Spontaneity may be the spice of life, but when it comes to successful vacations, planning is the key to happiness.
Travelers are increasingly turning to the Web to book flights and hotels. In fact, a travel industry survey found that 64 million people do their travel planning online. Truly savvy vacation planners are using the Web to uncover valuable information about their destination.
To build your dream vacation online, start with a search engine such as Dogpile (www.dogpile.com), which searches all of the most popular search engines at once and draws together the best results in one place.
For example, if you search for "Montana fly-fishing," you can find what guided fishing tours are available in the Big Horn Area, where you can fish and set up camp in Glacier National Park, how to book a houseboat vacation on Lake Roosevelt or how to schedule a horseback excursion in the Rocky Mountains.
Dogpile also features a handy "Refine Your Results" technology that helps you zero in on the information you need with just a click of the mouse. For example, if you type "Napa Valley" into the search bar, the results are automatically grouped into categories such as "Vineyards," "Tours," "Dining" and "Inns."
You can also use the Internet to find restaurants and other local businesses around your destination. Looking for a pizza place near your hotel in San Francisco? Go to an online yellow pages Web site such as InfoSpace.com (www.infospace.com), enter "restaurant-pizza" in San Francisco and you'll have a complete list of options to choose from. The "near an address" feature even lets you enter the address of your hotel and sort the results according to distance.
No matter where your travel plans take you, you will enjoy your vacation even more knowing you found the hidden gems of information not readily available to everyone else.
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