Several Sources

Thursday, August 29, 2013
Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States
Take off is in three days!  

I've been telling Jen about some of the stuff we'll be doing, and I even created a special itinerary for her. I knew my itinerary would have wayyyyy too much words and detail, so she needed something more simple and to the point. She always asks me, "How did you find out about this?" 

The key is to not consult or read one brand or source. Books like Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, Fodor's and Frommers provide great information to get you started, but they shouldn't be relied upon solely. Lots of countries have a "top list" of things you can do online. Trip Advisor is remarkable for reviews and ideas, and many times reviewers provide extra tips or hints that aren't in the books. Rick Steves criticized Trip Advisor in my Spain guide because ANYONE can review. Honestly, I want ordinary people like me talking about this stuff, and not always someone who has been to these countries a million times and has the capacity to return at any time. Don't get me wrong. RS guides are very good, but don't think they are necessarily the be-all, end-all to travel guides.

Here's an example of where of where we could've missed out on something I think we'll really enjoy. This 24 Hours in Edinburgh site provides a complete 24-hour-guide without sleep, which seems a bit nuts. There are great suggestions, but touring the Royal Yacht Britannia is not listed. This was Queen Elizabeth's and the Royal Family's yacht for almost 40 years. It retired in 1997, and apparently the Queen cried during the decommissioning ceremony. The description of it and seeing how the Royal Family lived when at sea looks fascinating. Luckily, I read about this in my Lonely Planet guide, and we booked tickets.  

Another example is what Rick Steves mentions in his guidebook about Valentia Island, a tiny island off the Ring of Kerry, accessible by bridge and ferry. He talks about Skellig Experience Centre and the Heritage Museum, both of which sound like snoozefests, as Jen and I aren't big museum people. I thought maybe we'd just do a short drive through the island, and that would be that. But I did a search on Trip Advisor, and apparently visiting the Geokaun Mountain and Fogher Cliffs is remarkable. Someone even said spending 5 euro to get into the park was the best 5 euro spent in Ireland. Wow! Again, I think seeing this would be something we would really enjoy, and I'm glad I stumbled upon reading about it.  

The beauty about traveling now is the amount of sources available, for which I feel very fortunate. It makes traveling on your own much easier and cheaper.  

That's all for now and my two cents for today. 


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