Let’s face it – While Travel Guide Books can be a good resource or very handy reference when you’re traveling, unfortunately most of the information is not up to date. If you want current and in depth information on specific destinations including hotel and restuarant reviews, touring options etc from a traveler’s (and consumers) point of view, I suggest that you do some research online.
There are numerous online travel forums, online travel communities and travel portals available where travelers share their tips, recommendations and advice with fellow travelers.
As Traveler and a Travel professional, I utilize these travel forums when doing both research on my own personal travels or on behalf of a client. My favorite travel forums are – Thorn Tree, TripAdvisor, TravelFish and VirtualTourist.
Each of these travel forums are very unique and presented in a somewhat different format. See below
- Thorn Tree Travel Forum
One of the most useful forums, it is geared primarily to the younger and budget oriented traveler. In their forums, travelers seek advice from other travelers on a variety of topics. If you go to Thorn Tree, you’ll find some very interesting and active conversations (threads) going on. Thorn Tree is part of Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide book publisher in the world.
Probably the most popular and well known travel forum online, this is the place to go when researching hotels. On TripAdvisor, fellow travelers contribute their unbiased reviews on hotels, guesthouses, B & B and specialty lodging around the world. TripAdvisor caters to a slightly more upscale and older traveler than Lonely Planet.
Unlike other travel forums mentioned here, Travelfish does not cover the whole world. Travelfish deals exclusively with Southeast Asia and caters primarily to the budget traveler - backpackers and flashpackers - and to those travelers who are interested in an off the beaten path experience. The editors have compiled quite a list of guesthouses and budget hotels in each locale - and their reviews are usually spot on.
This is not really a travel forum per se like Lonely Planet or even TripAdvisor, but an Online Travel Community. On VirtualTourist, travelers from around the world share their insight and travel recommendations on various destinations. Travelers submit a destination or trip review based on their own travel experiences, often accompanied by trip photos.
Curiuously enough, TripAdvisor is owned by Expedia.com and in 2008, TripAdvisor acquired VirtualTourist. Talk about a Travel Conglomerate!