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A Trip Is Just a Fingertip Away!

Travelers today are using the internet to plan trips to known and exotic destinations. It could be official trips, or R & R (rest-n’-recuperation); it may be relocation or just for fun!
The Internet has empowered users to research and plan local and international trips sitting at home at any time of day or night. Access destinations, find last-minute bargains, locate hotels and plan adventures, sightseeing and shopping. You can even pre-book a music or theatre performance, a table at a starred restaurant or even a cabaret!
Here are some tips to make travel cool and comfortable using your laptop.

• Choose a destination

Google is an amazing tool to help research destinations, maps, online booking for accommodations, restaurant reviews and historical backgrounds of places.
Log on to a travel site like makemytrip.com, yatra.com or Lonely Planet and get a thumbnail sketch of a particular place or the top destinations of interest.

• Plan your trip

Every trip has a beginning and ending. First decide on your starting point, your destination and the days and time you want to travel. Google Maps helps you take a geographic look at your destination and possible routes.

• Fares and facts

Find schedules, fares for airlines/trains/ships, prices of hotels and rental cars through search engines. Check out tour buses and cruise operators who will help to make travel easy. Booking websites allows travelers to compare rates among airlines, hotel chains and car rental companies.

• Interactive activities

Get interactive with web tools. Find net travelers with similar interests and get tips and advice from them. Look up groups and choices available. Tick off what you would like to do. If you are the outdoorsy type, trekking and water sports may be more attractive than treading the heritage trail. If it is culture and food that is your cup of tea, look at numerous options. You can even have a wonderful mix of sun, sea, sand, heritage structures, folklore and events and food!

• Facilities and stay options

Comfort, food, sleeping options, daily chores, facilities, etc are important considerations. This goes for plane/train/stay as well. If you have any special requirements like food restrictions—vegan, vegetarian, diabetic, etc you can ask whether these can be met.

• Budget and money talks!

Look at costs, keep a buffer for emergencies, checkout visas, currency exchanges and credit card charges. Health insurance too is available on the net.

• Glitches

A bugbear in planning your travel online is that many airlines, railways and even travel websites are slow! Be ready, sometimes, to sit in front of your monitor waiting for a website to connect!

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Padmini Natarajan calls herself Dame Quixote for she is forever tilting at windmills! A storyteller, poet, columnist, blogger, editor and journalist, she has specialized as a Culinary Editor and contributed content, edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. She has worked for over 15 years as Part-time Language Editor and Writer of manuals, curriculum textbooks and other material with an E-education organization, EZVidya/Chrysalis that is aimed at empowering Teachers, Students and Parents. She taught Vedic Heritage at Kalavardini to children from the ages of 3 to 14 and written and directed skits and plays. She won the Gourmand Special Jury Award in Paris in 2009 as co-author of ‘Classic Tamil Brahmin Cuisine’. Her book of short stories - ‘Crossroads: Stories from South Indian Lives’ - has good reviews on Amazon. Padmini has been concerned with paying it forward with her involvement in organizations like Sneha, a suicide prevention NGO, Canstop, Cancer Support group and many women’s organizations. Her other passion was acting, on stage, TV and screen. She is a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff, a music maniac who listens to Golden Oldies and has a strong Facebook presence. Nowadays she is an armchair activist and world traveler from the safety of her home. Quite the hypochondriac, she is exploring spiritual enlightenment through Vedanta and loves to spout philosophical thoughts to unwary audiences.