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My wife and I want to tour some of the Grecian Islands, but I don't even know where to begin with this. My current plan is just to check with one of the major web travel providers (Travelocity, Orbitz, etc) and see which islands in Greece have higher reviews from the people that stayed there, but that will only tell me which places were popular with tourists. I could look up events and festivals and try to hit those, but then I'll only go to places that have popular festivals. I don't just want to say:

I have this much money, what can I get for it?

I want to go the other direction with the perspective of:

Where do I want to be and how can I make that happen?

I want to plan a really great trip full of places that I wouldn't have wanted to miss out on in this life. How do the travelers here go about finding those places? What are some unique ways to find destinations, once you've settled in on a locale?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Agreed. It's not about spending the money, it's about getting to everything and not missing out on the best stuff. Well it is for me.

In recent (<5) years I've found Wikitravel to be the best resource for me. You can go by continent, country, province, city and sometimes even surburb and find out how to get in/out, how to get around, what to see, what to do, what to eat, and where to stay. It's how I've made sure not to miss anything out - especially in the food department (a big part of my travel).

Otherwise I spend time on twitter reading travel blog tweets - when I see one on a topic or area I'm keen on, I start reading. Searching twitter for the town name + travel quite often works.

In addition, since the internet went gaga over top ten lists, often searching for:

  • Top ten [keyword] Christchurch
  • Top five [keyword] Vegas

for example, will find you articles like "Top 10 sights to see in Christchurch", "Top 5 party bars in Vegas". And then it's a case of reading.

Generally, the more I read the more I find out about stuff, and the more ideas for travel I get. I spend a LOT of time reading travel, and I'm still finding out about stuff each and every day, even about the places I've already been to. That's the joy - planning the next trip ;)

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"The more I read the more I find out about stuff": +1! –  mouviciel Jul 12 '12 at 8:01
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Besides @Mark's Wikitravel, I would also recommend using the classics, Lonely Planet, Rough Guide and any other travel guide you feel comfortable with.

Thing is, your requirements are personal and, in the end, you have to make your own decisions as to what will be interesting and affordable to you. And then, if you're not happy enough with the straightforward lists you can find online, you will have to do your own leg work.

Then again, isn't that one of the draws of travel, the anticipation and discovery before actually going?

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I don't choose a destination then get information about it. I proceed the other way.

In my daily life (i.e., when not planning a trip) I read novels , I watch movies or documentaries, I chat with friends, I surf Internet.

Sometimes I think myself "I want to get there" or "I want to see that". With time passing, more and more toughts about a single topic accumulate into a critical mass. That moment is the beginning of the travel planning.

I then gather data provided by travel guides: how to get there, where to eat and sleep, how to move around...

Usually a single trip is not enough. I always want to get back to places I already visited, just because new novels, movies, documentaries, chats or blogs show me new things I missed the first time.

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I really like the critical mass approach. –  Joel B Jul 12 '12 at 13:04
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Interesting remarks so far, but no one has mentioned the most important for me: get to know local inhabitants of the country you are planning to visit! I am guessing your approach is along the lines of avoiding "touristy" places and visiting places that locals prefer, etc.

I am not sure if your question is general or if you would accept recommendations, but here is one from me: the island of Karpathos. I certainly haven't been to all Greek islands, but village Olympos is spectacular (amongst other on the same island).

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