Fodor’s Travel Talk

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If you’ve spent a lot of time paging through physical travel guides, chances are that you’ve read a Fodor’s Travel Book at one point or another. These print travel guides have long been favored by international travelers who are looking for more than biographical information on hotels and landmarks. That same emphasis on providing up-to-date information about lesser-known sights around the world remains strong with Fodor’s today, including on their online forum platform known as Travel Talk.

 

The forum was launched back in 1996 with its parent website, www.fodors.com, to encourage travelers from around the world to supplement their in-house researchers’ ability to serve the needs of their customers. This initiative was immensely successfully, enough so to earn the website a Webby Award in 2004. Though online travel sights have seen a decline since that time, Fodor’s Travel Talk is still going strong with a loyal user base of several thousand regular users.

 

Though it is sometimes overlooked by tech savvy travelers who have only ever used big name travel forums, this platform remains a great place to have your questions about major and minor travel details answered. The Fodor’s Travel Talk community is always on top of significant destination events as well, so they can be relied upon to provide helpful insights regarding major international sporting and entertainment events.

 

Best Features

 

As soon as I navigate to Fodor’s Travel Talk, I am pleased to see that its content is separated into two overarching sections: destinations and travel topics. Furthermore, I was impressed to see that the destinations section was visibly divided into subsections based upon geographical region, with a sub-forum for each major country in that region. Using these simple tabs, I was able to efficiently dive down to precise topics I was looking for without even needing to touch the search bar.

 

That’s not to say that I didn’t use the search function on Fodor’s Travel Talk. Of course, I gave it a whirl to determine if it could intelligently pinpoint the kinds of posts and threads I was looking for based upon limited criteria. As it turns out, I didn’t need to limit my criteria at all because this forum allows you to use an advanced search function for free. This advanced search allows you to apply filters from the get-go, thus reducing the volume of search results you’ll need to page through in the long run.

 

While you do need to sign up for an account to post on Fodor’s Travel Talk, you will immediately find that membership here is worthwhile. For example, this forum’s mechanics allow you to see if a user is currently online via a small green dot under their username. This small indicator can be used to gauge how quickly you will receive a response.

 

Also, I was surprised to see that Fodor’s Travel Talk utilizes a feature I have missed on other slightly newer travel forums. That is, Fodor’s Travel Talk makes use of an easily accessible “Today’s Post” tab. By clicking on this, users are immediately taken to a special page that aggregates all new posts made over the last 24 hours. This is by far one of the easiest ways to keep track of threads that have piqued your interest, as well as check to see if a thread you started has received any responses.

 

Forum Community

 

Though its user base has dwindled in recent years, I still find that the Fodor’s Travel Talk community is among the most knowledgeable and welcoming online today. They are always willing to help provide detailed input based upon your travel preferences while also weaving insightful suggestions that will help you avoid undesirable traveling roadblocks (such as visiting an overcrowded landmark during peak tourism season).

 

One example of this knowledge-sharing attitude I took note of was in the Japan sub-forum. There, a variety of prospective travelers to the Land of the Rising Sun were asking questions about the best time to view local foliage, including the internationally-beloved sakura blossoms.

 

In almost all cases, replies to these inquires implored the prospective travelers to visit at a different time due to the extreme influx of tourists during that season. Just as often, these replies offered alternative, yet still enriching, opportunities to see Japan’s natural beauty in less congested areas. In both cases, I was pleased to see that the users of Fodor’s Travel Talk were willing to look out for each other while still encouraging one another to seek out new travel opportunities away from the beaten path.

 

Also, the Fodor’s Travel Talk communities have a special way of growing to know their regular participants. This can clearly be seen in the sub-forums devoted to each US state. There, individuals who have traveled to those states and individuals who have lived there for many years regularly converse with one another. As a result, you’re able to use their experiences as both locals and tourists to gain a better understanding of that particular state in a manner that few printed guidebooks ever can accomplish.

 

Pros & Cons

 

Pros

  • Tightknit community full of locals and well-traveled tourists
  • Easy to navigate using advanced search and “Today’s Posts” tab
  • Separate sections for each region and individual country
  • Able to post after signing up for a free account

 

Cons

  • Video content plays automatically in the sidebar
  • Smaller community means that it sometimes takes longer than expected to receive a reply

 

The Final Verdict

 

Though it might go without saying, I’m defiantly a fan of the Foder’s Travel forums. This forum takes everything I’ve always appreciated about this brand’s guidebooks and gives it a whole new meaning in a digital world of user-generated content. The Fodor’s forum manages to accomplish this by fostering a small but committed community of users and making their work readily accessible to users via a simple navigation system and advanced search capabilities.

 

Lately, I’ve found myself visiting Fodor’s Travel Talk before each and every one of my trips abroad so that I can learn something new about my destination. I’ve seen a fair amount of this wonderful world of ours, but I’m always able to learn something new about the sight I want to see after scrolling through the Foder’s Travel forums.

Pros
  • A tightknit community full of locals and well-traveled tourists
  • Easy to navigate using advanced search and “Today’s Posts” tab
  • Separate sections for each region and individual country
  • Able to post after signing up for a free account
Cons
  • Video content plays automatically in the sidebar
  • Smaller community means that it sometimes takes longer than expected to receive a reply

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