Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : April 2006

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 TECHNOLOGY TALK:

BY JOHN ANDERSON  

Be Your Own Travel Agent

Airlines are starting to raise their rates in preparation for the expected increase in fuel costs. This makes it a very good time to start planning your vacation now. It could possibly save you some money before prices start going through the roof.

Finding Your Way
Once you've reached your destination, you are probably going to want to know the shortest path to not only the major attractions but also the local pizza shops. Before leaving home would be a good time to visit a map website to print out your route.

  • Google Maps (maps.google.com) has several great features. When you visit Google Maps, you'll immediately see an interactive map of the United States on its homepage. You can navigate the map using the controls to the left or by clicking and dragging the map in any direction.
  • MapQuest (www.mapquest.com) was one of the first online mapping websites, and it continues to be a very useful mapping resource today.
  • MSN Maps & Directions (mappoint.msn.com) displays your search options on tabs: Home, Maps and Directions. If you're familiar with Microsoft's Streets & Trips or MapPoint software, then MSN's maps will look familiar.
  • Yahoo! Maps (maps.yahoo.com). Click the Driving Directions link at the top of the page and Yahoo! displays starting and destination address fields. You can even save your Yahoo! Maps searches – useful if you are spending a few minutes in an Internet café.

Plan Your Trip
One of the best places to start is probably Fodor's. Best-known for their travel guides, you can also use their website to plan you trip.

Known as one of the foremost authorities in traveler advice, Lonely Planet Online has mountains of information and several services to help you plan your trip. From the main page, you can access a row of helpful links, such as Worldguide, Travel Services, Theme Guides and On the Road.

There are also a couple of other helpful guides, such as Trip Advisor, which offers "unbiased reviews of hotels, resorts and vacations" – certainly the next best thing to talking to a friend who has already been there. Of course, if a cruise is more your style, you are in luck – just head over to Cruise Critic to help you with your seafaring vacation.

And families searching for child-friendly activities in any major city can try City Search.

Of course, options are always nice, so here is a list of sites that you can use to start planning your journey:

Travel Websites

Airlines

Rental Cars

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: April 2006

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