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What resources do you use to plan a trip?

What resources do you use to plan a trip?

Aug 26th, 2013, 04:35 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2013
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What resources do you use to plan a trip?

Greetings all. I'm doing some research and wanted to ask the forum which resources - both online and offline - they used most often when planning a trip to or around Europe? Your help is most appreciated!
JGrant55 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 04:57 AM
  #2  
 
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DVDs, library books, internet resources, travelogues at travel stores etc., travel tales of friends and acquaintances, online versions of the newspapers from intended targets as long as they are in the languages I know, mapping sites, occasionally promo materials from official tourism boards...
michelhuebeli is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 06:30 AM
  #3  
 
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Guide books and this forum. Occasionally TripAdvisor.

And a Map, of course (although I believe many people posting on this board never consult maps).
adrienne is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 08:04 AM
  #4  
 
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I use guidebooks a lot, also recommendations on this board. I always use Trip Advisor to check out hotels, but I take recommendations with a grain of salt. I use the internet to search for hotels and for sights not always listed in guide books.

I often buy tickets for transportation on online sites such as Renfe and for sights such as the Alhambra.

I have Rick Steves planning maps for all the countries to which I travel and I also have a large collection of more detailed maps I've accumulated over the years. I use them as part of my planning.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 08:18 AM
  #5  
 
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I generally take some guidebooks out of the library and usually buy another.

I like the destinations sections of both Fodors and Frommers, use Trip Advisor for reviews--menupages and yelp, too.

I goggle my little heart out, finding the websites of towns we'll be visiting, attractions, restaurants, lodging.

Often buy a map.
abram is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 08:29 AM
  #6  
 
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Besides using the Internet for resources like this forum, Tripadvisor, Slotravel, and Rick Steves, I usually buy a couple of guide books ( Eyewitness, Michelin green guide), and appropriate maps for either driving or the city. I download apps on my phone for metros and museum podcasts.
Bellarosa70032 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 08:36 AM
  #7  
 
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Usually, something has caught my interest. It could be on a tv program, a movie, or in a magazine or newspaper, etc.

So for example if I saw a program on Malta, I might get it into my head to visit the island. Then I would Google the hell out of it to see if it seemed to hold enough of interest to me. I used to use guidebooks for research but in recent years far less so. Google simply provides more info than any guidebook can.

Quite frankly, I never post a question on a travel forum such as this asking for advice, suggestions etc. I trust my own judgement over any stranger's. While I often answer questions on forums, I always wonder why people don't do their own research.

So a place catches my interest, I do my research and then I go. I may book a first night hotel if I will arrive late in the day but more often than not, I don't even do that. I like to see a room before I rent it. I do not plan a day by day itinerary for my time in a place either. I get up in the morning and then decide what I feel like doing that day. Often the weather is a factor in that decision.

Nor do I book any events, car rental, train, etc. ahead of time. I want maximum flexibility when I travel and you cannot have that if you pre-book anything. It is arguable that this may result in some higher costs but I am happy to pay for that flexibility.
Improviser is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 08:48 AM
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Google, Trip Advisor and Fodors is enough for me, since all research is based on other people's opinions I have no issues with seeking out any suggestions, though of course the final decision and responsibility is mine.

Once on the journey I use the Rough Guide range of books as the quality of the writing is high and the historical/political/economic advice is very good. I Fodors Book to be very "American" in their outlook and while I have used them I keep my tongue firmly in my cheek.

In terms of plans, I like to book the first night and the last night and then a rough idea of the path between. However, I struggle with the idea that anything else should be planned to that level, after all it is a holiday not work. Since I nornally take my bicycle I slow travel rather than fast travel and changing my mind requires me to apply brakes and turn round.

I used to use tripadvisor to choose restaurants and Mrs Bilbo still does. I now work on the basis that a noisy restaurant is a good one, one with a queue outside is best avoided, one without a menu outside is a bad one and one with a fat dog outside needs to be avoided. This level of thinking in my research may surprise you but it seems to work.
bilboburgler is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 08:54 AM
  #9  
 
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Google, a map, some book I've read, friends at work. I read the bridge over the Drina recently. Now, I want to see the bridge.

We tag on to others.. Our friends in Slovakia ask us to go to Slovenia... Of course we go.

I never use fodors... Forums or the books. I actually use few guidebooks. I do look at trip advisor a lot. And I wing it a good bit.
centraleurope is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 09:52 AM
  #10  
 
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I use the Michelin Green Guides and sometimes the Eyewitness Guides for location and sightseeing information. For hotels and restaurants I prefer the Michelin Red Guides, very useful because they are grouped by location. And then the Michelin maps.
Underhill is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 11:43 AM
  #11  
 
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I'm very visual so I like Eyewitness guides. I love the photos and the historical time lines they provide.
Grassshopper is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 12:41 PM
  #12  
 
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Internet, guide books, maps, Fodors forums, Trip Advisor, Booking.com reviews and to book spme hotels,friends recommendations, NYT Travel section,
And when I make plans and reservations I forward them to TripIt where I have created the trip.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 12:51 PM
  #13  
 
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Tripadvisor, fodor's, buy lots of guidebooks and maps. I pre-book everything because I fly on FF miles and I always have time/money constraints. And because I'm just that way. Enough unexpected and delightful things happen to us when we travel and we feel better having train tix, concert tix, etc in advance. Pre booking hotels (even $$$ ones) gives you a 10% or 15% discount. I usually have a "theme" - like parks/gardens or music....works for us and makes planning fun. Our upcoming retirement trip has a tennis theme. Want to play tennis in Paris, Rome, Florence, so. of France, London. This will be the only time we can travel for more than a couple of weeks and are planning 4 weeks in Paris. The trip won't happen for another 18 months but we're already planning our hearts out.
laurela is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 01:30 PM
  #14  
 
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"since all research is based on other people's opinions"

Umm, no bilboburgler although I realize what you meant. Research is based on facts, opinions are not research, they're simply opinions.

Or as the well known phrase says admirably, 'the plural of anecdote is not data'.
Improviser is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 02:19 PM
  #15  
 
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Fodors books.

Fodors books.

Fodors books.

Now where's my freebie?
BigRuss is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 03:45 PM
  #16  
 
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Imp said <<<<“Quite frankly, I never post a question on a travel forum such as this asking for advice, suggestions etc.>>>>

So one wonders what these questions might have been about:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ome-hotels.cfm or
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ng-corsica.cfm

Or were these questions just more “research”.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 06:07 PM
  #17  
kja
 
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A half dozen or so guidebooks (always Fodor's, the Rough Guide, and Frommer's, others depending on the country). For hotels, booking.com, tripadvisor.com, and hotel websites. Lots of google searches. And of course, Fodor's forum.
kja is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 08:08 PM
  #18  
 
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All of the above really, plus I use the chowhound.com forums a lot.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 09:17 PM
  #19  
 
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Trip Advisor and its forums plus Rick Steves' books are all I really need, but I like to cross check on Google as well.
I like the booking.com site for hotels as they have free cancellation and do not charge your card up front, like some other sites do. Also their ratings are screened to be only from people who booked the property through them, which is good.
PeteL is offline  
Aug 27th, 2013, 12:33 AM
  #20  
 
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I am a novice traveller. For my first big trip I booked everything beforehand. Will NOT do this again. For example: went to Florence, it was very hot and more crowded than I ever imagined. Saw the beautiful beautiful David and the Pieta the 1st day. Had to stay one more day - not bad - but not what I would have done if I had a choice. In Rome we stayed in a 3star hotel in a room that did not deserve 2 stars. Within 4 minutes' walking distance there was a 4star at 10Euro per night cheaper! Couldn't move, couldn't cancel, had to stay in the dark small room.
BILBO a question for you: say you arrive at the train station in Firenze / Milano / Where-ever. There you are with your bag in a strange new city. How do you decide where to go? Do you at decide beforehand in which area you would like to live? And how do you then find 'the' place to stay - do you trawl the streets? Then: when you do find a good place to stay, do you book for one night only? I will be greatly interested in your answer, and I am sure JGrant will be too!
kovsie is offline  

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