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Two New Websites Make Travel Easier

SmarterTravel

Every once in a while I get a release touting a new or modified website that causes me to say, “That’s a good idea.” Here are two current ones:

ZocDoc

“Is there a doctor in town?” Sometimes you may need to find a doctor quickly when you’re away from home, and that can pose a problem. Sure, you can get a telephone book, but you really need a doctor who will accept whatever insurance you have, one with some references beyond a blurb in the Yellow Pages, and one with available appointments. ZocDoc, is starting to fill that void. You log in, search for doctors, get information about insurance acceptance, qualifications, and available time slots; and then book online.

The idea sounds intriguing and useful—the press release claims that the site can find same-day appointments 40 percent of the time and appointments within three days 60 percent of the time. The big downside, so far, is that the service is just starting, and coverage is limited to 13 major U.S. cities. The plan is to go nationwide “by the end of 2012,” although I suspect “nationwide” will still mean just the larger cities. Let’s hope you never need such a service, but if you do, give ZocDoc a try—there’s no charge.

Tripping

Tripping says it’s the “Kayak of Airbnbs,” but it’s more—and therefore, paradoxically, less. In the industry, “tripping” means either staying in rooms (or even on couches) in private homes while the occupants are living there, or hosting guests in your home. And the Tripping website does show some such listings. But its listings also include conventional vacation rentals; in fact, when I checked, there were more conventional rentals than real tripping hosts or travelers. As such, it provides a good and user-friendly search platform with excellent screening capability, and I can certainly recommend it. But it’s not just for tripping.

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