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A DIY Solopreneur Longs for the Days of the Corporate Travel Department . . . Or does he? The web makes being an informed consumer overseas easier than ever. Plus, eight handy travel apps.

By Bruce Schoenfeld

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Years ago I worked in an office for a medium-size corporation. Looking back, I miss the languor of the midafternoon cafeteria breaks, the carefully crafted Pollyanna prose of the monthly newsletter. Mostly, though, I miss the travel department. Whenever my boss assigned a trip, I'd call down and tell them where and when. Within an hour, a packet would land on my desk. I'd have a plane ticket, a car voucher and a reservation at a perfectly serviceable hotel. It was magical.

I thought of that the other day as I struggled to make arrangements for a visit to Greece. Now that I'm self-employed, I do my own bookings. I rely on the internet, which works just fine for that two-day conference in Minneapolis. I consult Kayak to find the cheapest airfare, TripAdvisor for hotel advice, Chowhound for restaurant recommendations, AccuWeather to know what to pack.

But Greece is harder, especially the hotels. Many of the most highly rated don't even have websites--or if they do, they're only in Greek. E-mails often go unheeded, and when I've called, the person I'm told I need is invariably unavailable. I tried to outsource everything to a travel agent who is a specialist on the region, but the properties she suggested looked like someone's grandmother's apartment. Many didn't have Wi-Fi or other business services I've come to consider essential.

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