Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Frommers.com: The Complete Travel Resource
For an excellent travel-planning resource, we highly recommend
Frommers.com (www.frommers.com), voted Best Travel Site by PC Mag-
azine. We're a little biased, of course, but we guarantee that you'll find
the travel tips, reviews, monthly vacation giveaways, bookstore, and
online-booking capabilities thoroughly indispensable. Among the spe-
cial features are our popular Destinations section, where you'll get
expert travel tips, hotel and dining recommendations, and advice on
the sights to see for more than 3,500 destinations around the globe;
the Frommers.com Newsletter, with the latest deals, travel trends, and
money-saving secrets; our Community area featuring Message Boards,
where Frommer's readers post queries and share advice (sometimes
even our authors show up to answer questions); and our Photo Center,
where you can post queries and share money-saving tips. When your
research is done, the Online Reservations System (www.frommers.com/
book_a_trip) takes you to Frommer's preferred online partners for
booking your vacation at affordable prices.
who have the patience and time to
shop and compare the online sites for
good deals—but shop they must, for
prices can vary considerably from site
to site. And keep in mind that hotels
at the top of a site's listing may be
there for no other reason than that
they paid money to get the placement.
Of the “big three” sites, Expedia
offers a long list of special deals and
“virtual tours” or photos of available
rooms so you can see what you're pay-
ing for (a feature that helps counter
the claims that the best rooms are
often held back from bargain booking
websites). Travelocity posts unvar-
nished customer reviews and ranks its
properties according to the AAA rat-
ing system. Also reliable are Hotels.
com and Quikbook.com . An excel-
lent free program, Travelaxe (www.
travelaxe.net), can help you search
multiple hotel sites at once, even ones
you may never have heard of—and
conveniently lists the total price of the
room, including the taxes and service
charges. Another booking site, Travel-
web (www.travelweb.com), is partly
owned by the hotels it represents
(including the Hilton, Hyatt, and
Starwood chains) and is therefore
plugged directly into the hotels' reser-
vations systems—unlike independent
online agencies, which have to fax or
e-mail reservation requests to the
hotel, a good portion of which get
misplaced in the shuffle. More than
once, travelers have arrived at the
hotel only to be told that they have no
reservation. To be fair, many of the
major sites are undergoing improve-
ments in service and ease of use, and
Expedia will soon be able to plug
directly into the reservations systems of
many hotel chains—none of which
can be bad news for consumers. In the
meantime it's a good idea to get a con-
firmation number and make a print-
out of any online booking transaction.
In the opaque website category,
Priceline and Hotwire are even better
for hotels than for airfares; with both,
you're allowed to pick the neighbor-
hood and quality level of your hotel
before offering up your money. Price-
line's hotel product even covers
Europe and Asia, though it's much
better at getting five-star lodgings for
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