Take Trip on Internet before You Get Away
Michelle V. Rafter 1995, Reuters News Service, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
If you haven't finished planning your summer vacation, you may be in trouble. Summer's almost gone.
Whether your idea of a holiday is catching rays on a deserted beach, rafting down the Colorado River or taking the kids to Disney World, you'll find everything you need to get there and back on the Internet and commercial networks such as America Online and Prodigy.
There's so much airline, hotel and activities info on-line, you may not need a travel agent. But if you prefer a little handholding, you'll find that, too.
If you're having trouble figuring out what type of trip to take, make your first stop one of the many all-purpose travel centers.
Global Network Navigator's Travel Center (http://gnn.com/meta/travel/index.html) has a huge planning library, plus regional guides, travel news and a collection of staff-written travelogues.
Another good starting point is America Online's Travel Resources Center (AOL, Keyword: Travel), a collection of resort, outdoor vacation and activities information, plus restaurant directories, golf excursions, budget getaways, weather updates, on-line magazines and pointers to other Internet travel services.
America Online subscribers also have access to ExpressNet, a travel and financial service from American Express (AOL, Keyword: ExpressNet). You must have an American Express credit card to book flights and hotel rooms, but any AOL member can read on-line magazines, or participate in message boards and a weekly chat fest (Mondays, 8 p.m., central time).
Having trouble deciding where to go?
Use Virtual Tourist (http://wings.buffalo.edu/world/vt2). Clicking on Virtual Tourist's big map of the world takes you to a specific city or country where you can read about the region's people, climate, and culture.
For a long time, Eaasy Sabre was the only way to book your own plane tickets, but several rivals have popped up. One is PC Travel (http://www.nando.net/pctravel.html), which lets you walk though a ticket-ordering demo before you subscribe. Signing up doesn't cost anything, but you will need a credit-card number to use in their secure computer server. …