Do you follow a zillion travel blogs for inspiration? Do you prefer the eye appealing Pinspiration? Are you a trip advisor kind of traveller? Or do you prefer trusted guides on paper? Or do you go on full service tours and excursions that take the research out of it?
I’m sure most people, like me, use a mixture of all of the above. I love reading about other people’s trips, and have found real off the beaten path gems on blogs I read. On the other hand, one person’s amazing experience may not be the right one for me, and since generally most travel bloggers don’t have time to visit all the restaurants a city has to offer (or even a decent percentage) there’s no knowing if it’s the best option! Which is where review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp come in.
I always check the reviews of hotels and restaurants before staying…after all you don’t want to find out about the funky smell/bedbugs/mouldy shower when it’s too late. The problem with starting on Tripadvisor is that it’s just overwhelming. With so many places with 4 and 5 dots…who has time to pore over the reviews? It’s like a black hole of information…where you can spend hours! Which leads me to the next step in my research which is usually travel guides. Fortunately, my local library has a wealth of them, most reasonably recent.
I’m a fan of Rough Guides, Lonely Planet and Rick Steves… I like Lonely Planet’s city guides, I find them easy to use and filled with pertinent information but not much fluff. The draw back I’ve found is that they’re often optimistic about the merits of some sights and museums, which can lead to disappointment and frustration. The Rick Steves guides are written for an American audience, but I like them because they’re brutally honest about what is worth seeing and what isn’t. I’m not always a fan of the hotel choices though…I’m not of the mind that quaint is always better. Travel research is a process, fortunately a fun one!
Where do you find your travel info? What is your best travel resource?