Holiday Web sites to suit all travellers
Planning your own travelling itinerary is becoming increasingly popular nowadays. You can experience different cultures, customs and cuisines.
Internet technology has enabled travellers to find information on air fares, accommodation, currency, weather, visa requirements and scenic spots of their destinations.
This week, I have picked a few travel directories for both independent travel and tour packages.
Lonely Planet Online (http://www.lonelyplanet.com/) is a good starting point for independent travellers. Select desired destinations and you can find maps and facts about the place.
Topics such as history, environment, economy, culture, events, recommended reading and travellers' reports are covered.
It is also good to hear others' comments before your trip. In the postcards section (http://www.lonelyplanet. com/letters/postcard.htm) travellers share their thoughts about destinations.
There are also nice pictures taken by the travel guide photog raphers. The Optic Nerve section (http://www.lonelyplanet. com/road/road.htm) gives you tips on taking photos and features new snapshots from travel writers.
The site also links to on-the- road travel writing extracts, discussion forums, health tips and travel sites. You will also find up- to-date news on different countries and upcoming events.
TravelNet (http://www. travelnet.com.hk/) is a Chinese- language travel magazine. Every month, it introduces different places.
What makes the site different is the feedback from other Internet users who enjoy travelling and have formed their own club. They hold weekly gatherings and share tips and experience with other travellers.
You can become a member and enjoy benefits such as special tour packages and discounts on air tickets.
At the travel experience corner, there are articles and photos on people's holiday adventures.
The travel tips give you travel agencies contacts and information on discount air tickets to popular destinations.
A survival guide tells you what you can do when you encounter different situations during a trip. The site also has links to youth hostels and independent travelling Web sites.
The Hong Kong-based Travel.com (http://www.travel. com.hk/) is a bilingual Web site providing in-depth information.
Destinations and maps can be called up with a mouse-click. You can select promotion packages on-line.
The information on hotels and airfares is updated periodically. Just input your destinations and the number of days you are going to stay, and the search engine will show you relevant price information.
There is also a special section dedicated to China.
A travel-on-demand service will enable you to book air tickets, hotels, insurance and tour packages on-line.
If you want to know more about your destinations, there is a virtual gallery with video clips and panorama views of popular spots. The discussion forums allow you to share travelling experiences with other surfers.
It also provides a detailed list of Web sites for tourism offices in Hong Kong (http://www.thomascook.com. hk/hotlink/tourism.html) to help you get the latest information about your destination.