National Park Service Launches New Civil War Website

On April 12, 1861, exactly 151 years ago today, Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina officially igniting the American Civil War. What followed was four years of brutal fighting that would not only decide the fate of over 4 million slaves, but also the very future of the nation. That war left an indelible mark on American history and culture that is felt to this day and many of its battlefields and important landmarks are still visited a century and a half later.

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh, the National Park Service has launched a new website dedicated to the Civil War and the various locations from that conflict that now fall under NPS supervision. Places like Gettysburg, Antietam and Appomattox Court House to name just a few. The website provides travelers with tools to discover these destinations for themselves while providing a historical context for their significance. It also lists upcoming events for those places and provides insights into what to expect while visiting these important national parks and monuments.

The new website also features an interactive timeline that describes the significant events before, during and after the war. A series of detailed stories provide more depth on the background of the conflict, while profiles of the most important political and military figures from that era help to put a human face on the struggle as well. There is even a “civil war reporter” that delivers daily news about the war via Twitter.

Whether you’re a history buff or just a simple traveler looking for information on Civil War related destinations, you’ll find this site to be a great resource. The Park Service has done an outstanding job in bringing all of this online.

Online bookings just got cheaper!

Online travel deals just got better. Even though airlines are tacking on extra fees, fares have been plunging for a while now, so it still cuts in favor of travelers. Travel websites have started to get in on the savings, too. Several sites are ditching their booking fees – at least temporarily.

Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia announced yesterday that they are waiving their booking fees. For Orbitz, this is a permanent move. In the hypercompetitive world of online travel sales, these guys are doing everything they can to get your travel dollars. So, if you’ve been waiting to save even more money on travel – as if the dirt-cheap fares aren’t enough – the deal just got a little better!

[Via BloggingStocks]

FabSearch – A website for the out-of-the-know

Do you ever read a review of some random restaurant in a national publication and think “gosh, if I ever go to Boise, I should totally eat there?” Some people I know even keep files for this kind of thing with newspaper and magazine clippings, and my friend Josh keeps a spreadsheet.

I’m lazy. What do I do? I go to

Then, I click on the random city I’m headed to for the wedding, or the story, or the Eiffel Tower (big cities like Paris are on there, too), and recent articles about hot places to stay and places to eat from local and national publications pop up! It’s like having a friend in that city who lays around and reads magazines for you.

You can totally wow your friends with this wealth of knowledge. You could be all “Oh, I read about it in the Financial Times,” and if they tried to call your bluff and checked the Financial Times, you’d be right, even though you’re too lazy busy to read it.

Check out the site – I looked up my hometown of Minneapolis and the recommendations were all pretty good!

Farecast launches international ticket comparisons; prices still suck

Farecast just unrolled a new feature of their software that lets you compare international ticket prices. You could search for them before, mind you, it’s just that you couldn’t compare and research them.

According to this year’s pile of data, international prices are 11% higher than 2007, with the ChicagoParis route showing the steepest increase of 23%. Of course this doesn’t factor any sale fares into the equation, which could be outside of the norm and which many bargain hunters will end up booking.

And that’s much of the reason that I’ve been slow to adopt Farecast’s mechanism. So many international tickets that I purchase are booked on sale and last minute fares that the canonical data they provide are useless for me. But if you’d like to get a good ballpark price for how much your tickets are going to cost, give it a go.