InternetWorks: Getting Out and About

April 22, 2010
By Henry Kenyon

Winter's over and it's time to travel. Whether the mood is right for a late spring break or early summer planning, the Web is full of sites that help users find and book the perfect vacation. From the United States to Europe and beyond, the only limit to researching locations and packages is how long Web surfers can stare at their computer screens.

Airfarewatchdog is like many other airline fare sites in that it lists and allows people to search for the lowest prices on airline tickets. Unlike many other sites, however, this one works hard to search from the customer's point of view, performing services such as checking the availability for flights it lists, listing promo code fares, searching for value in addition to lowest price, including fares on airlines such as Southwest and JetBlue and listing only fares that team members of the site believe are reasonable. All the fares posted are checked by team members, and users can click the "Our Team" link to learn about the site employees and see their pictures. The site lists 12 reasons it differs from others, and it also explains six features of each of the fares it lists in the "About Our Fares" section. Many of the deals offered are short-lived, so this site is especially beneficial for people who can make decisions quickly. Visitors can search to and from any city, see rates to and from the most popular cities, view current Top 50 Fares, sign up for fare alerts and view an online airline route map. Airfarewatchdog also has a community section featuring polls, frequently asked questions and more.

iExplore is dedicated to adventure and experiential travel. The former includes hiking, biking, diving and multisport tours while the later encompasses expedition cruising, wildlife safaris and culinary tours. Visitors can search for tours by region, country, activity, trip length and price. They also can read about the Top 10 Best Selling Tours or learn more about the Destination of the Day or Tour of the Day. The "Best of Travel" section features lists such as the best safaris or culinary destinations. The site offers a variety of tools for researching and planning excursions, including information arranged by group, solo and family travel. Users can even learn more about visa requirements for different countries.

This site is dedicated to giving people information they can really use when planning a trip. Not just fares, not just schedules, but comparisons of airlines, information about the best places to sit on certain aircraft and lists of amenities offered on various airplanes. SeatGuru lays out aircraft seating charts, then labels seats as "good," "standard," "poor" or "some drawbacks." It also has icons that explain which amenities, such as food, video, audio and AC power, are available. Users looking to find the most room can view information about space on the airplanes as well. Visitors can search airlines by an alphabetical list (in addition to seat and amenity information, contact and other basic airline information also is listed) or use the comparison charts to find the right airline for them. The Web site includes information about traveling with infants and minors. This is a site worth taking time to explore to find all the travel gems it has to offer.

This site helps users find overnight accommodations with an emphasis on Europe. Though the online services do include hotels in the United States, they cover a large amount of the European continent, and the "Popular Destinations," "Top Cities" and "New Hotels" lists are populated almost exclusively with European locations (as of press time). Listings in parts of Asia, Africa and South America also are included. The Web site is available in seven languages, and telephone customer service is offered in several languages as well.

After finding great hotel deals in Europe, people likely will be eager to find deals on flights. Flycheapo is a specialist guide to low-cost airlines in Europe. It offers route and airline news in addition to a search engine. Users can search by route or airline to find the flight that works for them. The site also lists the newest low-cost routes and posts statistics about low-cost flying. To stay up to date with the latest in budget European flights, visitors can read the posted news items, sign up for e-mail alerts, follow @flycheapo on Twitter or subscribe to an RSS feed.

These sites are not affiliated with AFCEA or SIGNAL Magazine, and we are not responsible for the content or quality of the products offered. When visiting new Web sites, please use proper Internet security procedures.

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