In an interesting move, TripAdvisor acquires VirtualTourist (and also OneTime). VirtualTourist is one of the oldest and largest travel community sites, all user-generated. Interesting indeed…
Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category
Several years ago, travel communities were a huge promise. Many websites tried to give travelers what they want – a place to share their experiences, find new travel mates, upload their photos, and a place to ask questions and get information about their planned trips. Examples for travel communities include WAYN, TripUp, TravBuddy and RealTravel.
TripTouch’s office is in Ramat Hahayal - a high-tech “park” in Tel-Aviv, just besides the Yarqon Park (which is a real beautiful green thing).
Anyway a couple of days ago we decided to check out a new place they built in the park. It’s a coffee shop plus bicycle store (cycling is the thing today in Israel). Anyway it’s fun to be out in the open. Makes you wonder why we’re doing a web page instead of really traveling, eh?
I just found out about the “Gap-Year”. It seems that the Britons (and other Europeans, actually) sometimes take a year off during their university studies, or after the end of their studies, before starting working.
We Israelis have it a different way - in age 18 we go to the army for 3 years (boys) or 2 years (girls). Then usually we take our gap between army and studies - and spend a little time traveling (usually to south america, SE Asia, India or AU/NZ).
But anyway I think it’s great to take some time off and spend a few months traveling. It really opens your mind up to new ideas and people. And it’s fun of course. I had my own gap-half-year in NZ and Samoa.
Anyway the web is offering some specialized places for people to hang out before their gap year with information. Obviously TripTouch is a good place to find information. Some sites go even further and give information about volunteering in some places, placements and jobs. One cool site is Gap Year World Wide which is worth a look if you’re thinking about a gap year yourself. I like the teaching and charitable projects bit. Good on them!
There are many resources in the internet for backpackers… Interestingly most of them are not “commercial” but rather made by people who want to help fellow backpackers. I guess this is because most people assume there is “no money” in backpacking.
Reading actual researches reveal that the average backpacker spends *more* than other travelers - sure, they spend less per day, but their overall trip length makes up for it.
Anyway, there’s a new forum for backpackers, that I just found out about. It’s really new, so there are a few glitches yet, but it’s a clean simple forum, with emphasis on the “essentials” - packing, transportation, passports, visa, etc. I think that’s an interesting focus, and I hope these guys will be able to attract visitors and content.
In an interesting move, BBC buys the lonely planet - the travel guide publishers. Interestingly BBC see this as part of their internet efforts. Does that mean that they will focus more on the web and less on the printed guides? Time will tell. Currently The lonely-planet web site has very little content compared to the guides themselves (although it has forums and other services which are obviously only available online).
It’s the jewish new year now, and we wish you all a very happy year, hopefully filled with experiences and lot’s of trips of course
As an Israeli company, we decided to make Israel the first country we focus on . So we have added some locations, travel information and useful links. I think now we have a good site for Israel. We now need to make the same effort for more countries of course.
Most of our information comes from other sites (we’re a sort of mashup I guess) - but it seems that if you can make the information and presentation a lot better with not a large effort.
One of the first things we did when we started TripTouch is gather some information about travelers. The normal way of measuring tourism in countries is the number of arrivals. Our goal was to find the places for us to focus on at first. We need to find the countries with most tourists.
Some of those numbers really confused us. India for example has only 4.5 million arrival in a year. But there seems to be so many tourists there! When we thought a little about it, we understood that if you want to measure how many tourists are in a country, arrivals is not enough - the average length of the trip is important too. Many people go to India for long periods - it’s very common to stay for a few months or even a year. The correct figure we should be aiming at is the average amount of tourists in a country in a day.
My wife and I are going on a short vacation to Grindelwald, Switzerland. I decided to use the internet for two things - finding out what is there to do around there, and finding accommodation there.
It seems that even this simple task is not so easy to do… I visited about 5 known web sites, and many blogs and small local pages.
If you want to find accommodation, there’s a clear winner here - TripAdvisor has a lot of hotels, they are all rated by users, and you can read tips about them. It’s easy to do, and really gives you the feeling that you can choose. Ordering via TripAdvisor is not so cool, as they simply open up a few web sites (orbitz, expedia, hotels.com, etc.) and each gives you the rate. I must say that Kayak’s approach of aggregating all offers in the same page is more elegant.
Finding out what to do in Grindelwald was a lot harder. Even though it’s one of the most popular places in Switzerland, information is hard to find one. I looked at several blogs, but didn’t have the patience to actually read them. Sites like RealTravel or VirtualTourist have too much text and I just couldn’t bear it to actually go over and read it all. WikiTravel usually has good content, but not for my location… that’s the problem with user generated content I guess. At the end I found one nice blog who had mostly pictures, and a few sentences about every little trek around the village. That one was the most useful…