How To Find Good Sources For Travel Research

How To Find Good Sources For Travel Research

June 27, 2022 in Engineering Around Travel

Knowledge is power. In this day of bountiful sources of information, finding the correct information to trust can prove challenging. Fake knowledge is debilitating. With our travels, we’ve explored many solutions to help make travel planning easier. We hope to share our in-depth experience here with you. Let’s explore how to find good sources for travel research.

Also, check out our high-level overview of travel planning and creating an itinerary here. Also, note that Travel-Wise is built from the ground up to aid with travel planning, research, and community, and we truly hope it’ll inspire your next adventure. Travel-Wise now includes country wikis that will help give you relevant links and information for good sources of information on a destination to help with your planning. Here is an example of preparing to travel to the United States.

Also, check out our high-level overview of travel planning and creating an itinerary here.

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Government and official tourism agencies

My top recommendation for trusted information will always be official agencies administered by the government that publish information specifically for inbound travelers. The information is always the most up-to-date (with limitations to world events, of course). You’ll find all sorts of stale and old information across the internet, but the government websites are the most reliable. That is why my first stop is the official websites when I start looking for information on safety concerns, visas for travel, laws, and regulation.

Best used for

  • The current procedure, regulation, and costs of acquiring a visa and entering clearance.
  • Some countries have current and up-to-date travel advisories around safety topics for travelers. This information, if available, is trustworthy.

Books

Books are the most detailed and accurate source of information. They are full of diverse amounts of information and are often more than you need in detail. The problem with books is that they can go stale within a few years. Of course, nations, nature, and people don’t change that fast; but details here and there go stale.

Also, the book’s author may not align with your travel persona. This is important. They may not speak to or cover activities, topics, or points of interest that say to you. As a result, you may buy a book and end up feeling it didn’t cover some of the essential pieces you were looking for. Still, books used to be one of my staples.

We own a lot of Lonely Planet travel guides, Mountaineering, and scuba diving books to aid in our travels. Because it is challenging to publish a book, the process of getting a book out fleshes out and information a lot. However, backed by solid book ratings and recommendations, books are still an excellent information backbone.

Best used for

  • A starting point for consideration is if there is a recent (within the last 15 years) book that covers the area comprehensively.

Travel Agents

Travel Agents are professionals in the field who help you do the travel planning for you. It is their job, and they often will have experienced everything they recommend to you. They can tell you about most of the activities in great detail. Because travel is centered around businesses, people, and agencies, travel agents tend to specialize in specific areas of travel. Therefore, they know a lot about a specific place or style of travel. This experience in and of itself is of great value for your travel planning. You might even be interested in working with them to buy one of their packages and have all the planning done for you. The packages usually do not cost much or are competitive with your book rates due to affiliate deals with travel agencies.

The problem with travel agents comes back to your travel persona. They may not be a good match for your interests and, because of that, might prescribe you a trip they loved. It might not work for you, though. Every travel agent is different, and some may be flexible in dealing with this. Being a good travel agent is a skill, and finding a good travel agent who works for you can be challenging.

Still, if you find a travel agent who specializes in the place or type of travel you are interested in, you can count on good information. Nothing beats raw experience, and being able to ask your questions to someone directly can help prepare you much better than a book or other sources. If a package works for you, your planning got automated as well! However, remember that these packages are struck through deals and are often not always flexible as if you booked yourself.

Best used for

  • Pre-packaged deals or custom-made to help with travel planning.
  • Knowledgeable travel expert that would be helpful to ask many important questions with.
  • Professional and recent travel knowledge based on the agent’s expertise.

Folks Who Recently Visited

You’ll always hear of your co-workers, friends, and families traveling, and sometimes they’ve already gone to the exact place you’ve been. Asking them for their suggestions of what to visit and a copy of their itinerary is an excellent way to give you a tremendous start on your travel plans! People love to share, and having someone trusted to ask many detailed questions will help more than other sources.

The problem with getting a hold of these trusted individuals could be scheduled. I’ve found numerous times that someone had a lot to suggest, but I couldn’t quite connect to jot all their info down. It is too much to ask most people to type it up for you, and if they have not already made a formal travel itinerary for sharing with you, the information is locked in their minds. Also, taking notes live from someone is a bit hit or miss for me. I feel like I always forget about something important someone told me about. Also, your travel persona may not match yours, leaving some gaps in what you want to experience from your itinerary.

Best used for

  • The trusted source of information from their experience with surprisingly strong detail and tips will be helpful. In addition, since they know you, they can custom tailor the information for you and tell you likely what you want to hear.
  • When you have tough questions and need answers from someone who has been there.

Travel Blogs

Travel blogs are popping up around the internet and generally target specific niches. Similar to how I mentioned, travel agents focus on specialization. Travel blogs are very similar. They specialize in attracting a specific type of traveler and optimize around being found through search engines with specific keywords. Travel blogs generally try to provide genuine information similar to books. You can sometimes even reach out to the travel bloggers live and be able to ask questions with them. Similar to travel agents, travel bloggers also sometimes have packages for trips they have taken, which may help with planning similar costs to booking yourself (due to affiliate deals).

The problem with travel blogs is similar to books in that they could go stale over time. However, I do see some dedicated bloggers making sure they update their information. Although, quality over time can differ between bloggers. The blog websites are more flexible than books as any update to the information can be live within minutes versus republishing and buying a new book. You can also hand choose what areas interest you most in what to read.

Worth noting that travel bloggers always do not speak to your travel persona directly, leaving you with some holes to fill in on other websites. However, travel blogs are still excellent sources and something relatively quick and free to search on your favorite search engine. In addition, they can be excellent sources of community and information and help validate the information from other sources.

Best used for

  • Travel Bloggers often have pre-packed deals, too. If they match your travel persona, this can help with your planning.
  • Have a wealth of detailed information around their travel niche that can be as detailed as the books.
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