Top Travel Sites of 2004

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Hobo TRAVEL TIPS - Top Travel Sites of 2004
166  January 4,  2005
TIP: Top Travel Sites of 2004
LOCATION: Trat - Koh Mak Thailand
http://www.hobotraveler.com
A Hobo trip around the world. Year 8
Write Andy a HoboTraveler.com
http://www.hobotraveler.com/formlettereditor1.php

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

~ NEWSLETTER INFORMATION
~ HOBO DAILY TRAVEL LOG a.k.a. Blog
      Travel Blog! A daily web diary of my travels.
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~ HOBO STEW (A Dish of Meat and Vegetables)

NO TSUNAMI FOR HOBO
Trat or Koh Mak Thailand

Top Travel Sites of 2004

Thank you, Lord - I'm doing fine
CONTACTING THE EDITOR a.k.a. Andy

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NO TSUNAMI FOR HOBO
Koh Mak Thailand

Happy New Year!

Next stops - Indonesia - Singapore -  Egypt -  Israel
Eastern Europe - USA - Colombia - Ecuador - etc...
Remember this will change.

Many people have written to ask if I am ok, so I decided
I needed to push out a newsletter to say I am safe on the
island of Koh Mak in Southeast Thailand close to Cambodian
border of Hat Lek. Oops left the island before I could publish
this, I am now in Trat one hour west of Cambodia.

I am OK, Life is Good! Thanks

Geez, life is full of curves and dips. I sat around trying
to choose my Top 10 Travel Sites for 2004 and could
feel the groans of disappointment both from readers
and friends. I understand my list my not be glamorous
and exciting as some list, but these are the sites I need
to travel.

But what about the others, and there are more than the
stars above, well I have made a decision.

NEXT YEAR the Top 10 Expands.

I am going to work hard, put on my thinking cap, and
take some categories and expand. I have over 150
subject on my home page that I consider important.
http://www.hobotraveler.com

Some are more important than others, but hard to say
which way I will go with this, but I am sure I will go...
So maybe I will list out the Top Ten and the my first
choice for all 150 categories, or maybe I will just
choose the Top Ten for a few select, but I will go somewhere
one way or the other.

I am going to try to move around the planet a little faster
this year and change cultures. Hopefully this will make my
life better, but will also give you a better view of the cultures
on this small planet called Earth, third rock from the Sun.

I love to meet new cultures so this is good.

Happy New Year

TSUNAMI

I was in Bangkok when the earthquake hit in Indonesia. Bangkok
is inland and very safe, but the west coast of Thailand was hit
pretty hard. I am still hearing personal stories of how people
survived. When I return to Bangkok here in a few days I am
sure there will be many people waiting to fly home.

My personal belief is they will have the Thailand resorts up
and running within 30 days, I may go inspect Phuket to see
what they look like after 20 days or so. I have never visited Phuket
mainly because it is a sex tourism area or said to be, I know if
I would tell a person I am going to Phuket they will assume it is
for the ladies. Nonetheless I now have a good excuse to visit the
resort area of Phuket.

This Tsunami or big wave caused by an earthquake is a great
example of why I recommend
http://encarta.msn.com
http://www.encyclopedia.com
as the top travel sites. With these sites I was able to learn about
learn what was not in the guidebook.

When you travel you will encounter great and wonderful things along
the path of great interest to you, but you friends may not care.
Curious people will look for answers to their questions to learn about
the planet. A good traveler will go find their own answers to the
life and the world we live in. For me the guidebook is
needed to find the cheap hotels, maps, and to start me on the path,
so it points the way and I go on from there to explore.

I hope that HoboTraveler.com site one day replaces the guidebook.

Today’s tip
Top Travel Sites of 2004

Just another day in Paradise!
PLAN YOUR ESCAPE...
Be a Hobo, and leave your mark.
      X
Hobotraveler.com was HERE!

Life is good.
The Hobotraveler.com

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Article written by Andy the Hobotraveler.com
On year 8 of Hobo trip around the world.
Budget Travel, Jobs, and Adventure, etc
Subscribe to Free Newsletter at:
http://www.hobotraveler.com
You may publish this article for Free
on the internet If this box stays attached.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
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Top 10 HoboTraveler.Com Award TOP TRAVEL SITES OF 2004
The Year in Review

By Andy of HoboTraveler.com  HOME

TOP 10 TRAVEL WEBSITES
From January 1, 2003 to January 1, 2004
Former years - 2003  2002  2001

2004 ...The year in review.
By Andy the HoboTraveler.com

January 4, 2005
Published from an Internet Cafe in Trat Thailand. Newsletter Number 166 of Hobo Travel Tips on year 8 of my world travels.

Hello,
The year 2004 was a pivotal year for the internet as it wobbles, teeters, and sways with each passing wind hoping not to fall, 2004 was the year it took its first baby steps. The internet is a loud, noisy, crying baby that takes a lot and gives very little in return. It cost lots of money, time and energy and like a baby needs fed often.

Guidebooks, magazines, books, maps, and offline materials are still the number one source of information for travelers I wish weekly if not daily to walk into my neighborhood library, peruse, muse, research, look at pictures, read some magazines, and just plain dream about the planet. I wish there was a library on the internet.

Occasionally a great traveler crosses my path and tells me the way.

HOW I LEARN TO TRAVEL?
1. Published materials first.
2. Travelers along my path second.
3. Internet is third.

Nonetheless, I am here typing on the computer on the other side of the planet. I am lucky and grateful to all the good Gods for my fortunate life.

Where to go and what to see?
This is the essential question of any traveler.

One mans paradise, is another mans hell.
This guarantees we do not all go to the same place.

All you need to travel the world is a passport and ATM Bank Card; hopefully full of money, after that you are free to wander the planet, not as difficult as you think, in fact very easy after the initial scare of leaving the country.

WHY WAS 2004 YEAR ONE FOR THE INTERNET?

This was the first year advertisers made money by using the internet. All the prior years they just fed the baby and nobody but the scammers got rich, this was the first profitable year for the internet.

BUSINESS MADE MONEY!

When business makes money, then it is possible for them to provide more benefits to their clients. This year the business made money and has started to provide a 10/90 percent ratio of value instead of the all take and no give scenario of the past. Ten percent give still and 90 percent take, however the ten is ten times better than the year before.

For the last ten years companies have made web sites, and for the last ten years these sites have been black holes or money pits where they threw money with the hoping to earn money, however normally squandering their fortunes. This is the first year some companies found the good path.

The name of this path is “Contextual Advertising” and is the most equitable form of advertising ever created.

THE BENEFIT TO THE TRAVELER

What this means for the future is with the increased profits sites like HoboTraveler.com can afford to place books on the internet. For example Google.com is currently negotiating to convert library of books into internet pages.

Bloggers are competing with CNN and BBC and creating a new world of information. The child has taken his or her first step to making all the information on the planet available to anyone, anywhere.

THE INTERNET IS EVERYWHERE
Books are not.

Anywhere I go on the planet I find the internet, but not possible to find books, soon all the books on the planet will be available on the internet to download and print or read online. This is an extreme windfall for countries that have to study their masters university levels in English.

25 DOLLARS FOR 30 GUIDEBOOKS
CD ROMs break and become worthless, but now there is the thumb drive or flash chip that plugs into the USB port of the computer. I can pay as little as 25 dollars and purchase a 128 Meg stick that will carry from 20-30 guidebooks. When I want the guidebook, I will soon be able to walk into the Internet café and print the book or sections I need, or read as I wish. You can also purchase the same type of chip that will allow you to listen to the books as they are read to you.

20 KILOS OF BOOKS
I traveled to about 20 countries last year, and if I were to purchase and carry the needed guidebooks I would carry all books and no clothes.

This is great, but it is still impossible to buy the guidebooks, they are not online to download, and I am still buying the guidebook or trading with other travelers in each country I visit. However, there is hope and in the next few years with the new profitability of the internet, they available to download.

TWO TYPES OF TRAVEL SITES
Reservations versus the guides.

1. Airplane and Hotel booking sites.
2. Guides that pretend to be guides, but really are selling Airplane tickets and booking for Hotels.

Therefore, as the professional traveler, the guy that does not go home, the one that on year eight still wanders the planet aimlessly in search of adventure and the perfect beach. I rate a web site on how well they are an online guidebook first, and second on how they sell plane ticket or hotel rooms.

Once I answer the question…
Where to go and what to see?

Then I look for the plane ticket and book the hotel, but I do not travel to fly on planes or to live in hotels. I travel to visit the wonders of the planet first and the inconvenient part is I have to find a cheap way to travel and then a place to live.

Therefore, my criteria on how to choose the top travel sites are how well they answer the question.

Where to go and what to see?

After I know where I am going and what I will see then I expect the site to guide me to keep me safe, tell me of the cheap transportation and a place to sleep.

MY INTERNET USE TRACK RECORD

AIRPLANE TICKETS
20 percent of my plane tickets purchased over the internet.

HOTEL ROOMS
1 percent of my hotels booked over the internet.

GUIDEBOOK
One-half percent of travel information found on internet.

The hotels on the internet are the most expensive room available and the plane tickets are still cheaper with the BEST travel agents. Published guides like Lonely Planet, Footprints, Roughguides, and Let’s Go are still the best source of information.

The mission or dream of the HoboTraveler.com web site is to provide a forum where the traveler and tourist can publish information for other travelers to read in an organized manner. To take the travel books of the world and place on the internet so all the information I now find offline is available to you the reader.

Moreover, have fun looking at photos and reading the funny stories.

Life is Good!

Andy a HoboTraveler.com
These are my choices for 2004 of websites or pages needed and are a great help to me an expert world traveler... a.k.a. Andy the HoboTraveler.com

BOOKMARK THIS PAGE OR MAKE A FAVORITE
I recommend you bookmark this page so you can use these sites as reference in the coming year.

Top 10 HoboTraveler.Com Award TOP TRAVEL SITES 2004

DESCRIPTION

RANKING
2003
RANKING
2002
RANKING
2001
# Title
URL
2003 - # 2002 - # 2001 - Not Listed

TITLE
comments.

1 ENCARTA OR ENCYCLOPEDIA. COM
http://encarta.msn.com
http://www.encyclopedia.com
2003 - 1 2002 - 2 2001 - Not Listed

FACTS - MAPS - DESTINATIONS
Guidebooks are for opinions; the experienced traveler needs facts, figures and accurate maps more than opinions. An encyclopedia is the first place to start your research. I read the Encyclopedia Encarta or Britannica constantly on my laptop in the 12 x 12 concrete rooms I live in on the road. It has maps, facts, figures and human interest stories. These two are available online, but if you carry a computer, buy Encarta. There maps are good and you can measure miles between locations.
 

2 WHC.UNESCO.ORG
World Heritage List
http://whc.unesco.org/pg.cfm?cid=31
http://whc.unesco.org
2003 - 2 2002 - # 2001 - Not Listed

PLAN YOUR TRIP - DESTINATIONS - MAPS
They updated their site and made the map section helpful, they are still impossible to find if you do not know they exist and you need to bookmark this page as you will not find them in the search engine. But if you want to know the best places to visit on the planet, and the destinations where you will tell your grandchildren, this site has the list to check first before all others.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List
 

3 GOOGLE.COM
http://www.google.com
2003 - 2 2002
Not Listed
2001
Not Listed

SEARCH
I have realized that I rely more on Google.com to find information for a specific destination when I need an answer to all my questions site for the area. I use Google.com to search for the homemade, and often not so pretty, but full of facts sites. The personal stories of bloggers, travelogues and adventurers.
 

4 CIA - The World Factbook 2002
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/
2003 - 3 2002 - 3 2001
 Not Listed

FACTS - MAPS - SAFETY
Great raw data and facts - A Map, the Flag, the population, type of government, a few warnings, etc., a specific way to discover the underlying details that help you to understand the why of a country. This site will help you to understand how to stay safe. It is well constructed and made to be found in the search engines.

5 FORBES.COM - Travel Section
http://www.forbes.com/bow/b2c/section.jhtml?id=3
2003 - # 2002 - # 2001 - Not Listed

DIRECTORY OF TRAVEL SITES
Forbes.com is a huge site and these pages can only be found by people looking very hard, I stumbled on them by accident. But they have paid people to collect the best travel sites on the internet. So if you are looking for a great directory of good sites on various travel related subjects. This is a great source or the place to start.

6 ABOUT.COM
http://www.about.com/travel/
http://www.about.com
2003 - 4 2002 - 1 2001 - 1

FACTS - SEARCH - MAPS - NEWSLETTERS
This is a great site to find the top pages on a specific travel subject. If you want to go to Bolivia and want some down to earth information and without the hyperbole this is the place. Note that I also recommend you subscribe to newsletters offered. About.com has more information than Forbes, but is clustered and confusing when it comes to finding the the travel specific information, but once you understand this site it probably has more information than the ones above. If they would reorganize their site it would again rise to number one.

7 HTTP://THORNTREE.LONELYPLANET.COM
http://thorntree.lonelyplanet.com
2003 - 7 2002
Not Listed
2001
Not Listed

FORUM - ASK QUESTIONS - (Warning! Lots of BULL@#%*)
The Lonely Planet is one of the worlds largest guidebook publishers, but I am not recommending this site as a guidebook, I want you to visit the Readers Forum.

I offer this as a top travel site with a serious warning to be careful. I want you to visit their forum that allows you to ask personal questions and other readers will post answers, but please take care as there are often tour operators and obnoxious readers hanging around causing problems, but if you are going to the end of the earth and there is no guidebook this may be the only place you find guidance.

8 HOSTELWORLD.COM
http://www.hostelworld.com
2003 - 5 2002 - 6 2001
Not Listed

HOTELS AND HOSTELS
This site is great, but losing ground fast as they have allowed NON- Hostel type properties to enter. Take warning, use this site, but there are lots of cheaper hostels available and these are not the cheapest. But this is a great source and a great guide to know about, and sometimes a place to book a room. I used only this site to book room in the past year..

How much is a cheap room in Katmandu, Nepal? A search engine of "Budget Hotels" for the world that allows you to make reservations with the cheap sleeps. This site helps the small hotel compete with the large chains and you should keep you eye on this site. I have used the service and recommend because I believe it one of the best. This reservations system is for anyone, and not just backpackers.

9 JOHNNYJET.COM
http://www.johnnyjet.com
2003 - 9 2002 - 4 2001 - 2

AIRPLANES - TRANSPORTATION
Johnny is the collector. He collects all the links you need to book airplane tickets or enjoy your trip so you do not need to hunt for sites. This is an airfare sales site with a personal touch.

10 VIRTUALTOURIST.COM
http://www.virtualtourist.com
2003 - 10 2002
Not Listed
2001
Not Listed

DESTINATIONS - FACTS - HOTELS
I like a site that invades my world because they have answers to my questions. I was surfing around in Google.com try to find answers about Iraq, then again this year in Morocco. This site is one of the few Professional Type sites that I discovered mixed in with the homemade versions. A Professional site normally does not compete well with a homemade site for information and facts, but Virtualtourist.com appears to be reporting on the world and not just the USA and Europe. A top site will provide me with answers on the world and not just the easy moneymakers countries of Europe and the USA. Virtualtourist.com is a world-class site.

 
  E-MAIL UPDATES OR NOTIFICATIONS:
Sent to your e-mail box.
 
 

I receive emails from world news, tips and travel warnings. A great way to be notified when the world changes, and stay away from civil wars... or find them.

1

Travel Warning
http://travel.state.gov/travel/warnings.html

2003 - 1 2002 2001 - Not Listed
2

CNN.COM NEWS UPDATES
Go to site and look for news updates.
http://www.cnn.com

2003 - 2 2002 2001 - Not Listed
3

BBC.CO.UK
http://www.bbc.co.uk/email
The BBC of England has added a nice news report you can receive in your box.

2003
Not Listed
NA NA

The popular belief among travelers is that all of these updates by email are full of crap. Please read offline materials for the accurate information. But these sources are good starting points to keep you aware.


PRIOR YEARS

YEAR 2003

YEAR 2002

YEAR 2001


MENTIONED SITES

Lots of the mentioned sites are failing desperately, as the are becoming sites that only sell and do not help.

LEFT THE BUILDING (MENTIONED) - Were in the Top 10 and took a walk.

MENTIONED TOPICA.COM
http://www.topica.com
2003 - 8 2002 - 10 2001
Not Listed

LEARNING - SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTERS
This is a site to find newsletters to subscribe to, or a place to publish your personal newsletter. Newsletters are the easiest and best way to research a subject. A good newsletter will collect and give you digested materials, with what is NEW or News inside the letter. I choose a few newsletters on a subject a year in advance and read the letters from the writers.

Topica.com is my choice and helps me avoid receiving junk mail. Yahoogroups.com is a good source and worth mentioning, but Topica.com is my favorite. I use Topica.com for my travel newsletters, but also have some mirrors in Yahoogroups.com. I worry about Yahoogroups.com will try to hard to sell and this is distracting and sometimes annoying for the reader.
 

MENTIONED MAP SEARCH
http://www.nationalgeographic.com  or
http://www.google.com
2003 - 6 2002 - 7 2001 - 18

MAPS
This section is having the most trouble as the computers in the internet cafes cannot handle the best sites. There are some really good java and flash sites available but still impossible to use by the average travelers while on the road. I still recommend you look at National Geographic for an overview, then search in Google.com for the map you need.

Note: Buy a great country map and bring with you, they do not sell them on the road.
 

MENTIONED ESCAPEARTIST.COM
http://www.escapeartist.com
2002 - 5 2002 - 3

For the person that wants to leave home and never return. This is for the expatriate, the investor, or for the person wanting to retire overseas.  A portal of information for people that live, work, and hide offshore.
 

MENTIONED RANDY JOHNSON'S PERSONAL PAGE or
RANDY'S HOME PAGE
http://www.ease.com/~randyj/bestlist.htm
http://www.ease.com/~randyj/index.html
2002 - 8 2002 - 4

I like this page. This guy has been everywhere. Although obviously made by him for him. It provides the personal introspection of a true traveler, and sets a tone or voice  to understand the future of travel.
 

MENTIONED AIRTREK.COM
http://www.airtrek.com
2002 - 9 2002 - Not Listed

On the cutting edge of airfare booking services. This site understands the budget traveler and is trying to give you the necessary tools to book a flight anywhere in the world. With around the world tickets and open Jaw, this ticket sales site understands that on a trek we do come home the same way we went.
 

FURTHER... MENTIONING
Arthur Frommer's - Forum - Ask Questions - Stories - Added 2002
Budgettravel.com - Added 2002
Away.com - Added 2002
Undergroundtravel.com  - Added 2002
Concierge.com  - Added 2002
Artoftravel.com Planning and Packing - Added 2002 - Use before you leave.
Lonely Planet Online - Added 2002
The Let's Go - Added 2002
Leisureplanet  - Added 2002
Footprint Handbooks  - Added 2002
Fodors  - Added 2002
Dhl-usa.com - Added 2002
Airtravelcenter.com - Added 2002
Travelocity.com - Airplane Tickets - Added 2003 - I use as guide, not to buy tickets. Suggested prices.
Travelnow.com - Destination Guide - Added 2003
Yahoogroups.com - Newsletters - Travelogues - learning - Added 2003
Blogger.com - Travelogues - Added 2003
Bootsnall.com Hotels and Advice Added 2004
Sections of Alexa.com
http://www.alexa.com/browse/general?catid=9283&mode=general Added 2004
Sections of DMOZ.com
http://www.dmoz.com/Recreation/Travel/Preparation/Tips Added 2004
Thomas Cook Inc. Added 2004

NOMINATIONS FOR THIS CATEGORY:
In the past you was able to submit below your choice. Unfortunately all the sites think they are the top travel site in the world. Now... If you know a "World Class Travel Site" that you think I have missed. Please click on the contact link to send to me... Andy HoboTraveler.com - Note if you submit your own site I am going to just delete your email.

Write Andy a HoboTraveler.com
http://www.hobotraveler.com/formlettereditor1.php

Click here to submit to for sites on specific countries of the world.
 

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"Thank you, Lord, for thinkin'
'bout me. I'm alive and doin' fine."
I’m alive and doing fine.‘
Song by: Five Man Electrical Band     - Back to top

MY APOLOGY - If I do not reply quickly or
forget. I am sorry. Please write again. I do reply
to all well mannered e-mails. I try my best and
do want to talk.

CONTACTING THE EDITOR a.k.a. Andy   - Back to top,  

Write HoboTraveler.com or go here:
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PRE-LICENSED USE OF ARTICLES AND PHOTOS
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NOTICE: Letters to Andy are considered public.
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