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When people think of traveling, grand destinations like Paris, New York, the Egyptian Pyramids, or other world renowned and wondrous places tend to be the first things to come to mind. That said, most of them have not taken the time to truly go out and see everything that there is in the area surrounding them. They even have not known there is any local tourist attractions. Below are five useful resources and methods for finding local travel destinations.
5. User Review Websites
- Angie’s List – http://www.angieslist.com/
- Yelp – http://www.yelp.com/
- TripAdvisor – http://www.tripadvisor.com/
Marketing websites like Yelp, AngiesList, and TripAdvisor are a mix between companies offering discounts and repositories for user review and feedback. If you are trying to find a great place to eat or a cheap place to stay, these can be indispensable. Try not to rely entirely on them, as it is not uncommon for businesses in more competitive areas to bolster their presence there. Specific reviews may be useful, but the most accurate representation of the true merit of a business will come from ones with a larger number of reviews.
The wonderful thing about GroupOn is that you can find ideas on where to go and what to do while traveling and get them at a discount at the same time. There is no limit to what you might find, and you know precisely that you are looking for advertisements on deals directly from the company, so there is no ambiguity over the source of the information like there is with user reviewed websites.
If you do decide to purchase one of the deals off the site, be aware of the return policies and acceptable time frames to take advantage of the deal. If your trip suddenly has to change due to circumstances, you may find yourself having wasted a bit of cash.
3. Tourism Websites and Government Agencies
Given the amount of revenue tourism can bring in for an area, it is no surprise that many states and cities spend money on promotions and marketing for local hot spots. If there is something that the governing body thinks might draw an outsider to spend money in their province, you can expect to find it here. The quality of these websites varies, but you can expect most states and reasonably sized cities to have useful ones.
For smaller towns, you can consider contacting the Chamber of Commerce. They should have a list of all or most businesses in their area, including tourist attractions. They may be a bit slower with the information than a prepared website, though.
2. Social Media
Travelling and looking for interesting places is an ingrained human response, so you can tap into the collective to gain some insights on where to go and what to do. For example, if you were interested in visiting a small town nearby, you might go to Facebook, search for people from the city, and join a local group. From there, you can get insider knowledge on what the best bets are. You cold also go to Twitter, find people from the area, and do the same. Effectively, any version of using social media is akin to using a user review website, but you are more likely to get obscure and genuine information, especially for smaller areas that may be less likely to have a pronounced Internet presence.
The major downsides to the social media approach are reliability and expediency. If one or two people tell you about how awesome the spooky house at the end of the street is and that they are willing to give you a tour, you should definitely double check your information. You might also not receive a reply within a specified time frame, since you are waiting on volunteered information. If you are intending to plan a trip with social media feedback, allow an extra week or two to make sure you get a broad survey response.
With all of the information exchanges available to us today, we sometimes forget that we can use our own senses and locomotive powers to travel around the area and see what might be there. While this method is less of a guarantee of a good time than the above, you are more likely to find something unique and unexpected, whether you are trekking through a forest, wandering an unknown town, or immersing yourself in a grand city.
Hopefully, these tips will help you find your way to local travel destinations that inspire and excite. Be sure to share them with your fellow travelers, as well.