Using Online Guides to Guide Your Offline Adventures

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“Geocaching” (CC BY 2.0) by Johan Larsson

In decades gone by, the only way to navigate your way around a foreign land was to get out a compass and follow your nose. In more recent times, maps and travel guides have made the processes a lot easier, but even with these aids, it’s not always obvious where you should be going or what you should be doing.

For example, a local directory covering Toronto will tell you where various landmarks and points of interest are, but they won’t go into much more detail than the address and maybe some of its defining features. What you won’t get from a directory or even a map is what the landmark is like and whether it’s worth visiting.

Using Technology is the Best Way to Plan Your Trips

“Smartphone” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Chris 07110

Now, at this point you’ve probably got two questions: surely I can use a pocket travel guide? And, isn’t the point of travelling to discover new places and see things for yourself? The answer to both questions is yes.  You’re correct. However, in an age where time and money are often an issue, travelling to every landmark in the hope it will be interesting isn’t possible or, let’s be honest, a good use of your time.

Fortunately, technology has stepped in to save the day once again, this time with review sites. Planning a trip has never been easier or more efficient thanks to the collective knowledge of the internet. Today, regardless of your interests, you can go online and read reviews, rating and everything else in between before you commit to doing or buying something. In fact, what the best travellers do is use the reviews and thoughts of experts and then cross-reference them with personal opinions from those that have done it.

Essentially, before you set foot outside the door, you can create a personalised itinerary of things to do that, according to the masses, should be worth doing. With this idea in mind, we’ve picked out a few examples of the online resources you can use to guide your online experiences.

Expert Insight Sites

“talk to the experts” (CC BY 2.0) by Mai Le

The first port of call on your online journey should be what we call “expert” sites. These are sites where a team of industry experts have reviewed something and given their professional opinion on it. For example, let’s say you’re planning a trip to Windsor, Ontario, and you want to know if it’s worth going to famous Caesars casino.

If you’ve never played a casino game, then you won’t know if it’s for you. To address this issue, you can visit an information hub like Online-Casinos-Canada.ca. On this online Canadian guide site you’ll not only get insights into the top virtual casinos in Canada, but the industry itself. The “games” tab will tell you about the history of each game, how it’s played and anything you should be looking out for.

Once you’ve picked up enough knowledge about the casino industry, you’ll not only know whether Caesars Windsor is a place you’ll enjoy but how you can make the best of your visit too.

Personal Review Sites

“Movie review card” (CC BY 2.0) by PersonalCreations.com

Although the experts are great at educating you about a particular subject, they’re often speaking from a neutral standpoint. The aim of any review is to offer a balanced overview of something so that people can then go off, test it out and form their own opinions. Because of this, it’s important to add some subjective sources to your quest for knowledge, ideally coming from people who seem to share your likes and dislikes.

For instance, if you wanted to get a firsthand account of what a Sao Paulo street carnival was really like (it was grungy but fun), we wrote a piece about it. Similarly, if you want to know what a particular hotel is like, you could go onto Trip Advisor and read people’s mini-reviews.

Although you need to balance the personal review both with the experts’ opinions and the subjective options themselves, these sites can provide a fantastic insight into an area, event or landmark.

Comparison Sites

“Loving the @skyscanner London office. #s” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by todoleo

The final online tool you should be using to guide your offline travels are comparison sites. In order to find the best deals and, moreover, the best things to do, you need to compare like for like. The most obvious example of this is SkyScanner.net. Regardless of where, how and when you want to fly, this site will sift through the most relevant airlines to find you the cheapest deals.

Similarly, if you wanted to fly and stay close to Niagara Falls, Sky Scanner would give you an overview of the best prices as well as links to expert and personal reviews. Basically, when you combine comparison sites with expert knowledge hubs and personal review sites, you shouldn’t go too far wrong on your travels. Although you may still get the occasional almost-wasted journey or bum experience, the amount of information available online should enable you to have the trip of your life.

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

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