There’s a lot to be said for online communities when arranging your travel plans.
Of course, as fate would have it, the first time I was backpacking around the world I had very limited internet access due to an even more limited budget. Sending home regular “yes, I’m still alive” emails was about the extent of it, unless I was staying at the well-equipped (computer and internet) home of a friend or family member.
But what I’ve figured out on subsequent trips is that if you’re visiting a country that has good internet coverage (note: this doesn’t necessarily work every time!) then you’re more likely to get better deals by planning your journey online.
Getting it all together online
Online research saves time in the long-run as you’re able to scope out the places you want to visit to get a better idea of your itinerary. With a better background knowledge of the place, you can even scrap the guidebook when you’re there and rely instead on local recommendations – trusting that you’re getting the best advice because you’ve done your research and it’s not the first time you’ve heard about the area’s travel hotspots or off-the-beaten-track hints and tips.
For anyone travelling on a budget, online research can also save you significant money – especially if you’re doing it on your parents’ or university’s computer! But where significant savings can be made is by checking out online community notice boards and classifieds. For instance, a friend was stuck recently trying to find last-minute accommodation in London. Not wanting to pay for a week-long stay in a London hotel, she instead checked out gumtree.com for short-term vacation rentals and couch surfing options, and low and behold, she was onto a winner – for a much cheaper price.
Booking hotels online can also be a great option to save some dosh on a quality night’s sleep, just like finding New York hotels online. It’s a simple equation: travellers need hotels; hotels need travellers. Why not have the two meet halfway and get acquainted in cyberspace? It’s just another appealing reason to get out there, get travelling, and see the world!