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Travel Tuesday question of the week – what’s your favorite source of travel information?

January 10, 2011
by budgettravelsac

Over the last 20 years or so, the travel industry has changed a lot.  Much of our travel information came from brochures, magazines, and books while our travel was booked through travel agents.

These days, travel information comes from a variety of sources.  Now, most of our travel information is on the internet.  And for a majority of people, travel is now booked online as well.  Websites, search engines, airfares, and internet travel information are now the main sources of our travel for many people.  Beyond information on the internet, travel has extended to social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and more.  TV shows, youtube, travel blogs, and iPods are other aspects of travel that have taken off in the last few years and been one of the fastest growing markets for travel information.

With all the travel information that is out there, what’s your favorite source of travel information?

For as much as I love travel blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and technology, my favorite source of travel is the written word in my hands – books and magazines.  I may be a bit old-fashioned but I enjoy reading up on a destination with a book in my hand or carrying a guidebook around when I travel.  I appreciate all the technology and information that is available but nothing beats a good travel book or magazine.

What do you use for travel?  Do you like more traditional methods of information or is technology a bigger source of your travel information?

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44 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2011 10:28 pm

    I never use guidebooks any more. I surf the net about my chosen destination, mostly reading blogs and forums. Anything that springs out, I make a note of it in my little pocket book and then take that with me. Probably cutting myself off from a lot of information, but because English books are so hard to come by here in Turkey, I have adapted to not using them.

    • January 11, 2011 1:26 am

      Totally understand about the lack of books in English in Turkey. This is where technology is tremendously helpful for you. 20 years ago, what would you have done living in Turkey without the internet?

  2. January 10, 2011 10:41 pm

    i must admit am lazy and i rely on the web for almost everything

    • January 11, 2011 1:25 am

      I think most people do these days. Research travel is so easy these days. With technology, social networking, websites, and blogs, it’s hard not to. However, nothing beats a good book – even for travel! :)

  3. January 11, 2011 12:00 am

    I have to agree with you , Jeremy. I do get more gratification from picking up my favorite travel mag, Budget Travel magazine. I guess old habits die hard because I love the fact that I can easily pick it up and thumb through the articles and pictures for inspiration whenever the mood hits me.

    • January 11, 2011 1:24 am

      Nothing like a good back or magazine! However, didn’t you do that review on the Kindle and how much you liked it? :)

  4. January 11, 2011 7:01 am

    Usually the internet but I do still have a soft spot for guide books. But my best source is all my well traveled friends and their advice.

    • January 11, 2011 3:38 pm

      Todd, I couldn’t do without the internet for travel. Honestly, it probably is my number one source of information. But my favorite source, especially when traveling, are books. I am somewhat against all the technology out there although it’s pretty clear I use it and embrace it. Again, I am just a bit old-fashioned and love the books.

  5. January 11, 2011 7:36 am

    I do most of initial research in a guidebook, then I hit up forums and blogs for more personalized info. But when traveling internationally, I still carry a guidebook with me. I have never traveled internationally with a smart phone though, so if I jailbreak one and have one with me on my next trip, I may not go with the trusty guidebook anymore. But there’s just something about the old school guidebooks that I just like.

    • January 11, 2011 3:57 pm

      There is so much info out there that you can’t go wrong. It’s just interesting to see what people prefer. I think the type of travel info we seek says more about us than the information itself. :)

  6. January 11, 2011 8:05 am

    I love guidebooks and travel magazines. I only use the internet for up to date information.

    • January 11, 2011 3:58 pm

      I use the internet a lot to research. I am a detailed, analytical, budget planning geek so the more information the better. However, my favorite source is indeed a book or magazine. No matter how much technology we have, there is something about reading a book or magazine in your hands!

  7. January 11, 2011 9:29 am

    I am in the Hospitality industry myself so I like to try a variety of brands when traveling on personal time, to try and experience the trends. I have actually come to rely on my Sprint Mobile Navigator search function on my phone, it gives me hotels in my proximity, rates and reviews!

    • January 11, 2011 4:05 pm

      This is where we are different. Maybe I should embrace the use of technology more when traveling but I guess this is where my planning and research come in beforehand so I don’t need it. I am sure it would be very useful at times but when traveling, I like to be as technology free as possible and enjoy my trip.

  8. Penny permalink
    January 11, 2011 10:00 am

    I like to read travel blogs, as well as Frommer’s books and website. I also reference Travel Products resources often for international travel. It’s helpful because they share information like a world electricity guide . I also like Kayak – they have a great mobile experience.

    • January 11, 2011 4:06 pm

      Travel products can be really great to use! There are many out there for people so researching those could be a great source of travel info as well!

  9. January 11, 2011 10:00 am

    I pretty much go with a good internet research (and blogs), locals word of mouth, and friends/travelers recommendations.

    • January 11, 2011 4:07 pm

      I think a majority of people travel that way. It’s always good to have information from a local or someone who has been there when that info is available. They can be great sources of what to see, do, not do, where to stay, eat, etc.

  10. January 11, 2011 10:21 am

    Google! But I also love to read books based in places that I’m going, not guide books but fiction set in an interesting location to set the mood for the place/region I’m visiting.

    • January 11, 2011 4:09 pm

      You know what’s interesting? I rarely use Google to ever look up anything. I actually like Yahoo better! I love Google’s tools though!

  11. January 11, 2011 10:45 am

    I am a web junkie. So internet in all its forms is my main source of info before a trip, and during if I can find a connection.
    Inspiration is totally random. Be it posters on a busstop or TV or books or the web as well.
    Sometimes I will get local info in hardcopy at a tourism info center, but I usually already know what I want to see and just need directions.

    • January 11, 2011 4:17 pm

      Like you, I like the planning aspect. However, I love the guidebook as well. Once I travel, I want to have the information already with me and I am actually reluctant to ask for help or more information.

  12. January 11, 2011 10:47 am

    I’m a huge fan of WikiTravel. Screw guidebooks! ;)

    • January 11, 2011 4:18 pm

      I’ve never used WikiTravel. Got to stick with books! Going with the source that’s been around for over five centuries! :) However, it’s great that there are so many options for us!

  13. January 11, 2011 10:49 am

    The interwebs fo’ sho. And, of course, all y’alls travel blogs.

    • January 11, 2011 4:19 pm

      Suck up comments are not allowed! :) The best thing about travel blogs are getting me interested in places I might not ever hear about or even think about going!

  14. January 11, 2011 11:19 am

    Jeremy, my fav is still the internet and friends who have been there. Happy New Year 2011 to you and may you have fantastic travels this year!


    • January 11, 2011 4:20 pm

      Thanks David! Same to you. Friends (biased) and the internet (biased and unbiased) are good balances for travel information!

  15. January 11, 2011 12:02 pm

    I usually try to get a general idea by searching on the internet. One of my stops there is always Better on some cities than others, but I like it. But I also like guide books. My favorite ones are the Eyewitness guides.

    • January 11, 2011 4:21 pm

      My wife loves tripadvisor. I know there is some controversy with it but it has been really good at getting a feel for accommodations. I think it’s a great tool!

  16. January 11, 2011 12:09 pm

    You know, I agree with you as well!! I love the internet and social media, but when I travel, Rick Steves and DK guidebooks are in my pockets. Great article and nice to reminisce about the “old” days…well at least for some of us!

    • January 11, 2011 4:22 pm

      I posed this question to my wife last night as to what she thought my answer would be. Her answer for me? Rick Steves. And she is absolutely correct. Whether it’s guidebooks or TV shows, he’s my favorite source of information. However, I don’t just travel to Europe but his information has shown me how much I enjoy having the information in my hand.

  17. January 11, 2011 12:13 pm

    I would have to go with the Internet. It makes things easy specially with hotel reviews etc. Although magazines are a great source too, but I never remember to refer them when I actually am about to travel.

    • January 11, 2011 4:25 pm

      I agree with you. As a planner, I use the internet more than anything. The internet is a useful tool for planning my trips. But when I travel, love the guidebook in my hand. Once I leave home, I don’t want to rely on technology that much. Heck, I’ve actually had a TomTom for over a year and never even opened it!

  18. January 11, 2011 12:38 pm

    Guide books! The internet is good but there is so much stuff out there on it that you have to work your way through a load of irrelevant stuff before you find what you are looking for. With a book its right there straight away.

    • January 11, 2011 4:26 pm

      Agree! I use other sources of information and technology is great for planning. However, a guidebook is the best. Don’t give me a kindle either!

  19. January 11, 2011 2:30 pm

    I use guide books for the maps and some general info, but rely on blogs and websites for accurate, up to date and honest info on pricing and reviews. I learned on my RTW trip never to stay at a Lonely Planet recommended hotel– their prices are years old, and the featured hotels lose all incentive to try after they’re listed. Blogs are the way to go!

    • January 11, 2011 4:34 pm

      I can’t say I have used Lonely Planet but I have heard they aren’t updated as often. When I travel, I like updated guidebooks to get the most recent information. Even in books or online, you can’t expect all the information you have to be perfect but good preparation makes for a great trip!

      As for blogs, I like them for getting me interested in destination and maybe places to see. But the details of a trip tend to go beyond just a blog.

  20. January 12, 2011 1:57 am

    Same here! We read travel blogs and websites but you just can’t beat sitting on the sofa with a good read (ie: book) in your hands. There’s something a bit more exciting and dreamy about print for me. I get lost in it and can imagine myself more in the place we’re researching.

    • January 12, 2011 9:08 pm

      Couldn’t agree more! They can throw all the technology the world has to offer at me and there are just some things technology can’t replace. One of those is a book. Another is the love of a child. I could go on and on but you get the idea.

  21. David permalink
    January 13, 2011 4:15 pm

    I have totally ditched the usual guide books “Lonely Planet” style, both paper and online after I started reading those about the places I’ve lived. What they list are usually places I wouldn’t go to even if I was paid to do so most of the time (I mean, pubs, restaurants and such).
    So nowadays, when I travel, I look for purely factual stuff online most of the time, I may get a travel guide, but one that’s culture oriented (history, etc) not tourism oriented.

    • January 13, 2011 4:34 pm

      I like the idea of culturally oriented material. I think there are guidebooks that do that and are more up-to-date than the LP ones. I am not a big fan of tourism type stuff either although some of those sites you have to visit. I prefer information about the culture and locals in a city that can give me insight on that.


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