DURING THE PAST few months, I've merged with millions of
computer users in cruising the Internet, the worldwide network of
computers and databases.
While there's information on just about any topic you can think
of, the Internet is becoming rich in travel information.
Most of my computer travel has been on the World Wide Web, a
section of the Internet that marries graphics and text in a
Through the Web, I can reserve a rental car or book rooms at
hotels worldwide, get information on visiting U.S. national parks
or read the comments of individual travelers on everything from
crummy airline service to finding a hotel room in Bangkok.
So far, the travel information I've found by computer can't yet
replace the comprehensiveness, and portability, of a good
guidebook. And a knowledgeable travel agent or airline
reservationist still can find a low air fare more quickly than I
Still, traveling around the Web is addictive. You never know
what you'll find - or whom.
Getting Into The Web
If you want to start exploring the World Wide Web, here are
You need a computer with a modem (a device that lets your
computer communicate via a phone line). A computer with a mouse is
best, since Web home pages are designed for its point-and-click
You need access to the Internet, either through a commercial
on-line service that has both Internet access and its own offerings
(such as CompuServe, America Online or the new Microsoft Network),
or through a company that simply provides Internet access.
You also need software (such as Netscape or Mosaic) to navigate
the Web and take advantage of its graphics. But if you are entering
the Web through a commercial on-line service, that software is
Once you're into the Web, moving around is easy: Point the
mouse to the highlighted text or graphic on the screen, click on
it, and the computer takes you there (sometimes to computer sites
halfway around the world). Most good Web pages link to dozens of
other Web sites as well.
Where To Start
Two Web sites - Yahoo and the Global Network Navigator - could
keep travelers roaming in cyberspace for months.
Think of the Internet as a massive encyclopedia - but one
that's not in alphabetical order. Yahoo and GNN are ways to find
the information you want, working as guides to the Internet and
linking to hundreds of other Web sites.
Yahoo: This is an excellent general index for all sorts of
subjects, and it's a particularly convenient way to search for Web
sites on travel - from foreign currency and hotel rates to tips on
budget travel and on visiting Disneyland. Yahoo also gives access
to some of the Internet's travel discussion groups (called
newsgroups and a way for computer users to trade information).
The electronic addresses for Yahoo's travel portion is:
Global Network Navigator: This is one of the Internet's first
information clearinghouses and a good way to sort through the Web's
layers upon layers of travel information. …