Karolyn Andrews, Ph D, currently manages Internet Polska, an Internet services company located in Poland and the States. Before she moved to Warsaw, she taught computer applications and Internet use in Washington, D.C. You can contact her at email@example.com with comments and suggestions for upcoming articles.
Language reflects experience, and as experience changes the language follows suit. For example, take the word 'travel' . In past times, moving your corpus from A to B involved more trouble than today' s travellers can imagine, and hence the word travel originated from the word 'travail' , which was borrowed from the Old French 'travailler' . Travail and travel eventually went their separate ways, a split helped by the increasing ease with which one could get about the world. That ease has increased yet again with the advent of the Internet: with such quick and easy access to scads of information, you can organize a trip without ever leaving your chair. In fact, travel-based services are among the fastest growing on the net, offering myriad options to a variety of adventure seekers.
The options range from simply discovering more about where you' d like to go through online travel guides and e-zines to booking the entire trip via an online travel service. These services offer first-class vacations with all the frills, to budget holidays without them. In fact, the net makes plotting an inexpensive get-away easier than ever before. One good place to begin is the Frommer' s Guide (www.frommers.com). Long in the off-line business of travel guides, Frommer' s now offers an online version packed with advice for budget travelling. Currently, it offers an updated edition of a classic piece written in 1955:" Europe on $5 a Day" . That $5 has inflated to about $50, but the ideas remain the same and are worth a look (click on their 'Budget' section, or see the May issue of Budget Travel magazine).
Another site bursting with good tips is the Crazy Dog Travel Guide (www.infomatch. com/ ~cdtg/). Although based in Canada, this site is a must-see for anyone thinking of traversing the terra firma cheaply. Here you can read about any number of issues important to the success of a trip: e-mail access while abroad, advice for women going it alone, security measures for your passport, visas, and other essential documents, and more. Notable also are the numerous links to airlines and youth hostels. Which takes us to our next step in organizing a trip: how to get there and where to stay. Your options for getting where you want to go include the obvious: plane, train, bus, car, or hitchhiking. Only the last choice requires little prior planning, so for help with the others visit the Budget Travel site (www.budgettravel.com) which contains loads of data on various modes of transport, which are also conveniently classified by country. While spontaneity lends travel some of its romance, waiting hours or even days for a connection doesn't.
Except if it' s in an airport: one ingenious way to cut travel costs is to stay overnight at the airport, and if this cost-cutting device appeals to you, visit www3.sympatico.ca/donna.mcsherry/airports.htm. This site fills you in on the outs and ins of airport lodging, reviews the good and the bad, and solicits your own experiences. If you plan to fly, cheap fares abound on the net so start your search in Yahoo! (www.yahoo.com) or one of the other major directories-cum-search engines, using an appropriate keyword like 'cheap fares'.
Once you' ve figured out how to get there, your next decision is where to stay. By far the most popular choice for tripping on a shoe-string is youth hostels. An extensive list can be found at www.hostelseurope.com, which covers the continent and the UK and includes a route planner to facilitate your selections, prices, and (sometimes) the ability to make a reservation. But caveat emptor: the net is still working out the kinks of e-commerce, which means not everyone actually offers what they appear to. Some sites claim they make reservations, but in fact simply use the net as another means of dealing with requests, an add-on to the more traditional methods of letters or phone calls. This method can be quite effective if the humans on the other end follow through, but frustrating when they do not. Less common on the net, but more likely to ensure a confirmed booking, are sites which require credit cards and use a secure server to protect that information (you know you are on a secure site when the key or the lock icon in the lower left-hand corner of your browser window is in the locked position; see the global reservation system HotelsCentral at www.hotelscentral.com for an excellent example).
Transport and lodging decisions aside, people travel for fun, work, or study. For students, studying abroad offers the opportunity to pick up linguistic nuances from the natives, so if you want to beef up your English, try these sites: www.eeop.com or www.eiworldwide.com. Both offer information about English language programs around the world, from prolonged stays to short visits. While studying abroad is one way to learn the language, working is another and you get paid for it. The U Can Travel site (www.netos.com/uct/) can get you started on finding work abroad; it provides information on six organizations that place people in positions around the world.
Wherever you decide to go, however you get there, and whatever you do once you arrive, ease the travails of your trip by travelling the net beforehand.
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