Just a quick note to mention there is a new rail travel forum. It’s just been started, so there is not much yet, but it aims to cover rail travel worldwide:
When planning any trip involving rail I check, of course, Seat 61 and the relevant railway company websites. Now I can also use this new forum.
And for general travel planning I also check:
- A guidebook I can get my hands on free – e.g. at the library – Rough Guides, Lonely Planet etc.
- Trip Advisor
- Websites of relevant countries if visas are an issue
- Couchsurfing to see if there is anyone interesting to meet
- any relevant blog sites I can find
- and sometimes Agoda or hotels.com etc. or hotel sites directly
- Sometimes I also check Wikipedia for homicide rates and road accident rates to see if a country should be avoided or needs extra precautions. Wikipedia is so politically slanted I don’t generally trust it, but for these details is probably OK.
But I am not too much into planning, and don’t feel the need to see everything when I travel. I prefer to chat to locals (thus couchsurfing), and sit around with a coffee or beer and watch what’s happening. And then just wander around.
If I am going somewhere familiar or easy – like western Europe – I hardly feel the need to plan at all until I am there at a coffee shop, and then I might fire up a browser or peruse brochures picked up at a tourist bureau. Sure, if I arrive at night I will possibly have accommodation already sorted, but otherwise I prefer the relaxed, spontaneous approach. And I travel very light, so I can carry my luggage all day if it’s easier that way.
If I have got it all wrong, or have missed anything, please let me know.