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Making Vacation Plans Over the 'Net? 21

rice_burners_suck asks: "For some reason beyond my comprehension, a whole bunch of family members are coming in to visit over the next month. The busiest weekend will take place when I'll have six guests to entertain, and I don't know where I'll take them or stay with them. I'd like to have a good time without breaking the piggy bank. Where, on the Internet, can I find good vacation places and compute a budget? I'm thinking of a service similar to AAA, but online. If something like this doesn't exist, how could I go about implementing one myself?"
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Making Vacation Plans Over the 'Net?

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  • Frommers []

    Careful, their server's not going to be able to handle all the coming users. ;-)
  • assignment? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 27, 2002 @06:59AM (#3777722)
    "If something like this doesn't exist, how could I go about implementing one myself?"

    ...and there it comes. So subtle, yet so obvious once you've seen it. I can hear the rest of you think "huh?", but let me just ask one question to the submitter: Do you need this service because you are having guests over? And if so, why would you implement your own such system... if it weren't in fact an assignment, either in college or given to you by your boss!
    • I wish I'd seen it, I'm sure you are right.

      "Make use of the unwashed GPL developers out there; they'll have an answer we can commercialise"

      The .com bubble makes me laugh; I know what the net is to me, and it's not what the media talk about - which is mostly irrelevant stuff.

      The net is a cool communication tool but some people can't let go of the idea that they might be able to trick all these communicating people into buying something.

      I guess it's just another market place with hucksters vie-ing for out attention - I supposes it's like CMOT Dibbler and his sausage in a bun but at least he knew what he was selling (even if no-one else did!)

  • The vacation/tourism industry probably has more "portal" sites than any other - there are masses of sites out there that do what you're asking (though with varying degrees of success). Some are local to specific cities, some are regional, national or even international. Some specialise in large hotel chains, others in bed and breakfasts, and so on.

    Finding them of course is the job of Google and the rest, but there certainly isn't a shortage.

    But in all honesty, I've found that if you're looking for accomodation, a human recommendation is better than any website - call your local tourist information center and ask what there is in your price range near you... it'll be far quicker than scouring the internet for hours to find it, and far friendlier too. (see - the internet may be useful, but it's not the best answer to everything).
  • Hey, I'm gonna have to do a whole bunch of shopping in the near future. Is there any place to do this online? If not, how would I go about implementing it myself?

    p.s. Cliff is a lamer.
  • Whats your aim? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by samjam ( 256347 )
    Are you looking for a "legitimate occupation" for all your relatives so they admit by most standards that a good vacation was provided, or do you actually want to enjoy time-with-the-family (scarier; esp. if thats not what your guests are expecting).

    If the latter, then it's not really what you do as long as you do something; you just need something to
    a) fill the gaps between conversation
    b) stimulate more conversation if neccessary

    You could look at your local tourist office for things to do that "don't cost money" because they actually have to be fun; things that cost money are usually busy enough or expensive enough to justify themselves.

    But I think the .net is just a distraction in this; better to get the old phone out and talk to the family who are coming and take ideas from them; plan it together; it won't actually matter what you plan - you may even end up working on your house; but it's the talking and getting to know that count.

  • Disclaimer: Nothing wild here - no technology involved at all...

    That said - egads man. You have 6 people over for ONE weekend and you're worried about how to entertain them. Good lord - quit writing so much code and get out once in a while. I bet that there are several great places to take them within driving distance of your house.

    Railroad museums, local historical places, local businesses that are semi-famous usually have tours that they give, parks and state forests, very good local restaurants, and on and on and on...

    Why does everyone always have to GO AWAY when people come in for a visit. We always have a BIG BBQ/picnic and tons of stuff for the kids to do. And we always take them to at least one local attraction and they have a blast. I have seen several local "tourist" spots in my area quite a few times. But I still enjoy going to them and I can always add some neat bit of info about the place or local legend stuff etc...

    Its fun and not too costly. And I sure that's a big factor with you Mr. Rice Burner Sucks... Just gotta pay for that Harley man....... Hehehe...

    Have fun with the "guests",

  • the subject says it all.
  • Your area chamber of commerce is likely to have some touristy information, you may know of some of the attractions in the area, but they can give you times, and prices for them. Also, most states have a tourism and visitor's board, which should have some information.
    So is the new game try to get the eds to post the most innane Ask /. questions, and how many FPs is it worth to get one on the front page?
  • What more do you need than hotwire and mapquest? Hotwire really does have the cheapest fares out there, so long as you don't care when you fly. You can even book hotels on hotwire. My girlfriend and I visited my parents for Christmas and paid $40 per night to stay in an executive suite that had free food and booze in the evenings. Mapquest can be a big help if you're planning a road trip. But it wouldn't hurt to get yourself a road atlas too.
  • Seriously, use a travel agent. They know more than you and they are better at it.

    There are good reasons why... Many times when checking airfares from online services you aren't getting all prices, for instance since Southwest opts out of all online GDS systems like SABRE, Worldspan and so on. The only way to get the lowest price is to include them as well. This doesn't even get into negotiated rates which many travel agents have (mainly corporate agencies) with carriers where they receive X% off a certain carrier.

    Travel agents have over the years built up a wealth of knowledge through their travels via FAM (familiarization) trips and ID25 tickets (tickets purchased at 25% of the coach fare, very common before airlines turned into the dickweeds they are today). There's a good chance they can budget that for you or speak with a client who has done this before and has a good grasp of the figures.

    Other reason for using a travel agent include the fact that when airlines have schedule changes, or worse, change equipment (switch to smaller equipment because of a flight not meeting yield) your prized window/aisle seat is lost, airlines are notorious for not calling you. These kinds of changes show up in agency res queues and they can handle it for you.

    I worked for American Airlines as a reservations agent and later as a SABRE developer and was a travel agency manager for a few years and without question I only use knowledgable travel agents.
  • Travelocity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sentry21 ( 8183 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @11:19AM (#3779299) Journal
    Travelocity is probably the only real suggestion I can give you. It's basically an online travel agent. They do flights, hotels, car rentals, trains, and vacation packages (as I recall). Check them [] out, even if you're Canadian - they rock, comparatively speaking.

    Or you could - and I'm going to be radical here - leave your house (*gasp*) and go and actually talk to a real travel agent. They'd know more about the local attractions, as well as other nearby places you could take them too.

    Seriously, the internet is not the answer to everything. Sometimes you have to go out into the big room with the green floor and the ceiling that's sometimes blue with a yellow heat lamp and sometimes black with little white status LEDs, and actually use more than twenty muscles for once.

  • The United State's Independence Day? Yes, it can be mighty incomprehensible...or were you saying you were wondering why they'd spend it at your location. Of course, if you or them are some combination of not being a U.S. citizen, and not living in the U.S... well then, there you go.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI