Group Mind Meld

Get the latest on-the-ground travel tips, online

Jul 1, 2004
Outside Magazine

TIMELY LOCAL TRAVEL advice was once as tough to come by as a stiff drink in Salt Lake City. Looking for the new underground club in Tokyo or a drivable road to the coast in Peru's rainy season? You no longer need to hit up other travelers once you've landed, thanks to growing Web-based travel forums. Designed for swapping stories and info, these sites let you tap into the knowledge of thousands of frequent fliers—some logging on from the road—to float plans before making a critical mistake.

BEST FOR: Leisure vacations » PROFILE: 444,000 users trade thoughts on international getaways » TO USE: Plug keywords into the search engine » CHOICE BETA: Hit the best bed-and-breakfasts along the Tour de France route.

BEST FOR: Exotic adventures » PROFILE: Extended travelogues (some with photos and video) filed by 10,000 bold wanderers » TO USE: Skip the sermons and e-mail a member who's been where you want to go—or is still there » CHOICE BETA: Find the most secluded beaches in Fiji.

BEST FOR: Essential travel info » PROFILE: 175,000 savvy travelers drill each other with pressing questions » TO USE: Post your specific queries in a regional discussion group » CHOICE BETA: Learn the latest visa requirements for Libya.

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