The following list is, in my opinion, the only 5 forums you need to check out in order to become an educated traveler. There are hundreds to choose from, but these sites focus on all aspects of travel, in every major country, and have hundreds if not thousands of daily users registered. Each heading is a direct link to its respective site — click to see them for yourself.
1. Thorn Tree
I’m fairly certain that this is one of the oldest travel forums on the Internet. I was chatting with fellow travelers — asking questions, getting advice, learning about non-mainstream destinations, etc. — back in the 1990’s in dialup times! They have country specific forums where you can go and find out all the information you need to know about your continent of interest including: culture, best places to eat, most affordable hotels, cleanest hotels, hostels, house sitting opportunities available, and much more. The really awesome part about this community is their “Travel Companions” section which I’ve used more than once in the past. You can find like-minded travelers before you go or after you land.
This is a really nicely laid out, plain and simple travelers forum. I’ll admit I haven’t used it a great deal myself, but have several travel buddies who do. This place is really active. Like Thorn Tree, there’s country specific forums, with a huge emphasis on itinerary planning. Want to know where to get the best deal on a Eurail pass? You’ll get several answers from educated travelers in the shortest amount of time possible. There’s tons of tips and one really great thing I love about this forum is the detailed warnings and reviews, including rip-off reports for various hotels, hostels, vendors and different services you can encounter at various destinations. This place is great for the occasional “hotspot only” traveler or for the consummate “off-the-beaten-path” backpacker looking to get the most out of each experience.
Traveller’s Point boasts to have over 700,000 registered users, but you’ll note that there are a lot less posts happening on this site than the other two mentioned already. It still has several daily threads being started and plenty of posters offering advice mind you; just not as many as Thorn Tree or Fodor’s. This site is much more streamlined in appearance and if you’re not a fan of all the pop-up and sidebar ads found on other travel sites, you’ll really love this one: I think there’s like one pop up when you first enter and a couple of small text ads on-page. Anyhow, Traveller’s Point (spelled the UK way, though I’m not sure where it was founded) focuses on a lot of interesting topics for newbie travelers such as posts about how to obtain various extended stay visas in a variety of locales, tips for finding work abroad before you go and after you land, along with plane, hotel, hostel and budget tips to suit every traveler’s interest. There’s country specific forums to select on the main page, but they aren’t nearly as segmented as my first two picks.
4. Rick Steve’s
If you’re familiar with travel vlogging and blogging, you might be wondering why this one didn’t make the top of the list. This forum contains tons of information about European travel. The one problem I have with it is that there’s so much information and so many navigation menus to sort through. However, it’s comprehensive and you’ll certainly find what you need, it’s just a bit more complicated then the first three forums listed. There’s also a graveyard of posts that go unanswered, though also hundreds and hundreds that do, leading me to believe that there are likely thousands of daily visitors to this huge site and forum. Destination tips, travel reports, destination/hotel/restaurant reviews, and much more are included. If you’ve watched Rick Steve’s “Travel Europe” this forum could be labeled as a direct extension of the topics he tackles on the show.
This forum won’t win any style points for its webpage design, but that’s also what makes it so join-worthy. This site has all the features offered by the others on my list. The meet and greet section for finding travel companions is very active on this site. One of the coolest features is the travel photo contest where the winner can win a free $300 travel credit for a guided overseas travel vacation with a group of 10 – 16 other travelers. The recent winning photo is a spectacular sunlight silhouette featuring a herd of elephants on the African Savannah, just as the sun is going down: https://www.oattravel.com/community/traveler-photo-contest. Really epic!
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