While some people like to visit a holiday destination they know very little about, most of us would always prefer to have some advance information about the place before we set off.
There is something to be said for a journey into the unknown, of course, but having worked hard all year and spent a small fortune on travelling and accommodation, it can be rather deflating to arrive and soon realise the choice of location was a completely inappropriate one.
Therefore, the shrewdest tourists tend to make use of the web these days before selecting a specific destination.
First and foremost, they will check out the various travel information sites to see why a particular place is popular, and what attractions, sights, landmarks and facilities are on offer to the visitor.
There’s no point whatsoever in choosing a resort that won’t offer all or at least some of the factors that you happen to be looking for.
Google Earth and Google Maps are also useful resources for the curious potential tourist because they will give vital information about the destination and the surrounding area.
And of course, such data is completely neutral, so there’s no need to worry about whether it’s fair and balanced.
Even scouring photos of the region via Google Maps can be helpful, especially if you’ve never been to the area at all in the past.
Check out the views of others
There are plenty of reviews, opinions and comments on the web to be made use of as well, and these can prove extremely informative.
They will often cover everything from the condition of the beaches and the friendliness of the locals to the quality of the restaurants and the conditions in the hotels.
Be warned, however, that some people just like to be controversial and negative for the sake of it, so you might sometimes need to be a little selective about which opinions you fully listen to.
As is always the case, one person’s idea of paradise is another’s version of hell, and this will be reflected in the range of comments on many of the more popular amenities.
In general, you can find a middle ground of ratings that aren’t too disparaging or overly gushing in praise.
It’s worth pointing out, however, that the real truth about any holiday-related item is yours to find out.
Only you will know whether a beach in Bulgaria or a hotel in Hawaii is right for you, so once you’ve done a little research, just clear your mind, visit the chosen destination and form your own opinions.
About the author: Sam Wilkes is a UK resident who works for http://www.timeto.co.uk.