I travel. A lot. I have shelves filled with guidebooks, thumbed and inked up like a favorite study bible. Call me old-fashioned but I want to read the opinions of one seasoned travel writer who has thoroughly researched a place before writing a word.
I won’t go to yelp, urban spoon, travelocity or any of the other user-generated content sites. I don’t trust ’em. Too many diatribes. Bias is OK; sheer meanness or blindingly-glowing praise means something’s going on and they aren’t telling me.
Give me a Frommer’s, a Rick Steves, a Lonely Planet, a Fodor’s and I know I’ll travel well and wisely.
I do, however, rely on travel tweets. Some are written by tourism organizations but I have found them trustworthy. And I’ve found travel writers who, like me, can’t wait until their magazine article, their book or their column come out to tell you all about their new favorite place or latest disaster. They are wise. They are interesting. And, without a doubt they are helpful.
I’ve been to Phoenix and Scottsdale a number of times but felt I was missing something so when a meeting was scheduled for fall 2011, I started following @ScottsdaleAZ and @Phoenixtourism. I even sent direct messages asking for places they thought were not to be missed — Old Town Scottsdale (which I had somehow missed) and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West (which I knew and planned to see again.)
That worked so well, I’ve kept doing it. I go to Fort Myers, Fla., every year. So I just keep following @FtMyersSanibel. Their posts offer suggestions for my next visit — and take me there for a brief, though virtual, moment.
To prepare for my spring trip to Austria last year, I added a new twitterer and keep closer tabs on one I’ve followed for a long time. @viennaunwrapped offers the most wonderful information in her newsletter and her twitter feed. The more I read the more I couldn’t wait for my trip.
I have followed the tweets of Andreas Susana @Travelwriticus since I started tweeting years ago. I knew one day I’d return to Austria and I found his writing fascinating. As my trip grew closer I tweeted a few questions and he replied with some great ideas, links to pictures and websites. And we even decided to meet in Vienna. We spent a delightful few hours as he showed my husband and me Vienna’s churches, palaces and coffeehouses. I’ve always been grateful for the time and interest he shared with us.
So guess what? I’ve got a trip to Portugal in the works. Of course, I’ve got new tweeple to follow. @turismportugal and @visitportugal tweet and retweet articles and photos that keep me waiting impatiently for our trip.
Along the way I’ve discovered that a lot of great travel writers are on Twitter and I follow them for a number of reasons: they write about where I want to go someday; they have great ideas, hints and suggestions; their writing is terrific. These include @JohnnyJet, @GoGirlfriend, @SarahDuff, @TravelAndrew, @RealTenerife and @travelhags.There are many more than I have time to follow. And, yes, I keep adding more anyway.
So thanks to my favorite Tweeple! See you on Twitter — and maybe we’ll meet one day.
© 2013 Photos and text. Mary K. Tilghman