[techbooks] REVIEW: "NetTravel: How Travelers Use the Internet", Michael Sha
- BKNETRVL.RVW 990227
"NetTravel: How Travelers Use the Internet", Michael Shapiro, 1997,
%A Michael Shapiro shapiro@...
%C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
%I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
%O U$24.95/C$35.95 800-998-9938 fax: 707-829-0104 nuts@...
%P 312 p. + CD-ROM
%S Songline Guides
%T "NetTravel: How Travelers Use the Internet"
Not too long ago, a user group that shall remain nameless (mostly
because we don't know what to call it any more) held a national
meeting in Winnipeg. We discussed the agenda online, of course, but
also handled all the travel reservations, hotel bookings, and other
arrangements that way. In the days before departure, some expressed
concern about the weather, the city not being known as "Winterpeg" for
nothing. A very helpful member posted the Environment Canada five day
forecast, showing temperatures in the minus fifty region, with
whiteout blizzard conditions. He had, of course, accessed the weather
office's archives for the previous year, and changed the name "Inuvik"
to "Winnipeg" throughout. We spent a lovely weekend in shirtsleeve
Practical jokes aside, there are abundant resources for the traveler
on the net. In chapter one, Shapiro provides a quick overview of how
people can use the Internet in a variety of ways for a variety of
types of travel. You can save money, plan an itinerary, book
reservations, obtain detailed information, go beyond brochures, and
generally use the Internet for what it is: the largest and most up to
date library in the world. Generally overview chapters are pretty
boring, being light on detail and heavy on promotion. Promotion there
is, here, but Shapiro has also managed to inject some life into the
material. He is also not content with a mere listing of sites, but
also looks at the importance of personal contacts, always the best way
to get local data, and the variety of Internet communication tools for
Chapter two looks at transport. Not only do you get listings for
travel agency and airline reservation sites, but descriptions of using
search engines to find train information, and even directions for
subways. Food and lodging is covered in chapter three, with the
personal stories that are a feature of Songline Guides. Shapiro,
however, integrates these stories with each other and the main text by
pointing out the common and successful features of the disparate
experiences. Chapters four through seven deal with specific types of
travel: budget, business, vacation, and adventure, all with useful
suggestions such as using group preferences for corporate travel and
connecting to the net while on the road. Unlike many similar guides,
this one does a reasonable job of comparing different services, noting
which is better for what type of traveler or research. While much
(but not all) of the material in prior chapters relates to Websites,
chapter eight discusses mailing lists and newsgroups. Not content
with a simple list, the text also shows how to search for groups,
lists, and archived postings on specific topics. A more extensive
guide to staying connected away from home is in chapter nine. Travel
agents would seem to be the losers in the switch to online booking,
but chapter ten finishes off the book by showing how they can use
Internet resources to add value and stay on top.
Appendix A lists the Websites discussed in the book, grouped by topic.
Appendix B is a lightning introduction to the net. The commercial
online service offerings in the travel area are briefly described in
For anyone who is not already seriously using the Internet for travel
this book is probably well worth its price. The resources available
will aid you in planning, and definitely save you its cost many times
over. Even those who are regularly getting travel data from the net
will likely find new and useful resources in its pages.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999 BKNETRVL.RVW 990227
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