The Best Online Travel Forums
Travel guides and blogs can only take you so far. Chances are you’ll have specific questions and concerns that they didn’t cover. And so online travel forums come to your rescue, providing insights and recommendations straight from avid travelers who have had firsthand experience in the destination you plan on visiting.
Here’s a quick rundown of the best sources of up-to-date and relevant information.
Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree
For years, Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree has been the go-to forum for travelers. It first went online in 1996 and has grown into one of the most active and largest message boards to date with more than a million members worldwide.
What has made Thorn Tree widely popular is the wealth of information it provides, including insights you won’t find in Lonely Planet’s printed guidebooks. The forum has a huge archive that you can browse through and a sub-topics listing for your specific concerns.
You can simply post a question, too. More often than not, members of the Thorn Tree community will get back to you right away with their feedback.
TripAdvisor is not all hotel reviews. This top travel site also has a forums section where users share and exchange their opinions and expertise. Most of the forums are destination-based, although the site has also introduced specialized topics such as pets, solo and family travels, honeymoons, bargains, road trips, cruises, outdoor adventures, and travel gadgets.
The Q&A format suits the site well too, as questions hardly go unanswered thanks to the 500,000 or so travelers checking out TripAdvisor each day.
Not comfortable taking the word of anonymous strangers? Gogobot has the answer. This well-designed site directs your travel questions to people in your Facebook and Twitter networks who, based on their posts and photos, have “been there, done that.”
The idea is to seek input and advice from those you trust, that is, your family and friends. If no one in your network has been to the destination you’re inquiring about, you will be connected with other users on the site who might be of help. You can in turn share your thoughts on the places you have visited. Over a million have signed up as members of Gogobot since 2010—pretty good proof that its approach works.
With over five million user-generated travel recommendations, Wanderfly narrows it down for you by presenting those that match your personal tastes. So if you love the beach, the site will lead you to relevant tips from people who share the same interest.
In case you find someone who has a similar travel philosophy or whose suggestions are particularly helpful and interesting, you can follow that member for additional updates. Unlike traditional message boards, Wanderfly lets you get set up a profile and include a short biography to accompany your avatar.
Joining TravellersPoint Forum really feels like you’re joining an online travel community. The forum is friendly, active and well-moderated. Members from all over the world are ready to help you plan your trip or to swap tips and ideas. If you’re lucky, you might even find the perfect travel companion!
Fodor’s Travel Talk Forums
Fodor’s Travel Talk Forums is where you can engage in conversations about different destinations, flights and cruises, most relating to high-end rather than budget travel. The site also has a nifty recent-posts section and a compilation of pointers and suggestions for your next vacation (the best ones are sometimes published in Fodor’s guidebooks).
Check out the Trip Reports too, which features travelogues on specific destinations, written by members of the forum.
The VirtualTourist Forum lets you skip the threads (which sometimes seem to go on forever) and instead gets you answers to any question you have about a place you’re interested in visiting. It’s quite an active forum and thus gets the job done. Plus, you won’t have trouble navigating the site, as you can sort postings by continent or country.
Aside from these, there are a bunch of other travel forums online. Don’t miss out on the chance to learn just how much they can help you plan your vacation!