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How Do You Research a Trip?

Buzz Poole
04/02/2013 - 06:42
via Travels of Adam

As this CNN Money piece reports, two entrenched, highly-respected travel industry brands have been in the news lately, due to shifts in how travelers research their trips thanks to the abundance of free information available at their fingertips. The BBC sold Lonely Planet, at a loss; Frommer's, owned by Google, will no longer produce printed guidebooks. These stories signal the changes in how travelers gather information before they visit a destination.

Sure, you can now stay at home and explore Mt. Everest base camp. But after you gawk for a bit, you should feel inspired to go out and do something. Maybe a neighborhood stroll, perhaps the start of planning an adventure. For any question that might arise pre-departure, no matter the destination, we all peck a few choice words, let the search engine do the work, and voilà: answers galore. Of course, answers don't always equate to accuracy, one of the great ironies of the information age.

Both of these companies are synonymous with travel, having built their success on different kinds of, and equally informative, content. Lonely Planet has kept true to its first guidebook,  Across Asia on the Cheap, which forty years ago Maureen and Tony Wheeler stapled together, suggesting to travelers affordable and interesting options that don't shy away from main attractions, but also make it a point to get in with the locals. The first Frommer's guide, Europe on $5 a Day, came out in 1957, and since then has been embraced by travelers interested in authentic, and comfortable, travel experiences. Both companies remain in tact but how they best reach readers remains unresolved. Stephen Palmer, Lonely Planet's managing director, said that guidebooks had been "the only source of information for a traveler to go on. Now people are using six to eight different sources of information to plan that trip." 

So how do you prepare for a trip? Once you've booked the flight how do you figure out what you might do? Do you consult your favorite guidebook? Is there a dog-eared library copy on your nightstand? Do you read it from a screen? Do you surf the internet, picking and choosing information here and there? Do you prefer to speak with people you know who have visited your destination? 

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