting reliable hotel information is close to impossible.
What it does: Send voice-to-text e-mail from any phone, at any time, through a toll-free number. four-hour delivery.
Why it's cool: Unified messaging services have figured out how to convert text to speech, but reversing the process has eluded them-until now.

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This article was originally published in the April 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Trips Ahoy!.

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