This is an interesting article by Seth Kugel from the New York Times comparing guidebooks and the Internet when planning a trip. Which do you think is a better source of information when you're planning a trip?
Planning a Trip: Guidebook Versus the Web by Seth Kugel, the Frugal Traveler column, New York Times
Kugel begins his experiment using an imagined trip to Budapest, Hungary.
He bought and read most of the Lonely Planet’s Hungary guide (of which he knew nothing about) and then got to work searching online, starting of course with Lonely Planet’s online version (of the guidebook), which contained all the information - but free.
It is no surprise then to note that the sales of international travel guides in the United States are down 42 percent since 2006, according to the Nielsen BookScan Travel Publishing Yearbook.
Kugel argues that while the web has an abundance of resources, which comes at no extra cost to the user (unlike the guidebook he bought), it isn't as fast. He also found that despite the huge amount of information online, there were many things missing in comparison to the guidebook, such as the dozens of indexed city and town and neighborhood maps, suggested itineraries and a glossary of useful Hungarian phrases.
Furthermore, he states that travel guidebooks offer information that you may not necessarily think to look for online, such as common tourist scams, which he found in his guide to Budapest.
In other areas, however, he felt the two sources were more or less tied, including 'overviews on culture and history, collections of some useful phrases and important cultural mores like tipping. Wikivoyage alone covered most of those'.
His other finding was that while a guidebook does take a few hours to go through, it has a definite end to it, unlike the world wide web, which you can spend hours sifting through.
"For some people, that’s fine: it’s been shown that planning a trip actually makes us happier than the trip itself. But choice can be paralyzing. For those who want the deciding done for them, a trusted guidebook brand wins, at least in planning an agenda." writes Kugel.
His conclusion? That while a guidebook means an extra cost, 'it’s all in one place, doesn’t run out of batteries or go out of range or use international data and is unlikely to be ripped out of your hand by a thief. And for infrequent travelers, it doesn’t have a steep learning curve.'
For the full article on the NY Times travel page, click here.
Want to know which stunning Pacific Island group made the Forbes ‘Most Beautiful Places In The World’ list?
It was the Lau group in Fiji.
“Most people define beauty by sunsets. In this incredible group of islands, it’s the sunrises as well,” notes Greenberg of this remote collection of 50-plus atolls and islands located 200 miles from the mainland of Fiji. The region in Fiji sees few tourists, but those who make it are rewarded with a mind-blowing array of marine life and a gentle, carefree vibe. “No phones, no Blackberries, no TVs—just the intoxicating sounds of a cappella harmonies sung by the islanders each morning and each evening,” Greenberg adds. “Great storytelling, and a never-ending feeling of community and love that lives with you forever.”
To find out more about the Fiji islands, visit our Discover Fiji page.
The other places that made the list were:
South Island, New Zealand; Petra, Jordan; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Midway islands; Okavango Delta, Botswana; Bordeaux, France; Mount Everest, Nepal; Fire Island, New Yorkl; Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile; Tuscany, Italy; and Plain of Temples, Bagan, Myanmar.
For the full gallery of the 'Most Beautiful Places In The World', visit the Forbes website .
“We have arrived home from a wonderful vacation to the South Pacific and then onwards to Australia. Our time spent in Fiji was great.”
These were the words of Senior Land Vacation Specialist of Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Canada Ms Catherine Pederson. Ms Pederson was the South Pacific Specialist 2013 grand prize winner.
The South Pacific Specialist Programme is a programme organised and run by SPTO. It is an online destinational training programme that provides travel agents the opportunity to develop and enhance their knowledge on the various tourism products and services available throughout the South Pacific.
SPTO CEO, Mr Ilisoni Vuidreketi congratulated Ms. Pederson on the win. “SPTO welcomes comments on the South Pacific Specialist Programme globally, through testimonials from prizewinners who are travel agents themselves,” he said Ms Pederson said as a travel agent, she found the programme to be very user friendly.
“I enjoyed being able to open each destination module, found it easy to take notes, and then easy to complete the exam parts at the end. In all I would say it took me about 20mins per module, and there are 14 of them, so not a huge time commitment,” she said.
She said she finds it easier to sell the South Pacific now that she has a better understanding of each of the islands.
“Even though we can't totally commit everything to memory, the website is a great access tool if we need additional information,” she said.
She said she cannot say that there is anything wrong with the SPTO programme that needs to be changed. “I found it very easy to work with and I am glad that I took the time to complete it,” she said.
The competition was organized by SPTO to increase awareness on SPTO's incentive programme 'Free South Pacific holiday prize' for trade and travel agents around the world in encouraging increased registration and completion of the South Pacific Specialist programme.
To find a specialist near you, simply visit our Specialists page on our website and search our list of specialists from around the world.
Want to become a Specialist yourself? Then visit this page to learn more...
We just had to share this awesome video by Air Tahiti Nui that was released last week. It is one of the best airline videos we've seen - certainly one of the most creative videos. Kudos to 32-yr-old Matthieu Courtois, technical engineer from Tahiti and creator of this Air Tahiti Nui video.
Over a period of a month, with the help of pilot Ludovic Allainwith, they filmed these stunning and very thrilling scenes of French Polynesia using a GoPro. It takes us on a journey of their views: from the runway, underneath the plane and over some incredible sights. But don't take our word for it; watch the video yourself and tell us what you think.
Aside from being very creative, does it evoke other emotions that make you want to travel to the beautiful islands of Tahiti? It does for us!
The team at the South Pacific Tourism Organisation would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!! We hope that travelling to the South Pacific is on your 2014 new year's resolutions' list :) It will broaden your mind.
“The impulse to travel is one of the hopeful symptoms of life”
– Agnes Replier
We are very excited to share a short video promoting the beautiful destinations of the South Pacific! We have tried to capture some of what makes the South Pacific such an amazing place to visit... travel to the Pacific today and fall in love.
Miss Cook Islands, Teuira Napa is the newly crowned Miss South Pacific.
The newly crowned Miss South Pacific won the Pageant ahead of her nine other contenders, at the end of the Carpenters' Miss South Pacific Pageant 2013 that was held in Honiara, Solomon Islands at the Pacific Casino Hotel.
The Crowning of the new Miss South Pacific tonight is the culmination of the Pageant Week which ran from 01-07 December 2013.
The Programme for the evening included a Keynote Address by Solomon Island's Honourable Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo who reflected the elation shown by as the rest of the Solomon Islanders to be hosting this unique event.
"It is an honor and privilege to be standing here hosting this auspicious event. Our people have truly embraced this Pageant and ensured that this regional is a success. This event presents us with perfect opportunity to show the world what we are capable of achieving".
Not only did one Pacific Island nation make it to the number one spot on the Lonely Planet's top 10 islands and beaches to visit in 2014, but another three beautiful Pacific Island countries made it in their top 10 list!
Every year, an increasing number of Australians discover that Vanuatu is spectacular, landing in Port Vila and fanning out over the extraordinary archipelago of 83 islands.
With rumours swirling in Hollywood of a South Pacific remake, there's a good chance the world is about to be let in on the secret, too. This makes 2014 ideal for a bit of adventure: forget the cruise ships; pack a snorkel, and bunny-hop from Efate to one of the lesser-known spots.
Coral-ringed beaches, smouldering volcanoes and rainforest-covered mountains set the stage for unforgettable adventures in the Solomon Islands. We've hand-picked the very best experiences from the brand-new edition of Lonely Planet's Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands guide book to show you why these tropical islands are on our list of unmissable destinations for 2013.
Papua New Guinea and the Solomons both rank among the best destinations on Planet Scuba, with an irresistible menu of underwater treasures: luscious reefs festooned with huge sea fans; warm waters teeming with rainbow-coloured and bizarre critters; eerie drop-offs that tumble into the abyss; and a host of atmospheric WWII wrecks – not to mention the thrill of diving uncrowded sites. A handful of beautifully set dive resorts provide the idyllic gateway to your undersea adventure. To reach even more remote and pristine environments, sign on to a live-aboard vessel.