Best travel related web community
January 15, 2013 11:17 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for recommendations for the best or most useful travel-based community web sites.

Looking for web sites/communities that have done a very good job at either building a robust and engaging community of users that share experiences and advice on international travel or have developed a very good tool set for doing so or both. It would be great if you could talk a little about what aspects of the site you find compelling or why you think they are great communities or what tools are available that make them such useful or great sites.
posted by spicynuts to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I like Cruise Critic.

The forums are divided up into ports of embarkation and disembarkation, so if anyone has questions about a departure, like where to stay, how to arrange transporation, what to eat the night before a cruise, things to do, etc, they can post the questions and people will answer.

Another area allows people to sign up for their specific cruise so they can meet folks who are on their same sailing. Then there's a Meet and Greet on the ship. Met some nice folks that way!

Another part of the forums has the cruise lines and the specific ships, so if you want to know what cabin is the best bargain, or the quietest or whatever, that would be the place to find out.

A nifty little site all in all.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:51 AM on January 15, 2013

Perhaps this is too obvious, but...
posted by blaneyphoto at 11:51 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you're interested in backpacker style travel, I've really enjoyed both Boots N All and the Matador Network (full disclosure, I have sometimes been a paid writer for both sites). Both provide a mix of articles and forum/social networking type features. Boots N All is a little bit more about basic "10 things to do in Iceland" type stuff, whereas Matador is developing into an impressive source for narrative/"new journalism" esque travel writing. Though they do their fair share of service stuff, too.

I also should mention IndiaMike, which is THE resource for anyone traveling to or within India.
posted by Sara C. at 11:55 AM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Lonely Planet

Also Trip Adviser

plus Travel Buddy

But Trip Adviser did not steer me wrong on my month long trip to Vietnam and Cambodia.
posted by kanemano at 12:14 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

With things like Trip Adviser, was it the advice from other travelers that makes it a good experience? Or is it the out of the box, non-community sourced stuff that you like?
posted by spicynuts at 12:19 PM on January 15, 2013

I recently found travellerspoint which seems similar to lonely planet but has some nice photography features and mapping apps and is a little less of an ad for guidebooks. it's straightforward enough to give it a go and see what your mileage is.
posted by OHenryPacey at 12:39 PM on January 15, 2013

For me, Trip Advisor is best in the forums (Disclosure: I am a forum Destination Expert). The "non-community" stuff is still pretty much community generated via ratings/voting.

I also like Boots n All.

Virtual Tourist is also good.

For restaurants, I much prefer food-centric sites like Yelp, UrbanSpoon, Qype, IENS.

Most of these I find informational but cursory, if that makes sense. I'll be checking here for more "robust" suggestions.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:07 PM on January 15, 2013

In addition to the above food recommendations, Chowhound is often a good resource for questions like "I'm spending 10 days in Italy, visiting Florence, Rome, and the Amalfi coast -- what should I eat, and where should I eat it?"
posted by Sara C. at 2:18 PM on January 15, 2013

Rick Steves Graffitti Wall leaves something to be desired in formatting and is focused on Europe, but has good participation and information.
posted by cnc at 3:10 PM on January 15, 2013

In addition to the aforementioned BootsnAll, I like Slow Travel.
posted by tiger tiger at 1:17 AM on January 16, 2013

I'm not a Matador Network writer and I'd still like to recommend them. :)
posted by Skyanth at 6:33 AM on January 16, 2013

Some good stuff in here, people. Here's a question - what's the one thing/tool/approach/feature that all these sites are missing that would make the absolutely ideal travel site? Is there anything?
posted by spicynuts at 9:57 AM on January 16, 2013

really diggin travelpod and travellerspoint!
posted by spicynuts at 10:28 AM on January 16, 2013

My main issue with user content generating travel sites -- as much as they can often be good -- is that they depend on the users being informed, generous, helpful, etc.

For example, one travel forum I really dislike is the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree. It's impossible to use, thanks to inarticulate askers ("arr BRU wat 2 do in benelux 4 8 days?") and imperious answerers ("OMG RTFFAQ!!!!1!!111!!!!!!"). On top of that, because the forum software is so antiquated, and the community has really bizarre standards for how to store information, it's actively difficult to find basic answers, even as the participants glower about how you need to learn to use to goddamn search function.

My theory about Thorn Tree is that it's deliberately an antiquated jumble, and the whole point is to lure you in and then make you buy a $50 guidebook in frustration, because clearly the answers to basic questions like "what are some interesting activities for tourists in Belgium?" are impossible.

I honestly wish that more travel sites were wikified, or at least easily searchable for basic evergreen information. This is what I like about the article side of Boots N All. You can google "extreme sports travel" or "what to do in Ireland" or "best hostels" or whatever, and find something that is actually useful.

(By the way, has WikiTravel been mentioned? It's not particularly inspiring of wanderlust, but has been a total godsend for me in terms of practical details like how to obtain a visa or what modes of ground transport are available at the airport.)
posted by Sara C. at 11:42 AM on January 16, 2013

what's the one thing/tool/approach/feature that all these sites are missing that would make the absolutely ideal travel site? Is there anything?
posted by spicynuts

Tripadvisor forums would be perfect with a better website interface and slightly easier navigation. aside from that, I see no reason to use anything else.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:48 PM on January 17, 2013

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