Cybernaut 

Web travel unravelled

Rain, rain go away, come again some other day.

No? Then would it be okay if I left?

Although Whistler’s river guides are ecstatic, for many Whistlerites, two beautiful and uninterrupted weeks of summer sunshine do not a summer make.

It’s time to plan an escape. Somewhere hot, with white beaches and blue water and nothing much to do but soak up the Vitamin D and join the occasional conga line.

Since money is always tight when you live and work in Whistler, you want to make sure you get the best possible deal going. While our local travel agents are generally excellent, it does pay to shop around using the largest base of travel information available to you – the Internet.

Internet Travel is one of the most successful and fastest growing Internet business sectors, generating more than $15 billion in online sales last year, or 62 per cent of all sales. By 2003, it’s expected to grow into a $40 billion industry.

The main reason for this growth is the convenience of buying services online. It’s fast, easy, and often cheaper than the alternatives because you can shop around and look for deals and discounts.

Although there are travel sites literally coming out of the woodwork in an attempt to capitalize on this trend, there are half a dozen tried and true dealers on the Web who are impossible to beat for price or selection.

Right now there are four trips I’d like to make: home to visit family and friends; Hawaii because I’m worried about getting rickets if I stay another month in Whistler; Cancun, for the same reason; and Hong Kong because I have a friend there I’d like to visit. I checked out all of the top sites for the same time periods but wasn’t fussy about flight times.

All of these sites are a little bit different, and while one site may be cheaper than another for one specific flight, it may not be cheaper for another. To make sure you’re always getting the best deal, it’s best to shop around.

www.travelocity.com

Travelocity is one of the Big Kahuna’s in the online travel industry, with easy to navigate information on air fare, hotels, car rentals, cruises, package deals and deals. There’s also a business travel site for all-too frequent fliers.

For Toronto, from Sept. 13 to the 24 (it’s more expensive to fly on the weekend), the best fare they could get me was $509. For Maui, a round trip is $927, for Cancun it was $1,242, and for Hong Kong from Sept. 15 to 30 it was $1,335.

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