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TOP 10 TRAVEL WEBSITES FOR 2003
- The year in review.
By Andy the HoboTraveler.com
January 2004
Published from an Internet Cafe in Hospet, State of Karnataka, India. Newsletter Number 137 of Hobo Travel Tips on year 7 of my world travels.


Hello,
Travel became a little more complicated this year for me when I jumped off the path and made my own with a month trip to Iraq, but what was really great about this trip was I found some new travel site players and got my priorities better aligned.

Money talks and bullAT#$ walks.

I said this with some Iraqi and they claimed the phrase for their own. The phrase tells me that all the noise is noise, so tell me the truth or take a walk.

So when I went into Iraq and got an alignment on my travel priorities I found that facts were my only true friends and I could not be bothered with the dandy sites. I needed real help, while most people are,
"Just looking."

The big boys have been causing real headaches this year as they learned how to sell the top 10-50 search results and are now steering you towards the advertisers and away from the best information. Try to keep your eyes open as sites make an ugly transition from being helpful to just a sales pitch.

These are my Top online Internet sites and available anywhere in the world. But PLEASE visit the library; books are still your best source of facts. I would carry hundreds of books, but still very heavy in my backpack. I am still waiting for the e-book to stop crawling and start walking.

These are my choices for 2003 of websites or pages needed and are a great help to me an expert world traveler... a.k.a.
Andy the HoboTraveler.com
 

Top 10 HoboTraveler.Com Award TOP TRAVEL SITES 2003

DESCRIPTION

RANKING
2002
LAST YEAR
RANKING
2001
1 ENCARTA OR ENCYCLOPEDIA. COM
http://encarta.msn.com
http://www.encyclopedia.com
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 Britannica constantly on my laptop in the 12 x 12 concrete rooms I live in on the road.

2 GOOGLE.COM
http://www.google.com
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.

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

FACTS - MAPS
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.

4 ABOUT.COM
http://www.about.com
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.

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

HOTELS AND HOSTELS
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.

I use their reservation system on my Website, If you book here and I earn enough for Ice Cream!
http://reservations.bookhostels.com/hobotraveler.com/

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

MAPS
After I know some information about the place. I know the cost and I can afford to live in the destination. I then need a map, or lots of maps. There is NO great general map or atlas site for the world. I recommend you start with National Geographic maps, and than do a search in the Google.com for the specific map for your destination. Note: Buy a great country map and bring with you, they do not sell them on the road.

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

FORUM - ASK QUESTIONS - (Warning! Lots of BULLAT#%*)
The Lonely Planet is one of the world’s 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 TOPICA.COM
http://www.topica.com
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.

9 JOHNNYJET.COM
http://www.Johnnyjet.com
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
2002 - Not Listed 2001 - Not Listed

DESTINATIONS - FACTS - HOTELS
They came in under the radar this year. 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. This site was 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 email box.
  2001

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

2002 2001 - Not Listed
2

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

(Note the New York Times Newsletter is ridiculous. I need to remember an Username and Password.)

2002 2001 - Not Listed
3

Hobo Travel Tips
( This is me, Andy the Editor of this page. )
Subscribe to free Hobo Travel Tips Newsletter and follow Andy around the planet!

OR go to http://www.hobotraveler.com
ARCHIVES:
http://www.hobotraveler.com/indexhobonewsletter.shtml

2002  

Last years page 2002
I will update this page at the end of the year with the page I have discovered and they will remain for the current year from 2003-2004.

2 Years ago 2001

About Mentioned Sites: Lots of the mentioned sites are failing desperately, as the are becoming sites that only sell and do not help. They have a real need to make money to survive. Look for lots of large sites to continue to close their doors. But I am sure that some will come to grips and go upstairs. Look at the reader forums, they can be helpful but use up a lot of time in internet cafe, they are good to use before you leave home.

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

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
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
Travelnow.com - Destination Guide - Added 2003
WHC.UNESCO.ORG United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List. - Destinations - Added 2003
Yahoogroups.com - Newsletters - Travelogues - learning - Added 2003
Blogger.com - Travelogues - Added 2003

NOTE ON 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 probably going to just delete your email.

How I choose the sites, or information on why and how a site become my choice for a Top Travel Site?

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


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