I am sitting here thinking about my yearly newsletter with my picks for the Top Travel Sites, I really wish I would have researched this better.
The test for me is simple, they enter my world by way of a search in google.com, I find them, use them and think to myself, "Hmm.. pretty good, that was helpful."
However, I am having a problem because there are many types of travel sites, I suppose the big problem is the difference between a site that:
Makes you feel good. VERSUS Really helps you travel.
Or better yet, helps me travel, I am lucky I do not have a 24 hour a day high speed connection, I am sometimes glad I only have about 1-2 hours per day on the internet in some internet cafe on the other side of the planet. If I had a high-speed connection and I did not have this feeling while in the internet cafe.
" I am paying a lot of money, I have to get off this site."
Then I would or could hang around on the time consuming, makes me feel good, fun to read sites like the Lonely Planet Thorntree or some site that is of interest to me. I am thinking how many sites provide me information that competes with my guidebook, or do they even compete a little.
The site Hostelworld.com provides a good way to to get a reservation for a cheap Hostel, Hotel or something, however it does a terrible job in comparison to the guidebook, the Hostels in the guidebook are a lot cheaper. I think I am looking for a travel site that replaces the guidebook. Virtualtourist.com so far is the closest, and then http://www.travelblogs.com however they are annoying to me. Everything is more or less, something to make me feel good, and not to solve some worries.
When I go to a country, I list out the problems, then search for solutions, the fun stuff is easy, I need some good clear information on the problems, then the solutions. A paper guidebook is 90 percent better than a website, there is no comparison, a guidebook will beat any website hands down. Therefore here I am thinking, which websites nick a guidebook the best.
CONSUMER When I think about websites, I think of me, the consumer.
1. Does this site help me to find the best and cheapest hotel?I 2. Does this site help me to find the cheapest airplane ticket? 3. Does this site explain the pros and cons of a location fairly, clearly and cover all the bases?
I think I only use a website for Hotels and Airplane Tickets, after that I have no time, with the invention of the RSS feed and the Atom whatever, I have almost stopped reading newsletters, because there are no newsletters. I do not have time in an internet cafe to read these feeds, they are just too complicated... NO, the reason is they need me to be online, I am not online, in the past a newsletter was delivered to my email box, I could download and read it in my room.
Now, nothing are in the letters, only links, therefore the guidebook does better.
A person does not have a 24 hour internet connection when they travel.
The internet works better to me like an IPOD, one of them lets steal music or video and listen or watch devices. I guess they download it and listen or watch offline.
This to me is the value in someways, to download the information. I normally go to a page, save as and put on my USB thumbdrive and take it back to the room to read. I am thinking, maybe I could figure out a way to make my pages on the sites a "FREE Page Shopping Cart."
A person checks off the ones to save as, then they can save as all at once to their computer.
Bottom line is when I find information on the internet about a Hotel, it does me no good to be on the internet. It has to be printed, or copied to my computer.
Somewhere in this mess is the best websites, a site that I find when I search in Google.com, I click on the page and it is clear, one subject and not enmeshed in so many temptations I cannot remember what I am wanting to read about. So often I am finding the information for a Hotel or Hostel on five different pages. I need it all on one page to print, not on five, and I only get reservations in Europe because the place is difficult and stupid, not because I want to.
Website are trying to convince me or you that there is a need always for a reservation, this is not true.
A good webpage is about one subject, a complete thought, and very little information that competes with the theme of the page. I want to be able to print it and read on one subject. I try to do this on the blog, I try to talk about one subject and not wonder from subject to subject.
It is a little annoying to me, the more I am on the internet, the more I realize a guidebook is still the best way to find a hotel or tourist attraction. I am working on some solutions that would make me happy like flyinghobos.com and hobohideout.com, plus some form of guidebook that is hooked at the hip with a website.
This is why I am going to Bogota, I want to discuss with my friend what he thinks is the best type of guidebook for today and the future.
I am hoping to soon separate the Top Travel Sites into categories. - Best Hotel - Best Airplane - Best Tourist Destinations etc.
The problem is research or data mining, to review all the possilbe choices is going to take about 100 hours of research. I think I have figured out a way to do this cheap.