Travel research: my top tips for researching your destination

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Ok some of you might not know exactly what I mean by travel research. Think of it like this… you plan a trip somewhere you have never been. Maybe you have a lot of time to think about the trip, wonder where you will go, where to eat, and so on. You might be considering a big move to somewhere exotic and want to know if it is the right place for you. This is when you begin to research a destination. You want to discover all you can about it before you go. This is travel research – being able to research a destination, in detail. Here are my top tips of how to do it!

Tip read: The benefits of planning your own itinerary and the best practices for doing so.

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YouTube for travel research

Ok, so right now I am travel researching the hell out of Phuket. A lot of this is basically tourism research on what the area has to offer. I have never been but I have been to other parts of Thailand and I loved it. We want to go somewhere a bit longer term than a ‘holiday’ and so I began to look into living on Koh Samui for a while. (I have been to Koh Samui before and loved it!) Koh Samui all looks fantastic, and I know my way about. I really enjoy seeing new places though, and looking into Phuket we noticed we can get a much bigger house for a much smaller monthly cost! Yay!

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The only thing is I have never been. So when I see these stunning houses I literally have no idea about the town they are in. This is where YouTube comes in! The small village is called Koh Kaew (there seems to be multiple spellings around so this puts a spanner in the works too!) I just threw the name into YouTube and came across a cool aerial view of the town! It gave me a really good feel for the place. I could kind of see the type of weather and layout there which was pretty awesome.

Travel research using travel guides

This one is pretty obvious. You can use travel guides to research your destination. That is why they were written after all. I have three different books about Thailand now, and one for most other places I have been or plan to go. I like to study the places I plan to go in detail so I do not miss out. For me, knowing the layout of the maps lets me feel less ‘lost.’ Travel books are great for this because they often show landmarks on the maps to keep things simple. They often have handy pull out maps to take with you too! This is great when a lot of less-developed countries aren’t offering internet everywhere you go.

Tip read: How to save the most money on Booking.com

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Reykjavik travel guide

Google maps

I love this tool! Before I went to Bangkok I had virtually walked the streets. That is how excited I was to go! When researching Phuket recently I chucked myself into the map and had a walk around the town to see what was on offer. Some of the buildings may change, but you get a general idea of how well a town is doing, what shops are on offer, how clean it is and so on!

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Blogs and expat sites

This one is very powerful. Reading blogs about destinations is really exciting. No two people live the exact same experience of a place, so remember that. This can help you understand that one bad review isn’t the end of the world (and one good one doesn’t mean its amazing either!) You can simply type in ‘blog’ and your destination in google and you are bound to find something. These are real, raw experiences worth listening to.

How to do travel research and plan the best trip yet #travel
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18 Comments

  • What a great idea for a post! I’ve done a ton of research for trips but never even thought to use YouTube for inspiration/information – great idea! I always use pinterest to find travel blogs about the places I’m visiting. You’re right – so much great information from other travel bloggers!

  • I agree, searching blog and the destination is a very good way to research a place. You can also do this with blog and the hotel name to check out the hotel you are thinking of, maybe someone has written an honest review. A good thing to do as well is once you are there, ask the local people because there are often things you miss whilst researching your trip at home.

  • I do all of these things when I’m planning a trip. I sit for hours and read blogs. I normally use Pinterest to pin things I like for quick freelance later. I’ve never really used YouTube though but I think I will need to add it to my list.

  • I definitely recommend looking at review sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, as well. Sometimes you have to find their local equivalent. But I agree that planning is so important!

  • Very detailed described how to plan for a trip. i was not doing Youtube research but now I would keep in mind for that. Blogging and Expat sites also are very important as they give genuine tips and recommendations.

  • Interesting way to research for your next big trip. I don’t bother with printed guidebooks anymore. They seem to be out of date by the time they hit the shelves. I’m with you! Read all the travel
    Blogs.

  • Researching for a trip is not only helpful for when you get there, but I love researching because in a way it is like already traveling. I am excited months ahead of time for my trip just by studying up on what I am going to do. I had never thought of using Youtube for researching a place, but what a great idea.

  • I’ve never used YouTube videos for travel research. It seems like a great way to get an idea of what the place you’re traveling to looks and feels like. I personally also like to read blogs and websites for insider tips and recommendations!

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