Travel Message Boards
Guidebooks get out of date fast. Magazine articles were written six months ago. Message boards can give you the real scoop now, from people who just came from where you are traveling to, or are actually in the place right now. Here is a selection of tried and true online travel bulletin boards that will provide the inside scoop.
The following guidebook sites have terrific message boards geared to the income level of their typical readers:
The Lonely Planet Thorn Tree gets more traffic than any travel board on the planet.
The Fodor's message board is quite active too and is good for restaurants and hotels. Flyertalk is where road warriors collecting frequent flyer miles and hotels points hang out.
The Frommer's community isn't as large, but can be helpful.
BootsnAll has an active message board comprised of budget travelers on the move and contains some useful articles and blogs.
To see what other people are saying about a hotel or area, go to TripAdvisor, Hostelz, or VirtualTourist. These sites specialize in customer-written content and reviews. Be advised that these systems are easy to game, however, and there have been reports of trumped-up reviews written by insiders. It's best to act like an Olympic judging panel: through out the high and the low scores and average out the rest.
Go to Planeta.com for discussion on responsible tourism.
Go to ChowHound for foodie talk on a specific destination.
SlowTravel has an active message board for those who like to rent houses, apartments, or villas while traveling. Especially good for Europe.
To figure out how to get the best deals at Priceline and Hotwire, go to Bidding for Travel and Better Bidding.
For message boards related to living abroad or being an expat, return to the Resources page.