One of the best ways to find information, meet fellow travelers
or find answers to the little questions is to use travel forums and see what everyone is talking about.
I spent several days looking at these "boards",
answering questions, reviewing information and monitoring
the frequency of posts by members. I still spend several
hours per week hopping around on the good ones. Those getting
higher marks have more information on Granada or Andalucia
and a higher frequency of posts and answers from fellow
members. Some sites think a forum is a way to build community,
and it certainly is if you know what you're doing. But many
launch a forum without thinking - there
is nothing worse than a dead forum. A lack of posts and
replies to your questions means you won't be coming back. Below are
some quick reviews.
Mainly topic based forum. To my great embarrassment I missed
this board, and it's by far the best if you're looking for
to toss around a an idea or question. Very, very active community
with frequent posts. Topics such as "Work and Residency"
or "Preparing for your trip or move" are great places
to ask questions. As the name states, the focus is on Madrid,
but there's plenty of talk about other places and Spain in
general. You can customize preferences and see the last 10
posts or 10 topics at the top of the page to keep up with
the latest. Search, customizations and your profile help you
get the most of the boards. If you're moving to Madrid you
can plug yourself into the expat community quickly. Jeremy,
who runs the site, answers emails personally and posts daily
on the boards. Try this first, then hit the others below.
And while you're at it, check out the web
page. A great resource for those getting ready to study,
move or visit Madrid.
Geographic based forum only, but you can drill down to country,
region and city. Check out the "Granada", "Andalucia"
and "Spain" forums depending on your need. This
was in general much better than the rest for information on Granada, although I think Trip Advisor (below) is making some inroads. You
can also read most of the message from the index page of posts.
Smaller and active community but not much in the way of new
daily posts. You get responses fairly quickly, often times
from people who live in the places you want to visit. Members
also arrange Virtual Tourist Member meetings in various cities
in the U.S., Europe and Asia. You can create your own travel
page, and get information from others. While some of the navigation
is a little clumsy, you have some nice tools, such as your
own email address and inbox, as well as alerts to topics you
have posted on.
Lonelyplanet.com's Thorn Tree
Geographic and topic based. Broken down into 4 types of boards:
"Departure Lounge" is composed of destinations;
"The Lobby" addresses several general travel topics;
"News Stand" covers ethics and politics; "Tree
House" details, sports, food, photos and other topics.
All countries in Europe outside of the regions of "Ireland/Uk
and Scandinavia" were lumped into one board, "Western
Europe", making it harder to locate information based
on a particular country like Spain. A recent change now allows you to drill down to your specifc country, which is a nice change. Western Europe has a lot of posts every day, so activity is
pretty good. The customization features are nice, including
subscribing to a thread to see when someone has posted to
your topic, private messages and more. Filtering out forums
you won't use was also helpful, but I can't seem to find this feature anywhere (and I am not blaming them quite yet, I have been lazy about looking very hard to find this feature on their formum). Beware of the small group of people who like to police the boards as much as answer questions. They are "champions" of making sure posts and questions are framed correctly, in an intelligent manner, but go overboard to the point of aggravation when it could be just as easy to answer the question...they make me so very tired on many days...
Trip Advisor Seville Forum
Advisor Seville Forum
Geographic based. Broken down into countries, regions and
provinces (ie: Spain > Andalusia > Granada). Daily posts
and very active, with what looks like a good response rate
to questions asked. I like the trip advisor site when looking
up hotels, although I hesitate to throw all of my support
behind user reviews of accommodations. This is not the best
way to review a hotel - people with bad experiences are much
more likely to post negative reviews, and working with some
of the establishments in Seville I have seen a number of posts
which are simply lies about the hotels and hostals. And as
some hotels have found out, the ratings are easy to manipulate
- simply make a reservation in your own hotel and then review
it! Or don't, as they require no proof of whether you stayed in the hotel or hostal. An easy way to get good ratings, no? Still, the travel
forum is generally separate from the hotel reviews, and while
it is relatively young one has to like how active it is.
MadridMan's Bulletin Boards
Topic based forums. Looks a lot like Multimadrid's boards,
from the topics to the software. Or maybe Multimadrid looks
like theirs. But this is well worth stopping at. Profiles,
search, and other tools make it a customizable experience
and active posting and answers by MadridMan himself make it
an ideal place to get the details on travel or a whole host
of other topics. I'd recommend posting on this and Multimadrid
and you'll almost definitely get your question answered. MadridMan is no in Spain and branching out to other cities. You will find BarcelonaMan and GranadaMan, plus a few more!
Geographic and topic based forums with a total of 13 categories.
The closest you can get to Spain is the Europe category, but
like any good forum they offer a search function to narrow
things down quickly. A pretty actvie community with a good
number of posts 25 posts over 4 days.
Frommers Message Boards
Geographic and topic based forum. You can drill down to the
"Spain" category and avoid having your message lost
in a wider "Europe" forum. Almost daily posts with
more activity and responses to your questions, but still not
what I would call an active community. Registration is not
required to post.
Let's Go Forums
Geographic and topic based forums, allowing you to drill down
the Spain and Portugal. Semi-daily posts - surprisingly not
very active. In the last 4 weeks posts under this topic have
been minimal, with even fewer answers. As of July 12th the
last post in the Spain forum was July 5th, so that will give
you an idea of what to expect. Registration is not required.
Fodors Travel Talk
Geographic and topic based forums in which you can search
within Europe category for posts containing Spain (on a drop
down) or by keyword. Active community with a lot of posts
per day. Lack of community tools such as profiles, email alerts
or private messages don't help. Frames layout is also not
ideal. The frequency of posts helps make up for the lack of
tools and extras. Fodors is, in general, for a more affluent market.
Rick Steve's' Graffiti Wall Message Board
Steve's Graffiti Wall
Topic based forums on Europe only. Some helpful and "cute"
topics they've chosen, but very frustrating that you can't
drill down by country unless they've selected them, and then
it's generally in the context of "Eating & Drinking"
or "Planning & Packing". Less of a message board
and more of a confusing format. I used to love the shows on
PBS on Sundays and always tried to watch them. I know there
is some great information on his site and in his books, but
more and more I see complaints about his prices and information
being outdated. Take his information on a general basis and I think you do better. For years he said to leave out Cordoba, or at least it was omitted from several guides. Is this still the case? Why would you do this? Maybe it has changed in the last year or so.
Geographic and topic based. Spain again is lumped in with
two Europe topics. Almost daily posts with a little more active
community than the rest, but I see many days without posts
and little about Spain (likely due to who they have posting
at the time). To give you an idea of activity: in checking
the Europe forum on July 12th I see one page with about 40
posts which date back to May 1st. Registration is required
to post, which doesn't help the activity, although that is
becoming the norm now. Unfortunately, after the registration
process (which includes some cryptic questions) you need to
be "approved" personally by a forum admin which
can take up to 24 hours. A real problem when wanting to get
everyone involved is taking the immediacy out of the interaction.
I'm even less enthusiastic about their domain name...
Savvy Traveler Bulletin Board
Geographic and topic based forums with 7 regions and 4 topics
to choose from. Europe is as narrow as you can gow if you're
looking for informatio on Spain. No dates for the posts don't
help to see how fresh the discussions are. Messages are sorted
by most recent reply and digging back shows there were 20
posts or replies in the last month, so not that active. You
can search the forum to narrow down the topics, and subscribing
to certain threads notifies you of new posts and helps you
weed through the unwanted material.
Geographic and topic based forums. Western Europe is the closest
you'll get to Spain as a topic. Weekly posts or less with
little activity. As of July 12th the Western Europe forum's
1st page had a list of 20 posts dating back to January 5th!
The groups focus on backpackers, students and budget travelers,
as you can see from the hip photos they use. Registration
is not required to post.
Geographic and topic based forums, allowing you to drill down
to "Spain, Portugal and Morocco" Semi-monthly posts
and less active community. As of July 12th the first page
of the this forum has 10 posts dating back to April, with
more than 75% of them going without a response. Registration
is required, although a much simpler process than some of
Topic and Geographic based forums with little activity. Customization,
profile and search all make it easier, but there are very
few posts and best you can do for Spain is drill down to Europe.
Search for words "Seville" or "Sevilla"
netted two posts, one of which was mine.
Yahoo Groups Spain Travel
Groups: Travel Spain
A lot of activity here, with plenty of daily posts. Many are
trip reports from people coming back or updating while traveling.
No offense to those posting, but the group seems a bit older
than the other boards, with the exception of Frommers and
Rick Steve's sites. Still plenty of useful information. The
board seems to have a small number of very active posters,
and I'm not crazy about the format, although it works pretty
well. Registration is required, in that you have to have a
Yahoo ID to participate. Any post also shows your Yahoo email
address, leaving you open to plenty of spam after you post.
Topic based only - about 8 of them - and most related to hostels
or working in hostels, which can be a plus if that's what
you're looking to do. Less active, often weekly frequency
in posting. Registration is not required to post.
It can go weeks and even months without a post. Not useful
at all in it's current state so I won't waste any more time
Web: Iagora Forums
Bad, really bad. It has the tools to be a good forum, but
practically no activity on the boards makes it one to avoid.