Online, world travel guides are coming into their own. While they may never beat a solid guidebook that you can dog ear and mark up as you travel the world, they are becoming more valuable for research pre-departure. Thanks to the minimal resources required to create a travel guide online (no publishers, distributors, materials, etc.) we will continue to see more pop up as the world gets smaller. However, as the quantity of world travel guides increases, the need for quality, dependable information becomes more scarce. Here are the most authoritative spots online to help you prepare your next big
Travelfish.org. If you are looking for intelligence on Southeast Asia, look no further than Travelfish (even Lonely Planet, creator of the classic “Southeast Asia on a Shoestring” acknowledges their hard hitting advice). They provide detailed information about all of Southeast Asia, with a focus on Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, with additional sections on Singapore and the Philippines. Their FAQ for each country is an exercise in mind reading: they answer questions you didn’t realize you had such as “What kind of lock works best in a bungalow?” They also break down electrical requirements and other technical advice pertaining to cameras, laptops and mobile devices.
Gridskipper. Let me put it this way: Gridskipper is the premier website for big city types. They offer the best information on major cities in the world (San Francisco, London, Paris, Berlin and Tokyo seem to get the most coverage) including restaurant reviews and advice on the best clubs. If you want to explore the rice fields of Vietnam, you are in the wrong place! A word to the wise: this isn’t a site for the faint hearted, and you probably don’t want to check this out at work.
Virtualtourist. The biggest world travel guide online, loaded with information about travel hotspots around the world.
Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree forum. Here you can seek advice from people close to the ground. Visa requirements change, roads get blocked, storms may hit… save yourself the trouble and run it up the thorn tree.