I don’t know how anyone traveled before the internet.
My (so to be ex) boss did a RTW trip when he was my age which, I’m guessing, was about 25 years ago (uh, sorry Richard). He told me that back then, he just grabbed a guidebook on India and went from there. He spoke to people in hostels and on trains, got tips from other travelers, even used libraries. LIBRARIES.
I’m sure there’s something to be said about simpler times ‘back in tha day’, but I just can’t fathom planning a trip (or living life) without the internet.
I’ve spoken about my love of technology before; I’m not up on the latest gadgets, and I couldn’t tell you the differences between a Mac and a PC, other than one looks prettier than the other…but I love that I have the world at my fingertips every day of my life. My phone is used more as a clock/alarm/music player/Facebook checker than it is used for actual phone calls. I can do banking from my phone, can talk to people in Africa for free on my computer…I mean, I don’t think I would’ve passed university if it wasn’t for Wikipedia. We are living the FUTURE, people!
And almost everything I’ve done to plan this trip has been online. I bought my flights online, my travel insurance online, secured plans with friends overseas via Facebook, and have done all my research about Melbourne and budget travel and train routes…everything! All online. I even found a place to do archery in Melbourne by googline “archery + Melbourne”. The amount of knowledge out there means you’ll never have to land somewhere without knowing where to go or what to do. Easy!
One of the most surprising resources, though, has been travel bloggers and their stories. Along with being fantastic inspirations, their blogs are often full of tips on everything from budget to packing to “10 things not to do on a train ride” type stories. The posts are often witty and honest, and I find it much easier to believe what a blogger is saying about a city, rather than the city’s website itself. Much like reviews on Trip Advisor or Hostelworld, these reviews come from real people who have really been there and experienced what it is they’re writing about, so you know if comes from a place of relative truthfulness (provided they aren’t being paid by a company to give a positive review) (which I would totally do by the way so HOOK A SISTER UP).
Another great thing: they’re all on Twitter! You start following one person, and soon everyone is tweeting about each other’s posts and poof! You’ve got 20 new people to follow and 20 new sites to read0. I’m pretty sure my Twitter feed has become 45% travel-related.
I by no means know all the travel blogs in the world (I’ve only just begun!) but I’ve got a few favourites I enjoy, and I really hope to be a favourite for others in the future. I mean, my blog isn’t entitled “Jenny Does The World” or “Nomadic Chubby Canuck Who Has Unlimited Funds (only one of these things is true)”…and I don’t have a niche or fancy graphic…and I don’t really know if I have any tips or anything…but maybe I’ll make a person or two laugh somewhere in internet land. I guess I should get my ass moving to the other side of the world, eh?
A few Tweeters I follow who always have great things to say:
@20sTravel – One of my faves, Stephanie’s site is full of tips, personal stories, ideas, photos…I pretty much want to be Stephanie.
@adventureswben – Ben likes adventures, and writes about things across the world and in his backyard (the USA).
@BckPackerBanter – Chris is a surfer and photographer who has traveled quite a bit and is currently figuring out life in Ecuador. One of his bucket list items is “Join the Mile High Club”, so I’m pretty sure Chris and I would get along famously. (….not that I’d fuck him in a plane, but you get the drift. ….right? You see where I’m going with this? Oh god…)
@GlbetrotterGrls – Jessica and Dani have been traveling since 2010 and show no signs of stopping. Their site is bursting with great posts, advice and photos, including some great LGBT travel advice too, for those of you same-gender inclined. These two seem to be RTing and connecting with everyone, making them great to follow – you find so many more people!
@gingernomads – Heather is a redhead from BC who is traveling for an indefinite amount of time. Her posts are honest and give you a great flavour for whatever she’s up to at the moment.
@JustChuckinIt Ryan is a young guy who decided to take off running in his red Chucks (great shoes but, as he’s found out, not the greatest to backpack in).
@nearafar – Natalie is a Torontonian who writes about this city we love, and the world that’s out there. She’s a huge foodie, so if you’re ever thinking to yourself “Where should I eat tonight?” just check out her site. Yum.
@ottsworld – Sherry is a middle-aged (her words, not mine!) wanderer who left her cubicle to travel the world. Lots of great advice and posts, and her “life” section is a great glimpse into who she is.
@Technosyncratic Christy and Kali did America in an RV and are currently in Chang Mai. Their blog post about learning to cook in Chang Mai made my mouth water.
This is obviously a short list. There are hundreds (thousands?) of worthwhile travel bloggers out there who I have yet to discover, or are on my “to read” list, but the guys up there are a good place to start. If you have a favourite (or three!) link them in the comments so I can expand my blog horizons!