Travel tip: Researching points of interest
So you got your tickets to Liberia but what are you going to do there? Is it something to see? Searching for top highlights takes time especially if not acquainted with helpful resources. Therefore I share some of my favourites.
My favourite resources in order of priority:
- Atlas Obscura (https://www.atlasobscura.com/). A collection of worth-visiting obscure places in one big world map. Just because places are pinned to a map you can decide if it’s on your way and worth a stop or a roundtrip
- Geography Now (https://www.youtube.com/user/GeographyNow). Entertaining Youtube channel giving an introduction to each country. Few years a YouTuber started 10-15 minutes informative summaries about countries alphabetically. As of 2018, he did more than half of the countries around the world. The presenter and his research team do a good job collecting information from most available sources combining raw facts and entertainment.
- Asking other backpackers. People like to share their experiences which is a source of information. Sitting and killing time in hostel lounge leaves time for conversations mainly about travelling. Sometimes willingly, usually accidentally backpackers start to share their stories and recommendations in a country. Sometimes you become aware of must-see attractions however you don’t have time to visit this time. For example, my first time in Ethiopia I heard many captivating stories but didn’t have time to visit at that time. However now I still remember many points worth visiting including the Danakil Depression, Harar and Lalibela.
- Copy itineraries from established travel agencies, for example, Lupinetravel, Young Pioneer Tours, ResponsibleTravel or any other agency. Just by visiting their website and reading what is on the plate for a country. I found this useful in places rarely visited by backpackers. There’s always an option to have a trip with them.
- Watch travel documentary about the country my favourite being Vice travel, Vox borders or DW Documentary (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW39zufHfsuGgpLviKh297Q). Usually watching documentaries from a developing world you get butterflies in a stomach seeing poverty, high crime levels on your computer screen. This shows skills in journalism. However, when visiting exactly the same place you feel no extra tension.
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_requirements_for_British_citizens (Or search for “Visa requirements for (your country) citizens”). Double check if you’re required a visa for the neighbouring country.
- Tripadvisor. Useful in well established touristic countries. Although top places to visit in Tripadvisor are the most popular and visited spots
- Lonelyplanet highlights. The guidebook provides information about the most obscure territories in the world. However, it’s not free. Country guides are split into regions which contain “Highlights in a region”. Lonelyplanet released other books including “Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist” or “The Travel Book” which summarises every country in the world
- VisualPolitik EN (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT3v6vL2H5HK4loLMc8pmCw). Summaries of the current political situation in a country.
- GOV.UK for travel warnings. Before visiting, places ensure it’s safe to visit. I’m typically using UK Ministry of Foreign Affairs travel advice just because they include a self-explanatory map of each country.
- Wikivoyage. It is useful in off-the-beat-path places and countries especially when you can hardly find any information from other sources. However touristic city guide has too much randomly ordered information
- Wikipedia. Quick skim through the page might motivate you to visit a place because of historical, demographical, geographic reasons
Frankly speaking in well-established travel destinations places worth-visiting does good job advertising. Imagine New York highlights and bright Times Square screens shows up in your mind. However what about Sierra Leone or Gabon highlights?
Hope this helps to decide your itinerary for the next trip