Chapter Four

Online travel research portals

BootsnAll.com
Billed as “the ultimate resource for the independent traveler,” this online travel community features trip planning advice, advice from regional “insiders,” a useful message board to post and answer travel questions, and a fine collection of travelogues from everyday vagabonders. A recommended resource in planning and researching your travels.

Go Nomad
A comprehensive online resource center, designed to provide independent and alternative travelers with information and inspiration to plan their travels in the U.S. and abroad.

Virtual Tourist
A worldwide travel community where travelers and locals share travel advice and experiences.

I Go U Go
Another dynamic online travel community, featuring message boards, photo galleries, and “travel journals” to over 2000 destinations worldwide.

Travellerspoint Travel Community
An international meeting point for travelers worldwide, useful for planning journeys and finding (or keeping in touch with) travel friends.

Johnny Jet
Links to air travel, weather, money, travel warnings, insurance, packing, guidebooks, and dozens of other specialty topics.

World Travel Guide
Basic travel information on destinations worldwide, including city and country guides that you can download to a handheld computer.

Wikitravel
Open source travel guide featuring up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, restaurants, travel tips and more.

Online travel consumer information

TripAdvisor.com
A free travel guide and research website that assists customers in gathering travel information, posting opinions of travel related issues and engaging in interactive travel forums.

Yelp
Local information about activities and services in a number of U.S. cities.

Travel social-networking and blog networks

Matador Travel
A worldwide online community of travelers, writers, photographers, adventurers, and grass-roots organizations.

Meetup.com
Meetup helps people meet like minded friends around the world.

WAYN
A lifestyle and travel social network that connects like-minded people for activities in locations around the world.

Dopplr
Billed as a “social atlas,” members share personal and business travel plans privately with their networks, and exchange tips on places to stay, eat and explore in cities worldwide. iPhone app also available to share travel plans.

TravelBlog.org
A collection of travel journals, diaries and photos from around the planet.

Hospitality and hostelling resources

CouchSurfing
An international non-profit network that connects travelers with locals in over 230 countries and territories around the world.

The Hospitality Club
Brings hosts and guests, travelers and locals together. Members can look at each other’s profiles, send messages and post comments about their experience on the website.

Servas
An international, non-governmental, multicultural peace association that connects travelers and hosts, and is run by volunteers in over 100 countries.

Global Freeloaders
An online community that brings people together for free accommodation all over the world.

Friendship Force
Friendship Force International provides opportunities to explore new countries and cultures from the inside by bringing people together at the personal level. Through the signature program of home hospitality, local hosts welcome international visitors into their culture, sharing with them meals, conversation, and the best sights and experiences of their region.

Caretaker Gazette
Since 1983, the Caretaker Gazette has helped people find property caretaking and housesitting jobs as well as providing information to caretakers, housesitters and landowners.

HouseCarers.com
Caretaking network that has been helping people find caretaking jobs and caretakers since 2000.

MonasteryStays.com
Service to arrange stays in Italian monasteries.

Hostelworld.com
Hostel search and booking service. Website includes articles and social networking opportunities.

HostelBookers.com
Free hostel booking service that includes on-site reviews.

Hostels.com
Another hostel booking service.

Gomio.com
Social hostel booking platform. Connect with travelers who will be in the same hostel.

Online government travel resources

Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. State Department
Link page of official travel information for U.S. Citizens.

Canadian Consular Affairs
Link page of official travel information for Canadian citizens.

Passport Services, U.S. State Department
Everything Americans need to know about applying for and receiving a passport.

Canadian Passport Office
Everything Canadians need to know about applying for and receiving a passport.

Foreign Entry Requirements
A U.S. State Department tip sheet listing entry and visa requirements for Americans traveling to nations worldwide.

Tips for Traveling Abroad
Tip sheet from the U.S. State Department, listing passport and visa needs, immunization tips, health and money matters, safety information, and general tips.

CIA World Factbook
A database of basic political, geographical, demographic, economic, communication, transportation, military and transnational statistics about every country in the world.

Guidebook publishers

Lonely Planet Publications
Australia-based Lonely Planet is the biggest and most well known franchise in the budget travel world. These well-researched and well-organized travel guidebooks cover every region of the world — and the series also includes language phrasebooks, trekking guides, wildlife viewing guides, travel health guides, international food guides, maps, atlases, and travel videos. The Lonely Planet website is a great portal for travel research, with basic tip sheets for every country in the world, columns from travel experts, an online health guide, “Theme Guides” to give you travel ideas, international news, and the massive “Thorn Tree” message board, where you can post and answer questions about all manner of travel.

Moon Handbooks
Based in the USA, Moon Handbooks are an excellent resource for destinations in North America, Mexico, Central America, and some Asian regions (including Southeast Asia, South Korea, and the authoritative Indonesia Handbook).

Let’s Go Publications
Updated yearly by Harvard students since 1960, Let’s Go guides have a young emphasis, and address the basics for beginning travelers. Strong on European and North American destinations. Website includes travel articles, links, and a message board for destinations and specialty concerns (older travelers, gay and lesbian travelers, etc.).

Footprint Handbooks
Footprint’s South America Handbook has been considered the authoritative independent travel guide to the continent since the 1920’s. Excellent individual guidebooks for Latin American countries, as well as destinations in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East. Emphasis on cultural and historical information. Website includes basic travel tips on all countries and regions covered by Footprints books.

Rough Guides Travel
England’s answer to the Lonely Planet, with an emphasis on Europe, Asia, Central America, and North America. In addition to guidebooks, Rough Guides Travel also produces phrasebooks, world music guides, and reference titles regarding travel health and women’s travel. Website includes a “Travel Talk” message board for questions about destinations worldwide, “Travel Journals” by everyday vagabonders, and “Spotlight” articles on various regions of the world.

Frommer’s Guides
One of the bestselling travel guides in America for more than 50 years. Founded in 1957 with the publication of Arthur Frommer’s Europe on $5 a Day the series has since expanded to include over 350 guidebooks across 14 series. The Frommers.com website covers over 3,500 destinations.

Bradt Travel Guides
Literary British guidebooks, with excellent coverage of Africa and South America, as well as unusual destinations like Iraq, the Arctic, and the Falkland Islands.

Rick Steves’ Europe Guides
Well-researched independent budget travel guides to popular destinations in Europe.

Fodor’s Guides
The world’s largest publisher of English language travel and tourism information.

Travelers’ Tales
This series of destination guidebooks and literary anthologies doesn’t give much practical travel advice. Rather, its various volumes are lively collections of stories from travelers (famous and otherwise) worldwide. Good inspirational and informative reading before you start your travels.

Travel idea books

The World’s Cheapest Destinations: 21 Countries Where Your Money is Worth a Fortune, by Tim Leffel (Booklocker.com, 2013, Kindle and print)
Offers lowdown on the best bargain-priced international destinations, with sample prices and key attractions. Available in Kindle and print.

How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter, by Matt Kepnes (Pergiree, 2013, Kindle and print)
Tips, tricks, and secrets to comfortable budget travel; a blend of advice ranging from travel hacking to smart banking.

The Smart Traveler’s Passport: 399 Tips from Seasoned Travelers, by Erik Torkells (Quirk Books, 2007, print).
A compendium of travel tips from the readers of Budget Travel Magazine.

Globetrotter Dogma: 100 Canons for Escaping the Rat Race and Exploring the World, by Bruce Northam (New World Library, 2002, Kindle and print)
Hard-won nuggets of travel wisdom boiled down into 100 enlightening recommendations for making the most of seeing the world.

The Rough Guide First-Time Around The World, by Rough Guides (Rough Guides, 2013, print)
General trip-planning guide with tips on things like creating an itinerary, keeping safe, and saving money; also has overland maps and descriptions of global attractions.

Make the Most of Your Time on Earth (Rough Guides, 2007, print)
A colorful run-down of 1000 fascinating travel experiences around the world.

World Party: The Rough Guide to the World’s Best Festivals (Rough Guides, 2006, print)
A guide to over 200 of the greatest events on earth, including what you need to know before you go and what to do while you’re there, as well as the practical details that can make or break your trip.

The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World by Edward Hasbrouck (Avalon, 2011, print)
Tips for long term travel.

The Rough Guide to Ultimate Adventures 1 by Greg Witt (Rough Guides, 2008, print)
Book packed with adventurous and adrenaline-packed ideas for the traveler.

Lonely Planet A Year of Adventures by Andrew Bain (Lonely Planet, 2010, print)
Organized by month and week, find a year’s worth of adventures from kayaking with orcas in Canada to snow biking in France to volcano boarding in Nicaragua.

100 Countries, 5000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do (National Geographic, 2011, print)
Large format book with a lifetime’s worth of travel ideas.

Adventure and Expedition Travel

Alastair Humphreys
National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Alastair Humphreys plans and executes expeditions, large and small, from epic treks across vast tracts of land to after-work “micro-adventures.”

A Year of Watching Wildlife by David Lukas (Lonely Planet, 2009, print)
Organized by month and week, this guide can help a wildlife lover plan their adventures.

International information and news

The Economist
This London-based magazine offers the best international reporting of any major English-language newsweekly. Widely available overseas.

AP Global News Network
News and links from the Associated Press.

New York Times World
International news from the paper of record.

BBC World News
International news from the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Google News
Powerful news aggregator and search engine.

OnlineNewspapers.com
Database offering quick access to online newspapers from countries worldwide.

World Press Review
Drawing on newspapers and magazines around the world, this monthly magazine examines international issues often overlooked by the U.S. Media.

Al Jazeera
International news coverage, especially of the Middle East.

Independent travel magazines

Outpost Magazine
Toronto-based magazine written by adventurous independent travelers. Many articles archived online.

Wanderlust
UK-based magazine for the independent traveler.

World Hum
This online magazine features first-person literary travel tales, travel advice and commentary, and one of the best travel-oriented blogs in cyberspace.

Afar Magazine
San Francisco-based magazine covering experiential travel.

Perceptive Travel
An online magazine featuring travel stories from wandering book authors.

Independent travel blog resources

Rolf Potts’ Vagabonding blog
Advice, news and links for the vagabonding traveler.

Gadling
A news-filled travel blog from AOL.

Jaunted
A pop-culture travel guide.

Vagabondish
“The travel-zine for today’s vagabond.”

Intelligent Travel
Travel news and links from National Geographic Traveler.

Budget Travel’s Blog
Travel news and links from Budget Travel.

Nomadic Matt
Tips, photos, videos, commentary and links related to travel.

Alltop Travel
A no-nonsense aggregator of travel blogs.

Vagabond Journey
Blog about long term travel that includes tips and resources.

Go Backpacking
This blog is dedicated to inspiring and motivating others to make their travel dreams come true, whether it be a one week vacation or a 5-year vagabonding odyssey.

Road Junky
This guide includes information on working, health, budget, ideas, on the road and culture.

The Art of Non-Conformity
Chris Guillebeau’s unconventional strategies for life, work and travel.

Worldette
Inspirational travel-related content.

The Professional Hobo
Traveling full time in a financially sustainable way.

General travel magazines

Conde Nast Traveler
Well-written stories with a strong emphasis on upscale and luxury travel. Website features photos, travel advice columns, and contests.

Islands
Stories by top writers about travel to the islands of the world. Some features archived online.

National Geographic
This classic, beautifully photographed magazine has probably inspired more vagabonders from childhood than any other American magazine in the last 100 or so years. Interactive website features archived photos and stories, as well as resource links for international issues.

National Geographic Traveler
Travel stories and tips for North American and world destinations. Website contains exclusive online features and discussion forums.

Outside Magazine
Travel and adventure writing with an emphasis on outdoor sports. Website features online articles and advice about travel destinations and gear.

Travel & Leisure
An American Express publication with an emphasis on luxury travel. Well-written articles on foreign cultures and destinations. Travel advice, classifieds, and some features available online.

Budget Travel
Magazine featuring practical tips and strategies for saving money on the road.

Student and gap year travel resources

Student Travel Association
Specializing in travel discounts and overseas work visas for students.

Travel Cuts
Travel booking service for student and youth travel.

Institute of International Education
One of the world’s largest and most experienced international education and training organizations.

Your Gap Year: Everything You Need To Know to Make Your Year Out The Adventure of a Lifetime, by Susan Griffith (Vacation Work, 2007, print)
A handbook for students who want to make the most of a year off before or after college.

Delaying the Real World, by Coleen Kinder (Running Press, 2005, print)
Details job and travel opportunities for the recently graduated twentysomething who yearns to create a long- or short-term adventure.

Escape Guide to the Ultimate Gap Year by Amar Hussain (Escape Guides, 2013, Kindle)
Short digital guide to planning and preparing for the ultimate gap year.

Online air ticketing services and tools

Round the World Ticket Trip Planner

Cheap Tickets

EconomyTravel.com

Expedia Travel

FareCompare.com

Hotwire

Kayak.com

LowestFare.com

Priceline

Travelocity.com

Airfare Watchdog

Yapta

ITA Matrix

Last Minute

AirTreks

Star Alliance Round the World Tickets

SkyTeam Round the World Tickets

Other transportation resources

Seat 61
Detailed information on how to travel the world by train and ferry.

Flyer Talk
Information on message boards on travel, flying, and making the most of frequent flyer programs

Seat Guru
Airplane seat maps and information.

DigiHitch
Hitchhiking message board.

Travel insurers

eGlobal Health Insurers 1-417-882-1413

HTH Worldwide 1-888-243-2358

InsureMyTrip.com 1-800-487-4722

International Student Insurance 1-877-758-4391

Insurance Services of America 1-800-647-4589

Seven Corners travel insurance 1-800-335-0611

Travel Insurance Services

Travel Insurance Center 1-866-979-6753

World Nomads

TravelInsurance.org