... a travelers tale.
How the Internet helped:
Travel arrangements were carried out initially over the net via web forms and e-mail, then fine-tuned via a combination of e-mail and telephone. (www.flightcentre.com.au)
A brief New Years eve stopover in London was made easier with information gleaned from friends made through internet mailing lists - even simple things like the best way to get from Heathrow (the airport) to our hotel in central London. The stopover was made more enjoyable by the opportunity to meet and have a drink with one of our London contacts (thank you Paul and Ceri - www.simmpaul.demon.co.uk).
Our longest stopover in Trinidad in the Caribbean was organized via e-mail with a French photographer and business associate who has been working on location in the Caribbean since October 1998 (www.evm.com). Our only means of communicating with him was via e-mail through the French Inmarsat satellite e-mail delivery system. It is expensive, slow and tedious to use, but it works!
An all too brief stopover in Honolulu on the way home gave us the opportunity to finally meet the Wrinklemeister himself - a long term e-mail associate and friend (aloha Rabbett).
Thanks to the internet, we were able to get to know, and finally meet, many wonderful people from many walks of life all over the world. The Internet is not just a source of information, it is also an unsurpassed source of communications. Next time YOU plan a holiday, consider meeting up with some of your internet contacts.
Do YOU have an internet related story?
If you, our subscribers, have a traveler's tale where the net has helped (or hindered) e-mail us and tell us YOUR story.
What we found overseas ...
While globetrotting through 4 countries and 4 continents we noticed a number of interesting trends related to Internet presence, information technology and their usage.
Many airlines within the US now have telephones built into the back of the seats throughout the plane. While they normally wont let passengers use their own mobile phones, the seat-back phones can be readily used for normal phone or fax/data services with your notebook (once you swipe your card through of course ;-)
Billboards on the sides of London busses are now including businesses web site addresses (URLs) fairly prominently. Major web businesses have started advertising in conventional media too - Amazon.com and Yahoo were seen on the London underground trains.
Nearly every advertisement on US free-to-air television now includes a web address and/or e-mail contact.
All hotels we stayed at, even in the Caribbean, either had data facilities available in the rooms (RJ11 data socket in the phone) or internet facilities for all guests available in a separate room and listed along side the restaurants and gym facilities they also offered.
Internet Cafes are few and far between. Waikiki only had two, one of which had closed down the week before so we were told. The Caribbean however even had internet and e-mail facilities available at some of their marinas.
... and back home
We found upon our return that one of the SeaWorld Orlando (Florida) web sites had photographs taken of their daily shows including the session we were fortunate enough to experience (www.shamu.com).
How times are changing
There has certainly been an explosive world-wide growth in the visible presence of the Internet in the day to day lives of ordinary people. The net has grown out of the "geeks toy" image it used to be branded with, and is now taken very seriously indeed as an important communications medium and marketing tool.