One of the most exciting things about traveling is going someplace new, and cruise travel is a great way to visit multiple places in one trip. Make the most of it by learning a little about your planned destinations before you leave. It’ll make your experiences richer and even help you decide which excursions to try. There are multiple resources you can turn to for a quick introduction to your cruise ship stops – here are just a few:
Local News and Bloggers
Who better to tell you about the place you’re visiting than the people who live there? A brief Internet search for the location and the search terms “local news” or “blog” can turn up quite a few local resources that are quickly informative. Look for the official newspaper of a location, and prominent local bloggers. Be aware that the perspectives and points of view that you read may not be fully representative of an entire community. Otherwise, it’s a great way to get up to speed on a place in a short amount of time.
Travel books put out by companies such as Frommers and Fodor’s can provide important overviews of a destination, including appropriate cautions, insider travel tips, and don’t miss-attractions. Picking up a nonfiction book can provide greater context to the landmarks, memorials, and historical sites you might visit while you’re there. And fiction books set in a particular location allow travelers to immerse themselves in a new and unfamiliar culture before they even pack a suitcase.
Documentaries and Television Series
Public libraries and online media streaming sources like Netflix are great places to pick out documentaries and television series related to the places you’ll visit. Rick Steves has a number of travel specials, for example, and most folks are familiar with the late Anthony Bourdain’s culinary travel series. A visual preview of your travels can be engaging and insightful in a way that’s different than books and newspapers but equally useful.
Reddit is an online bulletin board, of sorts. It has a page for just about every topic you can think of. It’s free and open to anyone to read. People who sign up for a free account – redditors – may post a question or comment and others are free to respond. It’s a good resource for reading up on a place before you go. Topics of conversation vary from popular entertainment, dining, and cultural venues to local news stories. Keep in mind that, like any “public square”, you’re likely to find all kinds of locals, from curmudgeons to cheerleaders; that said, the folks who live there are likely to know a place best.
Get more out of your cruise, and learn a little about the places you’ll visit before you go. It’s easy to do, no matter how close to setting sail you might be!