Are you using Twitter as a your guidebook? No? Then give it a try!
Twitter has a really huge and good travel community. There are several ways of finding help for your next trip, information about the destination and also insider travel tips.
The use of the hashtag in the search will deliver you a very easy and quick result. It is a real time search and it will show you what is going on in travel right now. Use #ttot (Travel Talk on Twitter) or #travel for a general overview.
Your timeline will be filled with tweets. That first search will just show you the latest top results. Change the search results to “all” and every couple of seconds, new tweets will appear with even more information.
There will be tweets from other travelers, travel bloggers, tourist offices, airlines, car rentals, tour operators, accommodations... pretty much everything travel related will be covered. Take your time and enjoy the search results for a while.
Let's find more specific information. Maybe your are planning an around the world trip? Use #rtw as your search keyword. There will be less tweets, but you'll be amazed how many you'll still get.
Where is your next trip taking you? The United Kingdom maybe? Then search for #uk or why not even try #London. The results will get less, but also more focused. Maybe combine hashtags like #travel #uk or #food #london.
That is quite good already, right? How do you like Twitter? Would you like to get into it even more? Create your own account and do the next step. This will get you in direct contact with the “information provider”.
You have found an interesting tweet of a travel blogger for example. He maybe have tweeted a photo of London or has written about the experiences he had. You got inspired and on your trip, you would like to go there as well. Why don't you contact the blogger via Twitter and ask him right away, if he also knows, if there is a nice cafe in that area. Maybe he can also recommend you a good place to stay overnight?
Most travel bloggers you meet on Twitter are experts in traveling and also on Twitter. We are well connected and know each other. So a travel blogger could introduce you as well to other travel bloggers who were staying in London before.
Follow the travelers you like and contact them by using "@username" in the tweet. That way, your tweet will appear in their "mention" timeline. If they follow back, you can also send them a private message.
Or get in touch with the tourist board. They are happy to help you as well. Usually you should get a reply quite quickly. It depends of course who you are contacting and if that person knows what (s)he is doing. How frequently is that person on Twitter? It might take a few hours to get a reply. But if you would for example send someone an email, you would have to wait for a reply as well.
Social Media is at the beginning of its success story and there are still businesses who are learning how to use it the best way. I use Twitter several times daily and I'm amazed how often I can help other travelers. But I'm not alone, it's the whole community who does that.
It's “social” media!