online travel guides

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					Travel Resources on the Web and In Print
(90 minutes) Developed and presented by Katherine L May Reference Librarian Newton Free Library Funded by the Metro West Regional Library System and Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

Training Syllabus
Goal: Demonstrate to audience a variety of travel resources on the Web and in print and help participants evaluate these resources. Use "hands-on", "live" searches to demonstrate how to evaluate online travel resources. The outcome for each participant should be to plan a trip utilizing a combination of web sites and print resources. Introduction: Participants share their expectations of the class and any prior experience with travel on the web. Using a Power point presentation, review the process of researching and developing a travel plan.

Before you make a reservation, do your homework.
   Check special interest web sites for information on your destination. Scan travel message boards and discussion groups for topics related to your destination. Develop a budget for the trip.

Handout contains specific web sites and descriptions for each of the following categories.

Special Interest Online Sites Travel news - discussion groups - message boards Weather Forecasts Online Databases through Minuteman Library Network Print resources
Travel Magazines Available in the Newton Free Library

Special Interest Magazines Daily Newspapers
Some Statistics: According to Neilsen/NetRatings, 46% of all active web users (68 Million individuals) logged on to online travel sites in November 2004. 13% increase over same month in 2003. Through online travel sites, consumers spent $919 million in November 2004 compared to $828 million in November 2003. #1 MapQuest 31 million visitors #2 14 million visitors #3 11 million visitors #4 11 million visitors #5 Southwest Airlines 7 million visitors (Source: Internet Week, Dec. 16, 2004) How do you evaluate a travel web site? What do the prices include? fees and taxes? Are quotes per room or per person/double occupancy Does the site cover all the airlines, hotels and car rental agencies? Does the web site have preferred travel partners?

Types of Online Travel resources:
Aggregators/meta search engines (Search multiple travel sites i.e. Orbitz and Expedia "crawl” the web for the best prices) Online travel sites: Discount airlines Southwest and Jet Blue do not list their airfares on these travel sites. Never assume that you have the best deal using only one travel site. Check more than one site and

check an airline site and a hotel site before you purchase your airline ticket or book a hotel room. Opaque sites : Buy travel product at a discount before you see the actual product

Specific Airline sites: Check discount airline sites Travel by train Last Minute travel sites International travel Currency Converter Sites Hotel sites
Many hotel sites have "a lowest rate guarantee" if customers use their web site or book directly by phone with the hotel. Some report that you get better treatment from hotel if you book direct rather than using an online travel site. You may also be able to negotiate a better rate over the phone with a live person.

Online search exercise:

Let's book our trip using online resources: What information do you need to plan a trip?  Pick a destination.  Do your homework. Check printed travel guides and online resources about your destination.  Decide how many days? for how long? how many people?  Get airport codes before you start the process this will save you time.  How will you get there? Airline, train, bus?  How many stops are you willing to make if flying to your destination? Nonstop usually costs more.  Where will you stay? Hotel, bed and breakfast, youth hostel?  Once at the destination: will you need a car?

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