Making travel plans has become one of the Web's killer apps. And there are lots of general-interest travel sites that offer lots of help with the basics — everything from booking flights to renting cars. But good things on the Web also come in more select packages: There are many specialized travel sites that focus on just one piece of a road warrior's itinerary. Here are four of our favorites.
|Need advice on where to stay in a new city? This site has a database of 60,000 hotels around the world, with information on prices and amenities, as well as photos of many of the hotels.||For $42, you receive Hotelguide.com's Discount Card, which lets you get special rates at participating hotels. And the site's Currency Converter helps you figure out exactly how much you're saving.||If you're looking for a place to stay in a certain area but you have no specific hotel in mind, you're in for a lengthy search. Punch in "Cairo, Egypt," for example, and 77 listings appear for you to sort through.|
|Is room service stale? Check out the Web version of Zagat's popular restaurant guides. This site helps you find the perfect eating experience. You can search by price range, cuisine, or even decor.||Register at Zagat.com, and gain access to reviews, maps, and rankings. And don't forget to check out the site's "outtakes": customer comments that were deemed too brutally honest for the print guides.||The site is so thorough — and so much fun — that you might spend more time evaluating your dinner options than rehearsing your presentation for the next day.|
| Travel Advice
|The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office has created a handy resource. This site, covering countries from Algeria to Zimbabwe, should be a required stop for anyone planning a business trip abroad.||The site has access to travel advisories and other news pertinent to out-of-the-way places that you plan to visit soon. There's even great advice on immunizations and inoculations.||Since this is an official site of the British government, some of its better features — such as what to do if you lose your visa — aren't all that relevant to Americans.|
|Trying to plan a meeting in New York when you're based in San Francisco can be a hassle. This site helps you take care of all the details — from finding an appropriate meeting site to generating cost estimates.||It's hard to have a good meeting in a lousy space. This site lets you plug in your hotel preferences, such as quality, price, and proximity to some of the area's popular attractions.||Lots of information, less follow-through. Once you find the perfect place, it would be nice to know right away if it's available — or to be able to book a reservation online. The site does not offer those options.|
A version of this article appeared in the Jan/Feb 2000 issue of Fast Company magazine.