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Virtual vacations turning real

Travelers can now book their entire trip from airline tickets to rental cars online.

Travelers can now book their entire trip from airline tickets to rental cars without talking to a travel agent through the Internet Travel Network.

ITN claims it is the first Web-based reservation service to let travelers book hotel reservations and rental cars for no additional charge at the same time they make an airline reservation.

Users can submit credit card numbers online if they like or can request a travel agent to call back and handle the payment over the phone. Tickets are generally sent to the user by overnight service.

The service lets the user define all the travel requirements on the Web site: single or double rooms, smoking or non-smoking, mid-size or luxury car, etc. The site then shows the availability and rates via a direct connection to a major travel reservation system, as well as policies such as check-in and check-out times.

The site also lets customers search a list of member travel agents by name, location, or specialty, for example, bike trips in Europe, look at airport terminal maps, and read Usenet newsgroup postings on the site that detail travel experiences, both good and bad.

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