You might have read our article on why we initially set up Travelindicator. In a nutshell the reason was that the process of picking travel destinations remained tedious despite thousands of websites trying their hardest to supply us with detailed information for every location.
But the information they gave us tended to be displayed in a most convoluted fashion, and there was no service available putting it all together in a clear and efficient data-driven overview. The way we felt was: "Just skip the nonsense already: just tell me which place has mountains, great beaches and good weather!" That, in summary, is what we are trying to build here.
Now you understand what spawned us, it may be useful to tell you a bit about what our "Grand Plan" is, where are we going with this website?
As you have likely seen, we have been steadily adding locations on practically a daily basis. Make no mistake about it: this will be an ongoing process from now on. Every location has to be sufficiently researched - preferably by those of us who have traveled there before - and documented. These locations are the absolute core of Travelindicator. Travelindicator should be a database that allows you to search and to mix and match along any dimension that you think might be useful. We should be able to show you all major cities in Europe, or all places with beaches and great nightlife in a 500 kilometer radius around you!
We realise that to really gain traction with this, the database needs to be sizeable. Not with some hundreds of locations like right now, but rather with thousands of them! We are convinced that the better our coverage becomes, the more useful the site will be. Are you travelling to China and only want to travel to non-adventurous (dare we say a bit less exciting, if that's your thing!) places? We should be able to list which places fit the bill. Do you want to zoom in on a specific Chinese region? Can-do. Like we wrote earlier, this will be an ongoing venture, but we have full confidence in the idea.
At the same time, we very much want you, the user, involved! We might give you the basics about a small fishing village in the south of Ireland, but perhaps you have traveled there yourself and can add much more detail - what's nice and what is not, what are good places to eat, and so on. If other users find your post useful, they will upvote it and your post will be appearing towards the top.
Also, the "ratings" we give to various places for all the attributes we rank places by are interactive. Do we think a place is "40%" beaches, but you think the beaches there aren't all that great. By all means, please downvote it.
All in the meanwhile, we track which locations are popular and which are less so. Combining all pieces of the puzzle gives us (and you) all the information you will need to make an informed pick for a travel destination. If after that you still want to dig deeper, you can always go to Lonely Planet :-)
As of yesterday the website is now live! This is very exciting, although we are well aware that it is going to be a long ride before the website gains any kind of traction. But we believe in the concept, and in the weeks, months and years ahead we will be working hard to make Travel Indicator your one stop for surprisingly great and accurate travel recommendations, no matter what you are looking for.
As a taster of what is to come, over the past days we have added the following locations:
Keep checking back on a regular basis, because we will be adding them on a daily basis: from the big and the well-known, to the tiny and unheard of.
Somewhere early on in 2013, I found myself packing up my belongings and preparing for a move from somewhere in Northern Europe to a large city in Southeast Asia. I had been asked to join a financial firm there and was excited about the move from a career perspective, but not only that. What people soon started telling me was "where you are going is a great place to explore the region from, you can do weekend trips to tropical beach island so-and-so and city trips to bustling Asian metropolis this-and-that!"
I was excited indeed. I mean, I knew that I would be working long hours, but my weekends were going to be filled with fun and exploration. And I would be to earn a very smart salary that would definitely allow me to enjoy things to the fullest!
The first weeks went as expected, I was working 60-70 hours a week and in the weekends we were exploring the city we had just moved to. But after a month or so the travel bugs started to itch: where would we travel to? We could now afford to go anywhere, but time was limited. We couldn't choose. We liked beaches, we liked big cities, we liked mountains, culture and history. And although there were easily thousands of locations that would have fit the bill for this description, we simply could not choose. Meticulously investigating every single location became a drag. And some of the larger traveling websites were not of much help. One travel website in particular, which shall remain unnamed, was especially unhelpful in recommending the "Escape Hunt amusement park" as Bangkok's top attraction and "Bali Jet Set Dive and Marine Sports" as Bali's top attraction!
The sections on travel destination suggestions of the same websites also had very little to offer. I am in Asia and want a beach holiday, and the suggestions are Bali, Phuket, Koh Samui and Boracay. Really? I could have worked those out myself...
It was at this stage that I decided there had to be a better way to go about this. Combining my lust for travel with the technical skills that I had been gradually picking up as part of my work, I decided to get started on a website that essentially offered the following:
- Travel suggestions based on YOUR highly specific desired holiday mix. You might want to go to a beach island that is remote, or you might want to go to a city with great beaches in front of it. You might want to visit small historical towns next to a river, or you might want to go to big cities with great nightlife. Travel Indicator will help you identify these places.
- To give you the bare basics about that location, i.e. only what matters. I don't believe that when exploring potential holiday destinations, seeing that "Bali Jet Set Dive and Marine Sports" is the top attraction is particularly helpful. Hence this website goes about it differently and keeps it short. Pick your locations here, and investigate elsewhere.
These are the main drivers behind Travel Indicator. After contemplating further, I added two more things to the mix:
- Distance. If you are located in Europe, the beaches of Micronesia might be appealing, but those in the south of France are probably easier to be reached. Travel Indicator allows you to filter on distance to only give you the most relevant locations. We leave it up to you whether you want to scan the globe, or you want to scan in a circle of 500 miles or kilometers around you.
- Weather. Have you ever considered taking a beach holiday in Tioman Island, Malaysia? In that case it might have been of interest to know that rainfall there in December is 6 times as high as in June. You might therefore want to plan your trip in the middle of the year if you want to avoid sitting next to the beach during intensive downpours. Similarly, if you are feeling adventurous and travelling to Tatarstan in Russia, it might be of interest to know that the summer months are pleasant at an average maximum temperature of 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit), while the winter months are extremely cold at average maximum temperatures of -17 degrees Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit!).
That's Travelindicator in a nutshell. Your feedback is very much appreciated, so please reach out to us on firstname.lastname@example.org.