Best Travel Sites Research
Khon Kaen Thailand Southeast Asia
I am hopefully going to compile and create my list of Top Travel Sites of 2006, therefore I am worried...
2006 is ending in a few days.
Last years picks were:
I go to google.com and search for terms like - Best - Top - etc and hope to find something I did not notice or remember.
I am a difficult person, hard to recommend something that I do not use and I see that most of the recommendations by these sites.... I feel or am sure the writer never used in his or her life. But, they sounded good, had the right credentials and had the proper style.
I am a traveler, I spent over 335 t0 345 days outside the USA last year ,and the year before, but doe this count? I am not sure....
(Whistle Blowing in background)
We need a ruling, what is a the "Travel Rules" on what qualifies a person as a traveler?
Do we first need to decide, are you a traveler or a tourist?
I am traveler, I do not have 24/7 Internet connections.
What I will recommend and continue to recommend are sites that I use, not what sounds good and for sure sites that are impossible to use in an Internet cafe in 15 minutes.
I have been perusing the sites, and most are not useful, they are fun, there is a huge difference, however do TOURIST have needs? Give them another beer please.
I have essential safety needs, planning needs, and go to dangerous places sometimes, there is a difference between need and a luxury tour.
So, I use site for information mostly, answering the questions, that need an answer.
Oh well, maybe the other sites are written by travel writers, I always wonder what the are doing at home in this high tech age of travel, Don't they earn enough money to travel, or are all trips free or given to them for them saying nice things...
Best Travel Sites Research
Top Travel Site Research
Katmandu, Nepal Asia
Wednesday January 17, 2007
I am trying to decide, which site going to be chosen and placed in my travel newsletter and made my Top Travel Sites of 2006, a year in review.
I have went through my collection of links on pages, bookmarks, the sites I can type into the browsers direct because I remember the link URL. Sites I search for in Google.com than go to an look at, what I have on my computer, somehow they are in my world.
CIA World Political Map
Hobo World News
en.wikipedia.org List of Low Cost Carriers
Foreign Entry Requirements
Whc.unesco.org World Heritages Sites
Forbes.com Travel PORTAL
Johnnyjet.com Travel Vortal PORTAL
Renamestar.com - Rename Photos
DCE AutoEnhance - Shrink photos from Big to Small
My evolving and changing criteria on how I choose.
1. One Hour per day on Internet is all I can use...
2. Found in search engines
3. Came into my world of view
4. Does not require bookmark, favorites.
5. Do not need a PERSONAL computer to use
7. Is not USA centric
8. Needed not fun
9. Trust, I do not feel the sites are looking out for my best interest.
10. I remember the URL
11. I bookmark it
12. One click max
13. Traveler versus Tourist
Top Travel Site Research
Kathmandu Nepal Asia
Monday January 22, 2007
I am working on my Top Travel Sites of 2006 in English, a year in Review. By do this, I learn about travel and I learn about people, a good reason to travel… hehehe and to write.
Ok, I am trying to expand my understand of why I like a Internet site, so by explaining to myself by way of writing in my journal, I learn about myself and the site, what was abstract and unclear, starts to become clear.
On CNN, there is some show about Web 2.2 or CNN trying to couple an interview with something about Flickr.com a photo-sharing site with the second generation of the Internet.
I do agree we have entered a second generation of the Internet; the Internet is about the age of a 3 year old. However, the reason and almost nothing to do with Flickr.com, and really is because of - Contextual Advertising -, which has not created a feasible way for the Internet to make money.
OK, I was thinking, the photos on the site, the photos in my newsletter are probably the biggest reason person read my newsletter. I am not going to delude myself and believe everyone love my writing, the photos help.
Show off your favorite photos to the world, securely and privately show photos
I went to Google.com and search for PHOTOS OF NEPAL.
NOTE: Flickr.com is not even in the list of mine for candidates for Top Travel Sites, I am just making sure I am not being unaware of something. It is a popular site, I do not see it as much value to a traveler. When they go home, maybe of value.
I searched for - Photos of Nepal in Google.com.
Results 31 - 40 of about 1,780,000 for photos of nepal. (0.06 seconds)
Number 33 I found this link from Flickr.com:
(Flickr.com comes up first and not a persons photos.)
Hmm, on CNN they said that Yahoo.com purchased Flickr.com, maybe I should go to Yahoo.com and search.
your favorite photos to the world, securely and privately show photos
I am not sure what Flickr.com is doing, however, my problem is their SEO - Search Engine Optimization. This site can easily be removed as a leader. They are either promoting themselves at the expense of their users, or just stupid.
The do not seem to be learning why Google.com is successful. The big thing is Google.com tries to first help their users first and take second, while I think Flickr.com take first and helps second.
Kathmandu, Nepal Asia
January 24, 2007
WikiPedia.org is one of my choices for the Top 10 Travel Sites of 2006 in English, a year in Review. I have not chosen where in the list, yet I am sure it is in the Top Ten.
It was Number ONE for the Top 10 Travel Sites of 2005, and it has not lost much ground or status if any in the last year.
I wrote this about the site in my smaller explanation last year:
FACTS - MAPS - DESTINATIONS
Facts and data, information is King.Wikipedia.org has entered the game, it is a reader edited and created Encyclopedia of information in many language and for everyone to use for free. I personally first use the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia installed on my computer first, then will by design go to the Wiki Encyclopedia online, however it is normal for me to see them in a top search results in Google.com. This is good, I do not have to hunt for them, they are trying to find me. The hit a home run when I discovered a well compiled and complete list of LCC - Low Cost Carriers - These are the cheapest of the cheap airlines, and NOT listed or sold normally by travel agents, you will not find these airlines in Orbitz, Travelocity or Expedia.com. However you will find them in the WIKI - Wikipedia.org
So, what do I think a year later?
I am doing this as one of them MORE things, to create a link whereby a person could read more. Therefore when I publish the year in review for 2006, they will go to this link.
A friend was giving me the test of my thoughts, she said, what is your criteria, why, what are the rules, what or how do you make the choices. She did not like my answer,
- It is my opinion. -
She gave me, told me a different opinion, on my opinion. But, she was saying you are a travel writer, I start to push and shove, saying I am not, but I started to think about her intention. She was saying, you are writing to tell somebody your choices, so by technical default, I am writing about travel and I cannot evade.
Ok, why do I like Wikipedia.org, well first, I do not have to go looking for them. They have designed one of the perfect SEO sites, the search engines like Google.com and Yahoo.com love them. IF and when I forget to go Wikipedia.org, then Wiki come to me, it is a search result in Google.com.
I have surfed around on some other sites, trying to find or discover what the experts have to say, I have not really found WikiPedia.org, however, I have found WikiTravel.com. Maybe some type of nebulous relative.
Who has time to figure out, not me, I have a room in an Internet cafe, it just does not work.
WikiPedia.org is on the destination label of travel, or sides up and annies up when you are trying to choose a destination. If I am planning a trip to Africa, I can get great insight into how and where to visit by going to WikiPedia.org.
Travel is not a Hotel, travel is about visiting countries, locations and destinations. I sometimes think people should just go down to the local 5 Star Hotel and take a week vacation, and forget to spend the cash to travel. If you don't leave the resort or hotel, then probably the best resorts are in the USA, no culture clash.
However, if you are going to leave the resort, then better get on WikiPedia.org and learn a little or a lot about where you are going.
Encyclopedia.... it is an online Encyclopedia. It is a tool to learn, and an extremely valuable one, probably the worlds most comprehensive and well managed and categorized place to learn.
Only the Internet has more...
What is wrong with the WikiPedia.org?
The do not send me a set of DVD 0r CD Rom so I can use in the Jungle. I so far need an Internet cafe to use. This is a want, not a need.
Note, if you call yourself the intellectual type, then if you want to be a player, you should be aware of WikiPedia.org.
Thank you to all the contributors of WikiPedia.org
I need to create some sub-categories and expand this list, because some of the readers do only care about Hotels and Airplanes.
Pokhara, Nepal Asia
February 4, 2007
Airfare Booking Site
(Note, I have never purchased a ticket on this site, but I use all the time.)
I am again trying to get a complete thought, I have just stumbled time after time on the idea of what is the Top Travel Sites of 2006 in the English language, and now I have added for Travelers, not Tourist
I am working on criteria, but I will get this done this week.
Ok, McFlight.de is a German site, however also in English, you can buy a ticket and Airplane ticket in English. However, you need to click on the small English link.
One of my criteria is easy to remember, and McFlight.de is easy, the de on the end stands for Deutschland the real name of Germany, in the German Language, I have no idea how or why they change names.
I want a guide, I want to know more or less, what a good price to pay for a plane ticket is, and then I can either buy from an agent, or hopefully go directly to the site recommended.
It is amazing the extreme difference between McFlight.de and the normal run of the mill USA search for plane tickets sites. One very large difference is you have two choices, you can search for available tickets or seats available, or you can search for just what prices are available.
Therefore, you need to learn both ways, what is available, and which flights have seats. I then do a search on the air carrier and try to buy direct online.
This is real; I want to buy a one-way air ticket from Delhi, India to Accra, Ghana on February 27, 2007. Note, a one-way ticket for half the price of a normal ticket is normally available anywhere in the world and the travel agents lie.
I did all these searches on the same day, and from Nepal, sometimes airlines block ticket purchases from some countries…!
I want to know two things, what are possible good prices and then second if a ticket is available. A ticket possible, and I can get on a waiting list, however the normal site does not tell you this, they only tell the high priced available, not what price is possible.
Kayak.com HAS, very good, however for 1338 US dollars, nice they gave in dollars. A good site, maybe ok in the USA.
Kayak.com - I gave the link because maybe a contender in ways.
Mcflight.de, about 500 Euros or 750 US dollars.
Ok, now the available seats are with Ethiopia Airlines, I could book, however I do not. I go to Ethiopia direct and see what is up.
I find in the end, I can fly with Ethiopia Airlines from Mumbai to Accra for about 450 US Dollars. Ethiopia Airlines.
I find I can use a Low Cost Carrier from Delhi to Mumbai for about 59 dollars.
I find I could have flown with an Agent Ticket from Chicago to Accra for 750 US dollars.
(If you know the good price, then an Agent purchased ticket is better, they will warn you hopefully about Visas, need of onward tickets, military coups and other fun things, we HOPE.)
I am getting a ticket for around 550 US, could have purchased on Mcflight.de for about 750 US, but need to check many times, as seats come available.
However, I like Mcflight, it give me a fair and target price to pay. I can then go to a travel agent, or online and keep trying. It is a great site; however, E Tickets are not always possible.
It does not search the Low Cost Carriers.
I use it all the time, and is in my Top Ten Sites of 2006, what position I am not sure. I am sort of dwelling on what is necessary. Is knowing about the location with Wikipedia.org more important, than buying a plane ticket?
To choose this site, I had to overcome my prejudices, thinking it is in German first, and not mainstream, and second how I use is complicated. I am saying to myself too difficult and the normal public is not smart enough. However, when it comes to the bottom line, I use this site, and forget what I think, the - What I use - test is more important than what I think or feel, or prejudge.
I try to post all my idea on this page:
Around The World Airfares
Pokjara, Nepal Asia
Monday, February 5, 2007
This is one of my Top 10 Travel Sites of 2006 pages, not sure of the priority or number. I am sussing out the criteria better this year and realized when I said, this list of for the true travelers and not for tourist; I knew this page must be included.
I think there are at least 312 x 312 needed pages to cover the Visa, Passport, Entry Visa, and Tourist Card and in the end, the question is, what do I need to do to get permission to enter a country.
97,344 combinations with a guess of 312 countries, enclaves, islands and autonomous regions.
Therefore, if you are from Ethiopia and you want to go to Chile, which is one combination question. The answers would change by the minute.
Now, Embassypages.com does not give that specific of help, but I think it is as close as I have seen on any site. It will tell you
Embassies in the country, as an example, maybe the USA, England, and Germany have an Embassy, Consulate, or something that issues visas, maybe in the country.
Embassies abroad or where does the USA have Embassies, which countries does Ethiopia have Embassies in?
This person that made the site, I think from Denmark, has an extreme capacity for detail and organization, just a remarkable collection of information.
A little hard to find, but nonetheless a true guru type site, a bookmark, write down, never forget the link address when you travel site.
Knowing all the rules of entering a country is not easy, a rule of thumb, if they let you on the plane, you probably have a good chance of entering… hehehe
At the border, as Stellan my Swede friend riding a bike around Africa said, if you wait long enough, they will let you in, change of shift, etc.
Contrary to anything you think, most countries want you to enter, and will find a way to allow you to enter.
I do encourage this person to make a PDA version of this or computer version so I can download and use when I do not have internet access.
As a note, most Travel Agents has some computer way to show you whether you can enter a country, but beware, travel agents have to me a 50/50 success rate. Either they lie, or they do not know how to use, so you need to get collaboration.
Three down, seven to go.
Pokjara, Nepal Asia
February 5, 2007
Reference - Planning - Facts and Data
This is one of my Top Travel Sites of 2006 in the English language and for travelers, not tourist. I suppose or would think the requirements of a traveler supersedes the requirements of a tourist so would encompass tourist.
I would be hard pressed in a way to say which site is really more valuable, Wikipedia.org or About.com.
I like facts, Wiki is more about facts, and data, while About.com is explaining. The big difference is About.com has some professionals they pay to answer questions. While Wiki has people that enter free information. Wiki does not push external links, therefore they are saying to me the public.
Stay on WIKI, you cannot leave.
While ABOUT.com say, here are are specially selected choice of best links chosen by a PRO.
WIKI can snub a PRO and is in many way, ANTI- anything big, so they would negate the value of Bill Gates... I was laughing, when I was at the WIKI convention in Frankfurt, it seems like most of the techies had Macs, the anti-PC anti-Microsoft solution.
I just had a real life experience, I want to find out about Mobile Offices, or how to access the Internet from anywhere, any way I do it, it keeps leading me back to About.com.
Mobile Office on About.com
There is a different between having a professional keep the focus and limit the areas, it keeps me from accidentally getting off focus. Wiki is good for unfocused searches, however on focused idea, then about.com is better.
What is exceptional about, about.com is they will often recommend newsletters.
RSS Feeds are pretty much worthless when traveling, however a newsletter can be of valuable. I can read a newsletter without an Internet connection, while RSS seems to need an Internet connection.
The last thing I have is an Internet connection all the time, sounds good, but if you say you are a traveler and you always have an Internet connection, I am not sure I would call you a traveler, maybe a tourist or a 5 Star Hilton person.
Last time I was on the Amazon, it did not have WIFI, Internet, or probably even a cell phone connection.
I go CONGO River, how?
About.com is focused, then they are focused on who you are, are you as Student, are you a Tourist, are you a Traveler, are you someone, then they tell you About it!
So they talk and focus on the subject and tell you about the subject. There are subjects that are related to a something, and a person that is NOT a pro would never see the relationships.
A pro needs called in to say, yep, we covered all the possible related subjects. Wiki does a great job, I just cannot figure out how to find the PRO. With About.com I can go to a bio page and write the pro, and we can do a pay thing.
I use PRO stuff, I use a Guidebook, I use Travel Agents, I will pay for advice.
Wiki makes me nervous, you make them angry, and you could have a world of hurt if the Wiki wanna be Pros decided to attack. There are many true Pros is WIKI, however for the most part just average persons with some special knowledge they scraped from another site and paraphrased to get away from copyright infringements. Therefore, they took from the Pro and put on Wiki.
About.com give you the PRO version of Wiki, with a twist. This is a professional site and comes up easy in Google.com, and is very easy to remember how to spell so I can type into a browser when I do not have a bookmark.
Katmandu Nepal Asia
February 10, 2007
Talk to people in other countries, almost free, just the cost of the internet. I can call from anywhere to the USA for two cents US per minute.
This is one of my choices for Top Travel Sites of 2006, a year in review for sites in the English Language. A list of needed sites for travelers, not generally for tourist, however surely encompasses their needs.
Tourist because of only going on two to four week vacations normally do not have needs, more wants. The return ticket guarantees they are programmed and hard coded in their thinking.
Not a new idea, however finally one that works, seems to earn money and I hope stays in business. Now, they have competition from companies like yahoo.com, and the prices shall drop.
Talking to people from internet connection to internet connection is not a new idea.
Calling a person from the internet is not a new idea, there has been many. I sent what I labeled a Hot Tip.
DATE: July 17, 2000
TITLE: Andy's Travel Tips HOT TIP
There were two sites where I could call the USA and a landline free.
Hottelephone.com Europe, and USA
I clicked on Dialpad.com and it looks like yahoo.com purchased the site:
It also appears that Yahoo.com is cheaper than Skype.com.
Why I like Skype.com is because of a few reason, however the big reason is because they have made the words,
- Skype.com - well know, the internet cafes, the managers know these words.
They can point at a machine that has the program downloaded, and IF I am lucky it works. Skype.com requires many configurations, and everything needs to work perfect. There is no guarantee.
I would guess in ANY internet café, it would work about 10 percent of the time or less when the internet café are NOT offering Skype.com.
For the internet cafés that are offering Skype, I would say you have about a 50 - 50 chance, and better if you call in the early morning, not at 7:00 at night when every other person in the country is on the internet.
There are many problems, however this is a great service, and I can call the USA for 2 cents per minute.
I could talk all day about how to use Skype.com. I will write a tip about this in my newsletter eventually. I am leaning towards the idea of just the warnings.
Log off, or another person can call and you pay!
Yahoo.com has a good system, I am sure it would work, however the Skype.com is the trendy and regularly known system. On the internet the bigger the better is my method of choosing sites. I like big sites, that stay in business, function and I can somewhat depend on.
I remember, Dialpad.com stopped the free calls.
I hope that the computer-to-computer for free call or internet to internet will remain free. I hope, however the propensity for companies to offer dreams on the internet, then take them back is almost a standard. I almost never believe in free anymore.
Katmandu, Nepal Asia
February 11, 2007
The Lonely Planet Guidebook, one I use regularly, however I am going to use Roughguide for Africa this time in an attempt to find cheaper rooms has a Forum.
Lonely Planet Thorntree Forum
This is one of my choices, the FORUM, not the Lonely Planet general site, for Top Travel Sites of 2006 in the English Language, a year in review, for travelers, not tourist.
A Forum is an Internet toy, where by a person can post a question, and get an answer. The Lonely Planet forum takes some work, you need to sign up, get a password, learn how it works, etc.
Something best done at home with a free connection…
The keep bumping me out of this, as I do not get online, I do not know why I have to keep registering.
Oh, well, the bottom line for a TRAVELER, and I would almost say a tourist should not use this Forum. The problem is there are many Hotels, Travel Agents, and people hanging around in this site trying indirectly soliciting clients. They pretend they are a person posting and recommend themselves.
However, IF you wished to go to the Congo, or Iraq, or some place where the Lonely Planet paper version of the guidebook is not much value. With a lot of time, with a lot of patience and planning way ahead, you can get some answers. Not normally good answers, but a GUIDE, not an answer. Some ideas that can steer you towards the correct answers, it is your choice; I do not recommend you just trust people on this Forum, it is just help.
I have many bad answers, they told me the border or Silopi, Turkey was absolutely closed when I entered Iraq, it was not, and I did not believe and found the correct answer.
I posted here on December 26, of 2006 and it is now February 11 of 2007. I think these posts disappear over time, I am not positive.
Congo River Post
Nonetheless, this is a great way to find some ideas.
YOU NEED TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE POST!
Unless, like some people, and they get addicted, and they sit around monitoring and posting you need to subscribe to the post you wish to monitor. Then in a very good way, Lonely Planet sends you the new ideas by email, this works great.
Therefore, this is how I use this Forum, I will post and idea or find the same question.
Subscribe to the post, and then wait and hope.
Sometimes I go and clarify, or ask again in different ways, I am extremely careful, this is just somebody on the Internet that thinks they know the answer, which does not even mean they have been to the place. It is similar to the Wiki people; they go out collect answers, and then go post from other websites. Look and read, are they extremely specific, a good person will say they did this on this date, at this city, went to this hotel. The person that is honest will say both good and bad, if the whole answer is good, beware.
I want to say - Caveat Emptor, but this is NOT a purchase thing, however, if you are on the main Lonely Planet part, then this applies.
I want to say,
- Reader Beware -
Post a comment.. please?
The Internet is full of person without a life, who spends too much time floating around trying to appear as experts. I write ideas, I post them, and I make tons of errors. I would love to know a way to tell a person and they believe me, this is just my opinions, take it or leave it.
I am writing in my online, I am not trying to be an answer to all questions; I am just giving some ideas and guides. I am sure there are better answers.
However, there is something about the written word, people believe Newspapers, and the TV, they are in my opinion becoming on par with Car Salesmen, Taxi Drivers etc.
The internet is not to be trusted, it is to be used as a guide, the world if full of unscrupulous people who will tell you anything for a buck or in a ridiculous vain to appear intelligent.
Nevertheless, if you are going to Iraq, going to the Congo, or way off the beaten path, then I recommend you get on the Lonely Planet Thorntree and post some questions. Then make your own choices, engage brain.
HoboTraveler.com has my version of a lopsided Forum, it is a way for me to keep ideas organized. We are now calling it the Help Center. The idea is you ask me a question and someday, not today, maybe tomorrow, maybe never I will answer or say, I do not know, or give you a link.
What I want is a place where very specific questions a Q and A exist on many subject, then I can go and see if my answers are there. This is Hobo attempt to stay better organized, therefore, a real traveler can find the information quicker without having to hang around and check the site. I do not want a traveler to have to get on my site daily to find answers. We have a three click policy, we want you to get to your idea in three clicks and leave. This is our hope, not what is reality now, but we hope.