Montana State University
Academics | Administration | Admissions | A-Z Index | Directories

Montana State Universityspacer Mountains and Minds
MSU AcademicsspacerMSU AdministrationspacerMSU AdmissionsspacerMSU A-Z IndexspacerMSU Directoriesspacer
> Research, Creativity, & Technology Transfer >Publications

Discovery DiscoveryMay 1999
Main PageOn the WebPatents CornerFeatured StoriesIn Focus

On the Web
Surf the Travel Sites Before You Go on Vacation

Discovery by Jan Zauha

Whether you are headed for a vacation in Glacier or a conference in Warrnambool this summer, start by taking a virtual trip. You can learn a great deal and even save some money by exploring travel options first on the Web. Calling a travel agent may still be the quickest, easiest way to make arrangements if you don't care about the particulars or are short of time. But if you like to experiment with different scenarios and want to invent the perfect trip to suit your needs, Web travel sites give you that power. They also provide essential information that can make your stay more comfortable and productive.

Begin by investigating some travel centers. Thanks to hot competition for Internet traffic, most of the high-profile Web portals are offering everything from social contacts to shoeshines these days, and travel services have become a standard feature. Such sites deliver a range of service options, including air tickets, car rentals, lodging, and local information, all from one convenient interface. To find out which center best meets your needs try several, such as Netscape Travel, Yahoo!'s Travel Agent, Snap's Travel Planner, and Infoseek's GO Travel

Set aside some time to search-think of it as the beginning of your trip. As with most services on the Web, using travel centers or other booking agencies requires some start-up effort. Registration (although usually free) is often required, and experimentation is the only route to personal satisfaction. You may often find confusing overlap in the travel services, the result of complex Web alliances that defy human understanding. You will also discover that some travel centers are better for large city arrangements, while others excel in access to more obscure places-like Montana. Some sites emphasize domestic travel; others specialize in international information. Don't hesitate to comparison shop-it takes more time, but you'll find that not all airfares are equal, not all sites offer the same deals. One way to use your search time well is to run several browser sessions simultaneously, each exploring a different travel center's offerings.

Travel centers are very useful for making reservations, but they also link you to valuable local sites for more in-depth information about your destination. Through them you can find dynamic details such as currency conversion, weather, news, events and local time. Checking the World Clock before you go to Australia can help you plan for jet-lag recovery. Using Online Newspapers to access the Warrnambool Standard (Victoria, Australia) will alert you to important local perspectives. Once your search takes you beyond the parameters of the travel centers, however, you may find that some ambitious sites have been left to languish, delivering last year's calendar of events or outdated prices. Sometimes the most you may glean is contact information. Even so, the world of travel information is vastly expanded, thanks to the Web.

If you would like help finding information on the Web or elsewhere, call or stop in at the Renne Library reference desk. If you find Web sites that you think might be of interest to the MSU community, please send me an e-mail message at

JanZauha is a reference librarian and the Electronic Information Coordinator for the MSU Libraries.


© 2000 Montana State University-Bozeman

View Text-only Version Text-only Updated: 4/13/07
© Montana State University 2006 Didn't Find it? Please use our contact list or our site index.