Travel sites - book your reservations online

My Favorite Web Sites - Winchester Star - 5/9/02
 by Martin Zombeck

This is a bi-weekly column providing an annotated list of Web sites that may be of interest to the community. Each column will list sites that belong to a particular category: search engines, art, online newspapers and magazines, health and medicine, history, business and economics, etc. or sites relevant to a particular season, for example, skiing or gardening. Most sites will be non-commercial. To make it easier to access the sites, each bi-weekly column will be posted on the Town of Winchester's Web site so that the sites can be accessed and bookmarked without having to be typed. Previous columns will be archived at the Winchester site, also.

"Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car."
- Elwyn Brooks White

Planning a vacation? You will find that the Web will make the job easier. It will help you make inexpensive airline reservations, obtain accommodations, find vacation packages, book theater and concert reservations, and much more. The sites below rate as some of the best. All the commercial sites require registration. But there is no fee for this. The major commercial sites provide similar content and features. You'll have to try them out to see which one serves you the best.


Microsoft's travel site is the top online site in terms of the dollar value of reservations booked. USA Networks, Inc. recently bought a controlling share in Expedia. You can book airline reservations, book hotel or vacation rentals, rent a car, find a vacation package, find a travel deal, book a cruise, and peruse destination guides (restaurants and attractions). The site also provides traveler tools: currency converter, flight status, fare tracker (inexpensive flights), driving directions, weather, and passport information.

Travelocity is the number two travel site. It is a Sabre company. Sabre provides technology and distribution and marketing services for the travel industry. The Travelocity site provides much the same services as Expedia.

The number three travel site, Orbitz is owned by the nation's five largest airlines. You might expect to get bargain fares here. The US government is trying to find out if Orbitz gets bargain fairs that the other travel sites can't. The Orbitz site provides much the same services as Expedia and Travelocity.
This site was launched on April 22 and is affiliated with Cendant Corp., owner of Ramada Inn, Travelodge, Days Inn, Howard Johnson, and Avis rental cars. provides much the same services as the three sites above.

The four sites above claim a total of forty million unique visitors during March 2002!

Cheap Tickets
Cheap Tickets is my favorite site for obtaining inexpensive airline tickets. Cendant Corp. recently bought Cheap Tickets. It remains to be seen if this is for the good.

Site59 sells last-minute getaway specials. Sabre just bought Site59.

Online travel guide for Europe. "This site gives you easy and convenient access to thousands of internet sites that will enable you to explore your destination, find an accommodation, book a trip or holiday and lead you to all kinds of service-organizations that can be useful to the traveler".

Worldwide airline links.

A previous Winchester Star article on travel. Includes passport services, travel warnings and consular information sheets, links to US embassies and consular services worldwide, CDC's traveler's health, New England offices of tourism, and weather and traffic conditions for the nation.

Travel References
From the Winchester Web site. Links to dozens of travel and tourism sites.

When you get to where you are going, you'll have to eat.

The online guide lists more than 20,000 restaurants, bistros, cafes, coffee-houses, diners, hotels and takeout joints in the city or urban area of your choice. Once you've selected a city, restaurant reviews are sorted by neighborhood, alphabetically, and by cuisine. Have you decided to go to a particular restaurant? One click and you'll be provided with a map showing the location.
Fodor's online restaurant guide. More comprehensive than the Zagat Guide above.

Open List Restaurant and Hotel Search
Local search for restaurants and hotels, featuring reviews, recommendations, ratings, and user comments.

Previous columns with live links can be found at

When he is not updating the Town of Winchester Web site (, Martin Zombeck can be found at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where he is a physicist. E-mail: