Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How to Research a Destination

Thorough planning of a visit to a destination can save time and money. By knowing what attractions are in the area you will be visiting, you can plan what you will see and how long you anticipate being at each attraction. You can also save money by researching for discounts and coupons for attractions that have an entrance fee. You might even be able to get in free if you have a membership to a similar attraction, such as a zoo or museum, in your hometown.

One of the best places to start, of course, is the Internet. Use Google or Yahoo! search engines and enter in your destination information. Of course you will end up with tons of sites so try and be as specific as possible about what you are looking for. For instance, if you will be visiting southern California with children, search for "family friendly attractions southern California."

When researching a destination, don't forget the travel section of your local library. Guide books used to include an address and telephone number. Now they also include a website URL. This is a great way to get detailed information on a place you have an interest in, include up-to-date information on hours and entrance fees.

Check out your local bookstore for a guidebook on your destination. Not only will it be loaded with information you might not have thought to ask about, it is a great place to write your notes about places you are interested in, keeping all the information in one place.

If you will be traveling in the U.S., call or write to the Chamber of Commerce or the Convention and Visitors' Bureau in the cities you'll be visit. Ask to be sent their tourism packet. And if you'll be traveling out of the country, contact that country's embassy or consulate to obtain tourist information.

Another great resource will be the local newspaper for the area you are visiting. Do a search in the archives for restaurant recommendations and area attractions. And be sure to check out the N.Y. Times online travel section. You'll find recommendations on accommodations, things to do, and restaurants.

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