Travel research: my top tips for researching your destination
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.