Besides AO, what other websites do you use to research places? I usually check out Lonely Planet, National Geographic, official tourism portals, and random blogs that Google suggests in relation to the specific place I’m interested in. Any suggestions?
If I’m visiting a large or very touristy city I’ve been to before, but intend to explore a new neighborhood, the “hosts’ suggestions” on Airbnb are often pretty good. If you get a feeling that they are locals recommending the places they themselves go to you can’t go wrong.
Tripadvisor’s “things to do in X” is great for places you don’t know much about. When used for tourism meccas like Paris, it’s good to look past the first 20 results or so to start finding more hidden gems.
Well it depends but if I’m visiting somewhere in the UK that I plan to write an entry for then I usually use an old digitised newspaper archive called “Gale Primary sources” to check out the local history.
So far I’ve used it for free but via my university library online , so unfortunately I think it might be a paid service if used outside of an academic institution. I really reccomend it though as I’ve used it for amateur sleuth research into local history of murders and historic events.
Outside of the UK there are lots of blogs , also “Google scholar” and Jstor for academic style papers. Plus just old school sources like old books if they are to hand for reference.
Re official tourism websites: I heartily endorse these for secondary and tertiary regional cities. They are a trusty way to answer the what should I not miss? question for places where the larger travel media ecosystem offers patchy coverage. Here is a wonderful recent example from when I was in Trieste. The page features a downloadble map of the best places to experience the thrill of the local Northern Wind!!!
That all said, official tourism literature for primary cities is untrustworthy as a rule. The old logic of the “tourist trap” maintains here, and you’re all too likely to end up at a once-great site that is now surrounded by a shopping district, the merchants of which are the drivers of the tourist information.
Wikipedia and Wikivoyage are always good for getting a general picture and extra ideas and info. Wikivoyage is really good for practical stuff like travel and staying safe…
Google is my travel friend. I also like to research stuff on YouTube.
Believe it or not, Yelp can also be very useful, much like TripAdvisor.
I forgot another “hit or miss” method I use: GoogleMaps. I must disclose that I am mainly referring to places with little tourism or info. For example, I wanted to visit Masirah Island in Oman and I found that one of the most useful tools was the pictures that you can find on GoogleMaps. Scholarly articles can be useful for these places as well.
Thanks to all for the suggestions, though.
I’ve always liked WikiTravel. The articles are very straightforward with how to get in, get around, things to do, where to sleep, how to get out, etc.
“Wikitravel was the forerunner of Wikivoyage. After advertising was added to Wikitravel, the articles were copied to Wikivoyage and many editors have added new content and updates to Wikivoyage only. Wikivoyage is non-commercial, and part of the Wikimedia Foundation, along with Wikipedia.”
Please use Wikivoyage and contribute to that community instead.