~One of the methods I have been using for help with research into my forthcoming trip is social networks geared around travel enthusiasts.
You will no doubt be familiar with social network sites like MySpace, Facebook and the more recent phenomenon – Twitter. These sites are very general in their nature and makeup in that they attract and appeal to a huge broad range of users. However, if you are currently researching your next vacation, these sites (and the many others like them), may not be the best way to connect with travellers who have already visited the locations you are planning to travel to.
To connect with travellers all over the world, you need to join one or more of the many travel related social networking sites available online. I myself am a member of the Trip Advisor forums, BootsnAll, and the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree forums. But there are many more. Thankfully, John Van Kirk, the Travel Answer Man has put together a list of ten of the best travel social networking sites, which includes the three I am signed up with.
Along with the three already mentioned, John includes Dopplr – a site which lets users create trip itineraries and find travel tips created by other travellers; Trip Wolf – which is similar to Facebook for travel because of its “friends” and “travelers” features; and Virtual Tourist – which John claims is the web’s largest travel community and social network, although I suspect Trip Advisor might question this claim.
All these sites have many common features such as the ability to ask questions in location specific forums; the ability to post reviews of hotels, café’s and restaurants, and almost anything else; space to upload trip photographs; the capacity to plan trip itineraries, and many more features. Of course these sites work best when you contribute to the discussions, reviews, and other areas of the sites where input is encouraged by travellers just like you.
Even if you are yet to travel away from your own home town, you can make positive contributions by joining discussions related to your home town or city. After all, those who are best placed to write about a particular location, are the locals. So get involved, and join a world wide community of travellers. You’ll be glad you did.