The excitement begins building as soon as the tickets are purchased and the trip is booked. Now, the real work begins. What are you going to do once your plane lands? Where exactly will your vacation take you? Travel books can be pricey and aren’t always current or the most honest portrayal of your destination. One of the best ways, now, to do travel research is to hit the travel forums and social networks hard. Here is a sampling of some that we prefer.
Aardvark Travel – One of the most detailed and organized travel forums out there, the site is not for the feint of heart. Choose from general forum, Arrivals & Departures, The Runway, The Cockpit, Control Tower, and many others start your search; or you can just use the forum’s search function.
BootsnAll – With a tagline “The Ultimate Resource for the Independent Traveler” there’s no lying on BootsnAll. The forum is comprised of an organic community of travelers, responsible for more than 400,000 posts, more than 10,000 articles, and over 30 sites since 1999. There’s almost nothing you can’t find here, and if you really, truly can’t find it, someone online will be able to help you out.
Graffiti Wall – Could you imagine having Rick Steves walk stride in stride with you as you backpack Venice? You can’t get much closer than with Rick Steves’ Graffiti Wall travel forum. This lively community of European travelers almost offers more valuable travel information than Rick Steves’ whole site and book collection combined.
MouthfulsFood – The nice thing about MouthfulsFood Forum is that it’s almost like a social network-forum hybrid; the site lets you know how many and which users are on the site at any point in time. Since May 2007, the forum has drawn out almost 650,000 posts from nearly 2,000 members. You can search through a wide range of some of the most unique categories or look up the most recently added topics.
Thorn Tree Travel Forum – Lonely Planet does it again. Get one of their books, check in on their Web site, or, even better, engage on their forum. Search by region or country or travel topic. The site is easy to use and you can even sign up for RSS feeds for specific categories.
Travellers Point – In addition to the timely forum posts, Travellers Point combines comprehensive travel guides, travel photography, and blogs. And you can be a part of it all if you so choose. The forum’s goal is to enrich the travel experience and enrich cultural understanding.
TravelPod – Built with bloggers in mind in 1997, TravelPod has evolved to become the go-to site for the active traveler. You can give and take travel advice, as well as help improve the site by contributing to the “Topics needing more help” tab. Don’t forget to give their travel blogs a chance; they offer some blogging features not seen on most other sites.
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