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Once solely the job of travel agents, vacation planning hasnever been easier for the casual traveler. With the advent ofhigh-speed satellite Internet,anyone can conveniently research locations, book accommodations andeven create travel budgets online. For some, the task of booking anentire vacation on the Web without professional help or guidance isdaunting, so here are a few fool-proof tips for making yourplanning experience easier.

Researching your destination: Many popular destinations haveactive websites dedicated to tourism in the area. They are full ofinformation on things to do, places to stay and tips for newcomers.These local sites, such as GoHawaii.com, offer specific detailsyou’ll find useful when planning the dates of your trip such aspeak seasons and weather trends. You can also find message boardswith valuable insights from fellow travelers about what to do (andnot to do) once you reach your destination.

Booking your transportation: Are you flying to your destination?Once there, will you need a rental car? Securing these services – aprocess that once required hours spent on the phone with an agent -can now be done quickly through online services such as Expedia.comor Travelocity.com. These sites instantly compare the prices of topnational car rental companies and airlines so you can make aninformed decision about your transportation options. Plus, you cancomplete your reservation and payment online weeks before your tripwithout ever having to wait on hold again.

Securing a hotel room: Gone are the days of exhaustedly drivingaround a destination in search of a hotel with vacancy andacceptable accommodations. Websites such as Hotels.com andPriceline.com readily show all the hotel rooms available in yourdesired travel area, complete with customer reviews and pictures.Not only do these services make it easy to get great deals andsecure a room well in advance of your trip, the extensiveinformation they provide helps prevent unwelcome surprises atcheck-in after a long day of travel. Most offer satisfactionguarantees to make the process even more worry-free.

Plan your activities: Tripadvisor.com is a database, constantlyupdated by actual travelers, that helps you determine what you wantto do once you reach your destination. Featuring recommendationsfor top restaurants, attractions and even full-day itineraries,this site is a great resource for those traveling to a new city.Travelers post pictures, rate experiences and suggest activitiesfrom their recent trips, which will help you make the most out ofyours. Post your own review when you return to help fellowtravelers.

Manage your itineraries: One hurdle faced by travelers who bookonline is keeping track of the many different details andconfirmation numbers concerning their trip. Sites such asTripIt.com allow you to store all this information in a centraldatabase, reviewing it in its entirety when you need it. Having aphone with Internet access makes this application particularlyuseful, but you can also use your home internet connection or aprovided hotel computer to view your information. If Internetaccess will be limited on your trip, simply print out a detailedsummary of your information from TripIt.com before you leavehome.

The world has never seemed more accessible, and travel is trulyeasier than ever before. Spend some time learning how to takeadvantage of the endless resources high-speed Internet has to offer for successful trip planning.You’ll not only find it a great method of saving money overtraditional travel agency services, but a fun and interactive wayto get excited about your upcoming vacation.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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