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Travel Agent
Oct 30, 2000

Sites to Behold.(travel-related web sites)(Brief Article)
Author/s: Jennifer Anne Perez

Knowing where to look relieves the frustrations of searching on The internet

For travel agents researching destinations for clients, the Internet can be one of two things: an infinitely helpful re source chockfull of invaluable information, or an intimidating, useless network of links to nowhere. Because trudging without direction on the Internet to find important travel details can be an exercise in frustration, we've compiled a group of Web sites to bookmark that specifically concentrate on different facets of travel, from cultural differences to weather reports. Although the listing is far from definitive, each of the sites described below will help you keep current on a variety of topics of interest to travelers.

www.AirportsAmerica.com: This one-stop hub for airport information around the world includes links to U.S. and international airport Web sites. Through the site, agents can either get specific information by the location of the airport, including transportation services, address and phone numbers, or link directly to official airport Web sites. Through the linking process, agents can find information for clients on everything from special passenger services to terminal information to parking rates and restrictions. For information on Australian and Canadian airports, you can visit either [www.AirportsAustralia.com] or [www.AirportsCanada.com].

www.GORP.com: The adventure travel content on [www.GORP.co] simply cannot be beat. The site has everything from hiking trail and national park information to reviews on the latest outdoor camping equipment. Gorp (Great Outdoors Recreation Pages) has built a stable of nature and adventure experts to answer questions on hiking, biking and even birdcalls. But the real meat and potatoes of the site is the full listing of hiking areas for all the states, which also provides a detailed list of what to look for when traveling the trails. For national parks, standard information is given, including a park's address, phone number and size, as well as a detailed description of the amenities that it offers.

www.Intellicast.Com: A Web site for weather information, [www.Intellicast.com] features everything from tropical storm information to radar and satellite pictures of weather patterns. The site has a feature that lets agents e-mail weather reports to clients, which includes world forecasts for areas and countries from South America to India. The site offers content and weather news, including a guide to the best places to view fail foliage.

www.mailpound.com: This site lets agents view an organized daily listing of travel deals from suppliers, airlines hotel and tour operators, and it also works as a service that agents can sign up for to regulate how they like to be notified of these deals. Agents who want a quick glance of the latest deals from suppliers, including Carnival Cruise Lines, Sheraton Hotels and Alamo car rental, need only fill out the free registration form on the site. Agents who want to integrate MailPound's services into their daily operations can sign up to get free daily e-mail service from specific suppliers.

www.oanda.com: The daily changes in value in world currency can be almost impossible to keep up with for most busy travel agents, so [www.oanda.com] is designed to do just that. The site offers a plethora of news and information related to currency, and it also includes a currency converter that is based on daily value changes. One of the site's most efficient features is Quick Convert, a small pulldown window at the top of each page that can compare currency values in seconds--including such arcane currencies as Albanian leks and Tonga pa'angas. Agents who are curious about changes in a currency value over the years can find that out as well. And for agents who want to give their clients information they can take home or use on trips, the site offers a currency "cheat sheet," a feature that lets agents print out currency information.

www.travel.org: This supersite, although offering a fair share of links to consumer travel sites, has a solid set of U.S. and international links from which agents can glean information when booking travel. Agents can search for information and travel links based on geographic location and view or connect to a variety sites on everything from travel warnings for clients heading to the Middle East to listings of Maine art galleries. The site requires no registration for agents, and it also has a directory of travel agents who have Web sites both in and outside the U.S.

www.travelpets.com: This site [www.travelpets.com] offers a directory of pet-friendly lodgings in the U.S., Canada and abroad, along with other information for clients who want to travel with their pets. Agents logging on to the site have access to information on the hotels and lodges listed, including their address, phone number and description of amenities, and they can view color photographs of rooms at many of the properties. The site also contains a link to the Air Transport Association, which offers everything from basic pet travel tips to pet carrier requirements for airline travel.

www.travel.state.gov: This site is the main hub for the U.S. State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, and it contains a wealth of information and news for agents booking travel both inside and outside the U.S. The site has a directory that includes everything from recent travel advisories and warnings issued by the government to step-by-step information on how clients can apply for a passport. For agents researching or booking trips for clients traveling abroad, the site lists the immunization requirements of different countries, and for those who might need special medical attention when traveling, the site has a listing of hospitals and clinics around the world. For retailers who get the dreaded phone call from clients who run into trouble during their trips, the site even offers an at-your-fingertips listing of legal representation across the globe.

www.WebOfCulture.com: For agents booking international travel for clients, setting up the air fare and hotel is only a small portion of the job. At [www.webofculture.com], agents can get tips to pass on to clients, such as information on hand gestures in Thailand and dining etiquette rules in Colombia. The site also offers dress tips for international and domestic travelers, as well as guidelines for situations such as dining or meeting on business. A bonus is Web Of Culture's list of U.S. embassies and links, both domestic and abroad.

www.webtravelnews.com: A service from PhoCusWright, [www.webtravelnews.com] is a consistently updated news page that features stories on everything from the four GDS giants to which hotel and car rental companies have become more agent-friendly. The site also offers travel trend stories from the mainstream print and electronic media, including The Wall Street Journal and CNN. For the extra-busy agent who doesn't have time to log on everyday, the site offers an option to sign up for e-mail updates.

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in association with The Gale Group and LookSmart. COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group