Some of the most useful social media sites are related to the travel industry. These sites do have their share of frivolity, but many also have lots of good, useful advice that was not created by a guidebook writer or by a travel journalist, but rather by other travelers who have no vested interest in where you stay or what you do while on holiday. Even major guidebook companies like Lonely Planet have created web site forums where travelers can exchange information and give recommendations based on their experiences while on the road.
Here are some of the best and most useful travel social media sites.
This wide-ranging site features peer reviews of many, many destinations. TripAdvisor has lots of participants, so you won’t by relying on one single opinion to form your view of a destination, and you will get plenty of recommendations about places to eat, stay and see while traveling in a certain place. If you have a really great experiences while traveling, you can let others know about it and can be sure that other people will see your reviews and recommendations because of the powerful search features found on TripAdvisor.
If you want specific advice about a destination or activity, this is one of the best places to go. The forums on LP are populated mainly by independent travelers who are savvy when it comes to budget travel and travel to less-visited places. This is a great resource for these reasons, and because you can read about and research your destination on the Lonely Planet site and then use the Thorn Tree forums to get confirmation about the recommendations given by the guide authors.
Boots-a-All is another site focused on providing advice for independent travelers. They have articles, many written by their readers, as well as forums for asking advice and sharing information. The travelers who use this site are pretty plugged-in as far as what’s happening in the world of travel, so this is a good place to come to find out about hot destinations before everyone else does and also a good resource for finding out about travel deals that can be taken advantage of by independent travelers. That is to say: if you want to stay in a guesthouse and travel by bus rather than going the hotel and private car route, then this site is for you.
This site is one of the oldest peer-created travel sites on the web. It has a loyal following of more than 1 million users. It is certainly possible to find out anything about any destination in the world. And, if they don’t have much info on the place that you want to travel, you can ask: with so many users, there is always someone who has some knowledge about your chosen destination. There are some Facebook-like features on Virtual Tourist, so if you want to do research for your next trip and socialize with people who are interested in the same destination, then Virtual Tourist is the site for you.
This site is the most useful overall on this list because it allows users to integrate other social media sites into their experience. You can search by city and find out all sorts of information, from the habits of people who have traveled to the city before (what time of day did they go sightseeing, what time of year did they visit) to recommendations about where to eat and where to stay and what to see. There is also a section for chatting with other members and getting/giving advice. If you are looking for a comprehensive site that has lots of useful information and not too many distractions, then Dopplr is your best choice.