I think that maybe Germany is the center of Europe for Airplane trips, and not Amsterdam, in fact I am sure that Amsterdam is a terrible place to fly in and out of, EXCEPT with a round-trip ticket. England is maybe cheap coming from the USA, and I cannot find out how to leave England and go to the USA cheaply.
How's that? Yes, blogs let just about anybody be a travel writer. So finding something useful among all the musings can be as tough as talking an airline gate agent into a free upgrade. You may happen upon a nugget of wisdom after only a few minutes' search, but you may also feel like you've fallen into a bottomless, inane abyss where someone blathers in less-than-fascinating detail about how hung over she was in Barcelona -- without even revealing which of the latest hip bars she visited to contract the condition.
If you're looking for the perfect mid-range hotel in Rome and are leaving next week, you may decide combing through blogs is a colossal waste of time. But if you're working the itinerary for next year's three-month backpacking trip across Asia, you might enjoy wading around in the blogosphere to see where others like you have gone before. Or, if you're a road warrior who will make three ugly flight connections for triple bonus points, you may want to go straight to a pro-blogger who focuses on mileage programs, such as WebFlyer (www.webflyer.com/blog).
A Blog for You
We've been lurking in the blogo-sphere to find out what kinds of travelers are flocking to what kinds of sites.
If you're a travel novice, graduation is over and you're heading to Europe for the very first time, you won't have any trouble finding guidebook guidance to top spots and beaten-track hotels. But what's it really like to be in a foreign country? Is it, um, foreign? Page through sites like MyTripJournal.com and TravelBlog.org for bits of girlfriend-to-girlfriend insight like this:
Yesterday I went to a yoga class. It's so fun to do this kind of stuff in another country, in another language. I went with a girl from Atlanta and we met 2 more American girls. It was fun talking about stuff that we miss and they reminded me about bagels. I didn't even realize that there are no bagels in Spain, can you believe it? It's funny, the stuff you end up missing. . .
Where to find bagels in Spain? Why, it's but the search of a moment on Travel.yahoo.com to find the Bagel Shop in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter, where sesame, poppyseed, plain and cinnamon raisin can be found. "The shop is always packed with American tourists, although it is slowly but surely winning over locals."
Taming the endless flow of information is the chief challenge -- and the most common drawback to travel blogs. Some, like IgoUgo (www.igougo.com) or VirtualTourist.com (www.virtualtourist.com), break up the mass into searchable, categorized tips on sights, lodging and restaurants. On VirtualTourist, it was only a few clicks from the interactive world map on the home page to a list of more than 1,000 "off the beaten track" restaurants in greater London, including this tip from a genuine East Ender (which scored a decent 4 1/2 cubes on the "VT Satisfaction Index"):