Ditch the guidebook for a good website?

One long-time vagabonder told me, “At best, even current guidebooks are already 2 years out of date. The writer probably went there 2 years ago, and the publisher took a year to ready it for publication.”

When doing pre-trip research, finding a good website feels like striking gold.  This happened to me when I discovered Leif Pettersen’s travelogue.  I was planning a trip to Myanmar (Burma) at the time, and it was hard finding good info.  His long, detailed posts were a godsend.

As I travel around Southeast Asia, I notice lots of backpackers using Travel Fish to look up guesthouses.  The only problem is that it’s so good that I wish it covered more countries, like Malaysia and Indonesia.  Rick Steves, host of the travel show, has lots of Europe tips at his website.

Some of the best websites are run by frequent visitors/long-time expats to that region or country. ReidOnTravel is a fantastic resource for Vietnam, as is BrazilMax for that country. Anyone going to India should take a look at IndiaMike.  Check out Andean Travel Web for Peru info.

To be fair, most guidebooks will mention a few pertinent websites for a destination, so don’t skip them entirely.

Got any good websites you’d like to share?  Please post them in the comments. You could be helping a vagabonder have a better trip!

Posted by | Comments (5)  | March 20, 2009
Category: General

5 Responses to “Ditch the guidebook for a good website?”

  1. Stuart at Travelfish Says:


    Thanks for the recommendation — you’ll be happy to hear we’re in the process of expanding to cover Malaysia through 2009. Indonesia — ahh not sure about that one… 17,000+ islands is a lot of work in anyone’s books!

    Aside from the sites already mentioned, I’d add Travellerspoint (http://www.travellerspoint.com), Turkey Travel Planner (http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com) TalesOfAsia (http://www.talesofasia.com) and for Cambodia specifically, Khmer440 (http://www.khmer440.com).


  2. Cate Says:

    I agree with the idea of internet sites vs printed books, but don’t not dismiss the guidebook altogether.Guidebooks do have their place in the travel sphere. Not everyone likes to sit in front of a computer scrolling through links and sites, especially when on the road.
    Like you, I think websites and blogs are fast becoming an excellent resource for updated and information and personal insights you won’t find in guidebooks. When I research places I opt for well written and presented personal travelogues including those from locals and expats. I steer away from cynical views and opinions as these can give you false impressions of what it is actually like. Some of the best resources can be found on blogs written by travellers currently out there on long trips: Uncorneredmarket and Everywhere Everything are both good places to visit for information, tips and images on a large number of countries.

  3. Horst Says:

    Hey you
    You got any informations about Brasil? please increase our Website http://www.artnagual.com.br
    We are e Privat Heritage Reserve at the foot of Serra Dos Orgaos National Parc only 68 Km from Rio.
    Mostly Selfsufficant working with Organic Plantations ,Aternativ Energies, Environmental Education , Handmade Crafts and a little Inn .
    Sorry our sites is only in Portugese until we get a Volunteer
    to Help us on that
    Big Hug

  4. Samantha Berkin Says:

    I’m a fan of Ruba (http://www.ruba.com), an up-and-coming social travel website. You can browse tons of highly visual user-generated guides to find the exact information you’re looking for, written by a peer. They are sort of like really brief, concise, illustrated personal travelougues. This allows you to quickly scroll through large amounts of information, without getting bogged down in the details unless you really want to.

    You can also share your own tips/destinations with others. They’re banking on the highly social aspect of the current web climate, being tightly connected to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. So far, they twitter every new guide that is written. I expect the site to gradually snowball until it is a definitive, up-to-date resource for just about everywhere. Currently it has a fair amount of information about Vietnam, Thailand, and Europe…. we’ll see where it goes from there.