Well if you travel regularly and manage your travel by yourself I am sure you have used these sites. If you haven’t used them and love travel, I recommend you get onto them immediately. These sites are nothing less than a boon for a travel loving person. I like to do my travel by myself, I hate packages or tours, never taken one, nor will ever take one. So whilst I like to travel by myself I am greatly assisted by these travel sites and more than just reading about travel, the best part about these sites are the forum’s on them, you got any question, any doubt, just ask away and you will have some travel loving folk helping you out. I wonder how the people who used to explore on their own before the age of internet managed. Perhaps they were the true adventurers! 🙂
I encounter many people who want to travel, sometimes dont want packages from tour operators, however, eventually give in to them. However, if you are keen to travel on your own, get on these forums, not only can you give great tips to people who are travelling to places that you are well aware of you can also get a lot of info. Many a times people are apprehensive about so many things and have so many doubts and very few people to ask, especially when travelling to remote or offbeat places. No longer should you have any inhibitions if you use these forums.
How safe is it after dark?
How easy is it to rent a car?
Are the directions in English or some other language?
Apart from the popular circuit, what are less touristy yet equally interesting places?
Can we drive in a safari?
Can we camp?
What area is better to stay in with regards to restaurants? etc etc etc…
There are a load of questions in our mind before embarking on any trip, especially if you are going slightly off the beaten path or are totally unaware of the place you are going to. Thanks to these forums now its a piece of cake.
For example, before our recent South Africa trip, I met one kind soul on the forum of Lonely Planet, she seemed to be replying a lot of people about their South Africa travel queries. So I sent her a message asking if she would assist and I sent her a list of questions. Voila! She not just assisted but after many messages back and forth, she not just replied to my innumerable queries, she would offer quite a few suggestions, send me links, contact details and what not. Infact, she was the only reason I had a 12 day road trip in SA (my first driving outside my country) which was not only comfortable and slow paced but entirely smooth and without any sour incidents. We would have never known about the Panaroma Route in South Africa and Drakensberg mountains which are a must visit sort of place if we had gone by some commercial tour planner.
Unfortunately I couldn’t meet the lady as she was herself travelling whilst we were in SA, however, I can never ever thank her enough for the amazing information she gave us and for being so patient with so many of my questions. I don’t think I would have done the trip like we did without her assistance.
I have been writing on Trip Advisor since a long time and now am looking forward to replying a few people about their queries when they come for a trip to India on Lonely Planet as well. India Mike is also a wonderful place to ask all your questions especially if you are looking to do Road Trips in India! These forums are a boon for the wanna be explorer’s/travellers 🙂 Don’t believe me? Go check them out for your next trip!! You will not be disappointed!