Saturday, March 14, 2015

Where to find reliable travel information

When most people are planning a trip, they head directly to the Internet for travel advice. While the Internet is a valuable tool in helping your find the information you are looking for, you need to be a bit careful about which sites you choose to get your information from. There are some sites that are purely promotional and some that are even downright deceptive. It isn't like the old days when you could trust your travel agent to know what they were telling you, if you get bad advice on the Internet, you have no one to complain to when you return.

Tourist boards or CVBs

The local tourist board or convention and visitor bureau is a good place to look at for unbiased information about just about any destination. While their job is to promote their area, they don’t usually promote one business over another. They have criteria for being included on their site making these preferable to tour operators who just want to sell you something. Most major cities, states, regions and countries have comprehensive websites that can help you with your planning. 
A view of the English countryside from Bolsover Castle
Travel agents

Many travel agents are expert in particular areas. The trick here is to find one who is an expert in where you want to go or do. There are many agents who are cruise experts and other experts on the major theme parks. Picking your travel agent is not easy and requires research but if you find the right one, they can give you advice and insights that will be of great value to you.

Friends and family

At the end of the day, the most reliable source of travel advice is someone who has actually traveled to the place or places where you want to go. A friend or a member of the family who has traveled there is a reliable source of information and advice. Ask around, get tips, pick their brains and keep notes of the information that they give you. You also need to ask the right questions. 

If you are traveling with your family and the person you are talking to is a party loving single, you may have very different expectations of your travel. Business travelers are looking for different amenities than travelers who are planning to relax and enjoy the scenery. Try to use family and friends who have similar tastes to yours when looking for advice. When in doubt, give me a call. lol

The skyline of Richmond Virginia

There are many sites that offer reviews. When it comes to accommodation reviews, is a good source of information. Not that all the information is to be trusted, it is not. When reading reviews of a hotel or bed and breakfast that you are considering, look at the number of reviews that the reviewer has written overall. If this reviewer has only this one glowing or scathing review, just keep looking. 

People often want to promote a place or to trash the competition whose reviews make it onto this site. Read more than one review and look at the date that the review was written. One bad review should not discourage you from using an accommodation if all the others are good. Some people are impossible to please, If however, there is a pattern of problems, run, don’t walk, in the other direction

These are just a few of the places to look for reliable travel information. There are thousands of travel books that are reliable. Be sure to check the date that the book was printed however, since these go out of date very quickly. The restaurant you read about and think you must visit, may have closed a year or two ago. One or a combination of several sources should give you all that you need to have a great travel experience.

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