Monday, 1 May 2006

Cybertrack - 9

GoNOMAD says its focus is “alternative travel.” Or, as they say in another place, “participatory travel.” In other words, not your average sightseeing-package-tour-with-attached-cook. The idea is to get people truly involved with the places they visit. This includes volunteering, home stays, educational tours. The emphasis is on “sustainable and responsible tourism.”

Started at the turn of the century, and has expanded steadily in terms of content and viwership (they claim more than 100,000 visitors a month, and a fairly high number of links to their pages).

What does the site give you? A pretty large searchable database that you can trawl for info about budgets, places to stay, transport and much more. Most of it is stuff you wouldn’t find on the average travel site, including a bunch of special interest options that include family travel, travel for women, gay and lesbian-friendly travel, bicycle tours, even writers’ workshops! There are heaps of well-written articles – the site claims that they are all top travel writers, but I haven’t had the time to verify this – some very competent blogs, photo galleries, miniguides, modes of transportation, destination mini-guides, and a “Travel desk” section by one of the editors that expands on some very useful travel tips.

(And yes, if you run an alternative travel business of some kind, there are listing options, and sponsored articles which run on the site, edited and posted by their team.)

There are also some deal finders (airfares, hotel rates, car rentals and the like) run by associates of the site, which, alas, seem to have a decidedly US focus.
Overall, the quality of the writing on this site makes it well worth a visit, even if you have no immediate “alternative travel” plans. Hey, who knows, they might even convert you!

Published in the May 2006 edition of Outlook Traveller, in a column called Cybertrack

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