I was just going through my bookmarks the other day when I noted how limited my sources of travel information/help were! Maybe that doesn't speak much about me
Here's a brief on what I use, and a small personal opinion on each!
Pros: Visa's, borders and routes, can't get more updated than here.
Cons: Highly opinionated users a times, a lot of smart assed comments.
Pros: Genuine opinions, fresh ideas and non argumentative views.
Con's: More long stay members needed, certain country areas lacking in informative people.
Pro's: Articles and travel deals
Cons: Travel help section is dire, they constantly bash LP
Pro's: Articles can be interesting
Con: Opinionated and self congratulatory, again forum is dire.
Pro's: Historic, and facts are good.
Con's: There's only so much after that.
Okay I think that's it?!! I always thought I had more Lot's of blogs with snip its of info and so on but no real core online travel info/help sites after the above.
So that said, I am interested in know what do others of you out there use?
I totally agree about thorn tree - I never go on it anymore, as I got fed up of all the sarcastic and smart arsed comments. I also don't think the forums are user-friendly at all - there is too much to plough through.
Virtual tourist is ok for certain things, but again there is so much info to plough through. for example often there are 1000s of 'tips' about a place - who can be bothered to read through all of them to find the useful ones!?
I use Trip Advisor to check out reviews of a place if I'm booking accommodation.
TP is the one I spend pretty much all my time on. I guess as the site grows it will get more and more longer staying members and more people who can provide info about more places.
I scan the usual ones (TT, TA, TP, VT, Travelfish (SE Asia) and even a few where I feel totally out of my zone like Frommer's), but most of my time is spent on Tripadvisor cause it's so comprehensive. I think TP has the best potential because it's run by intelligent people (TA is owned by the mega-Expedia), and TT is a totally lost cause!
I guess I'm also an airline junkie, and I go to Flyertalk because I'm interested in specific airlines, and Airliners.net civil aviation forum, The Wall Street Journal has an interesting site in the Middleseat blog, and a new one I found just today:
I'll have to check out Matador - never even heard of it?
thanks for the tip - we needed such a discussion too.
By the way, the absolute worst travel forum is on Craigslist - unbelievable!
[ Edit: Edited on Oct 3, 2008, at 11:55 PM by Daawgon ]
You are right about Thorn Tree, there is so much information on there but I usually find what I need about border crossing etc.
Whenever I post on TT I have to start by saying 'I have used the search but nothing came up...' otherwise the 'regulars' on some of the boards can be very nasty. Also on some of the boards (the Thailand one springs to mind) the regulars are incapable of giving an unbiased view...they love the place and can't see any faults, so when someone posts comments which aren't glowing reviews that person get jumped on straight away and they can be pretty nasty.
On Travellerspoint for example, I don't think since I joined in 2004, I have ever seen anything like what goes on on the boards of TT. TP has been a fantastic resource and as Bex says, as the site keeps growing more travellers will join and be able to give tips on the more unusual destinations!
The other site I use is my travel blog site whic I like because it gives people's honest opinions on their destinations and because there are so many people publishing it is easy to get an overall view of a destination. This is how we planned our China section of our trip and we found it spot on. It's also very easy to contact blog writers for advice. We have been contacted a lot and are always willing to help with border crossing/bus timetables/accommodation advice!
Other than these sites, we don't really use any other online travel resources, TripAdvisor can be unreliable for reviews (with some people possibly being paid to put reviews on) and Virtual Tourist just has too much on there for me to be bothered to wade through it all.
Without seeming like a suck, I have to say that TP is always my first port of call when looking for travel information or advice. Certainly I haven't come across any other forum where the members are so helpful and honest with the advice they give. Sure I'll jump about other sites to get ideas about destinations, but I think over time the TP Travel Guide will grow to be as good, if not better, than some of the other sites out there.
Post 6 was removed by a moderator
I will be completely unhelpful and say TP is the only site I use. I browsed through the GAP Adventure site (as we're off with them in a month), but I found it difficult to find info and none too active. It was polite, but there was no sense of community.
As I've mentioned before, I browse a lot of advertising sites for work, and so many degenerate into bitter, smart-ass, holier-that-thou commentary. I've vowed never to go back to quite a few, no matter how helpful they might be. People have been left to run rampant and they do--its terrible and demotivating. TP is honest, patient, extremely helpful and fun, too. It's like asking a bunch of travel-knowlegeable friends for help. I've always had my questions answered with great detail and care. And I've made a few friends along the way.
90% of my travel information I still get from dead trees, specifically lonely planet. For specific questions I have beyond that (or when at the very initial planning stage, before I go out to buy LPs, or when doing a short city trip and there's no LP available for that one city), the forum here covers pretty much all of it, while wikitravel is great for an initial overview.
I've resorted to asking at Thorn Tree twice, and both times the results were completely unsatisfactory, so I don't think I'll go bother with them again.
The big exception to all of the above is reviews for specific ho(s)tels, where Google is my tool of first resort. Because of that I've grown to completely loathe tripadvisor, as all its localized versions clutter up the search results (fittingly, for a website that's that cluttered itself), and 90% of the actual "reviews" on there are worse than useless. I really wish more people would start using the option to review accommodation here on travellerspoint, especially since I know I can trust all of the regular members here. (Even if you stayed at a place five years ago, a review saying "five years ago this place was really good/bad" would be more helpful than nothing.)
[ Edit: Edited on Oct 4, 2008, at 11:45 AM by Sander ]
I usually come up with ideas myself, and then start reading in the LP guides in the local bookstore. If I can't find something, I will ask here at TP, and/or for some specific questions about countries which are less visited, I add the question at the Thorn Tree, which works good for me.
Hiyas, I source information from many of the aforementioned sites, each having their own niche strengths. I do like TP for its layout and how it tries to group many things into the one site without the clutter... I have found however that TP is a bit light on information and the number of through-put travellers, ie. travellers currently on-the-road from specific places isn't ideal, but IMHO this site has great potential...