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About Me: My grandparents were born in the Indian Territory / Oklahoma. My parents were born in Oklahoma, as was I, my wife, my children and my grandchildren. I was an irresponsbile teenager (it was the 60's, what can I say?) but managed to mature a little. I attend the University of Oklahoma and got a BA in History and went to work for a Fortune 500 company where I was unhappy. Eventually, I went back to OU for my MBA and PhD in MIS (ABD). I became a contract programmer because I programmed much better than I published. I also became a VAR for a firm selling accounting software written in a computer language called dBase that was designed for the Intel 8088 processor. I stayed firmly seated at the grindstone and in the first years of the new millenium I decided I needed a change. I figured that if I was ever going to to do all those things I said that I wanted to do, I'd better get going. In 2005 I sold my house and business and went to truck driving school. I now drive a Big Rig - mine - and I try not to work more than 6 months a year. I make an effort to spend at least 3 months a year outside of the U.S. I'm married. My wife and I have 6 kids and 9 grandchildren. Maybe that's why I like to travel so much.

Postscript: In December, 2010 I hung up my Driver's cap for good. The road had taken its' toll. I was no longer willing to drive 180 days a year, regardless of the money and the ability to work when I wanted. I had seen America. I was tired of being gone from home for 9 months a year. I needed a rest. In 2011 I sold my truck and trailer and was unemployed for the year. However, I wasn't inactive. I traveled overseas to Asia and South America for several months. In the fall I enrolled in an online course to to become certified in Oracle, the world's preeminent database. I want to go back to work sometime in the near future as a software developer or administrator. Even though I programmed for 20+ years, my skills are dated. Fortunately, I have a little flexibility as to my future.

RollingOkie OKC, Jan 1, 2012

Accommodations - Internet References

When you travel away from home you need somewhere to sleep at night. While I've slept in airports, train stations and in cars, I don't recommend it. It's probably not very safe and it's certainly uncomfortable.

The best places to sleep are hotels. In particular, hotels with room service, a concierge and high prices are especially attractive to me. Unfortunately, unless I'm with my wife, I won't stay in one. Even when I'm with her, we tend to need a special reason to splurge. My wife isn't as frugal as I am, but she's no spendthrift. However, she does like to be comfortable.

The following are the places that I utilize when I'm looking to book lodging in a city. Normally, I only book one, two or three days in advance as I'm not always sure where I will be several days in the future when I'm overseas. The only time I tend to know where I will be and when I will be there is when I have to make a flight connection from one city to another. In my opinion, the absolute best way to get good hotel deals is to call ahead as far in advance as possible. The very best cheap hotels fill up faster than the ones that aren't so good. The very best way to find out which hotels are the best are to look at the ratings of the lodgings.

When I travel with my wife we usually stay in hotels. There are also some parts of the world, such as India, where there are very few hostels and the hotels are very cheap. When I travel in those regions I stay in hotels like everyone else.

tripadvisor is the first place I stop when I'm looking for a hotel. They list plenty, especially the ones in a price range that I decline to afford. It never ceases to amaze me how people tend to define their lives by how much luxury they're willing to afford rather than how much luxury they're willing to forego. The tripadvisor Web site will help you to find that very special $1,000 a night hotel. Fortunately for me, they can help me to find a hotel that costs under $100 a night hotel as well. Primarily, I use tripadvisor for their ratings. It is the first place I go when I'm looking for a hotel on the Internet.

Fodor's is one of the best places to go to look for hotel reviews. They should be. They've been in the tour guidebook business for decades. When I go to Fodor's and find a hotel they recommend, I often get on the Internet to find more details about the property. I've found that most of the guidebooks are fairly responsible about listing hotel properties.

Frommer's is another of the "old-school" guidebooks. I use these guidebooks to find properties that would appeal to my wife - clean, reasonably priced tourist hotels. Fodor's and Frommer's guidebooks are still business after decades for a reason. They give good advise.

Lonely Planet has a well-deserved reputation of being a backpacker's best friend. There have been many times when I arrived in a city, pulled out my Lonely Planet or Rough Guide guidebook and my cell phone and started dialing. Actually, the very best ways to find a hotel room may just be to read one or more of the guidebooks, visit the Internet to see if you can get pictures and reviews of a place and then make a decision. Just remember that, without a reservation, it's a crapshoot as to whether or not you'll find that perfect room in given city.

I stay in hostels when I travel alone. Sometimes, when I travel with my wife, we stay in a private room in a hostel. My wife will not sleep in a dormitory. Personally, I like dormitories. You get to meet some interesting people whether you want to or not. The following hostel sites are listed in the order I tend to use the sites.

Hostelling International is an international organization dedicated to hostelling. "HI is the brand name of more than 90 Youth Hostel Associations in 90 countries, operating 4,000 hostels." as they divulge on their web site. They have a really great 5 minute video entitled "Around the world in 100 hostels" that well give you an excellent overview of what hostelling is all about. HI was the first hostel I stayed in when I went overseas and I still appreciate them. They can be a little institutionalized. They can also be a little out-of-the-way and a little pricey. I still like them. I always tend to look and see if they have a property where I'm going. They are my first choice, but I do not want to give you the impression that they are always the best choice.

Hostelworld is, at present, the most comprehensive hostel booking site on the Internet. This search engine has the ability to filter results by price range, rating, type of accommodation (family room, single, double, dorm) and such other amenities as whether the property has internet access, luggage storage, restaurant, bar and whether breakfast is included. Search results can be sorted by rating, price and name. I can easily compare up to 5 hostels. It has a map view so that I can see where the hostels are located in relation to other important points in the city. They have an annoying booking fee of $2, that I don't like.

HostelBookers is very similar to Hostelworld. Actually, there is often overlap in the hostels listed. It does not have the search filter capabilities of Hostelworld, but that's not a problem for me as I can find everything I need to know on the individual pages for the hostels. I usually look on Hostelworld and Hostelbookers to get cross-verification of the reviews. If a property has good reviews on both, I usually assume that it's probably a good property. I tend to book on Hostelbookers because of Hostelworld's $2 booking fee. That's 20% of the cost of a $10 dorm bed. is another hostel booking site. It doesn't seem to have the mass (number of hostels and number of reviews) as Hostelworld and Hostelbookers and the user interface is somewhat dated. I do use it for ratings verification and it can have some listings that aren't found on Hostelworld and Hostelbookers. When I find myself going to very popular locations without a reservation, I sometimes need all the booking services I can get to help me find a bed. is not my favorite hostel booking site. The interface isn't as user friendly or up-to-date as it could be. For example, to find hostels in a city, I'm prompted to put in the city name. Not a problem, except that Bogata is not the same as Bogotá and it can't find Bogata and I have trouble entering Bogotá easily with my keyboard. Little things like that irk guys who wrote code for decades. There's more. But I will say that I use this site for verification of ratings on occasion.