Lonely Planet Writer

Your frequently asked travel questions

takeomabibelotOur Thorn Tree forum is the oldest travel social network on the web. It’s been going strong for well over a decade - and new travellers with new questions and stories arrive every day to join the party.

But some things never change.

We’ve pulled together 40 of your most commonly asked questions on Thorn Tree over those years so you can see what you're all wondering about.

Some of these are run-of-the-mill queries, such as how and where to find a good local guide, or what kind of visa you need to enter a certain destination from another.

Others are a little more eclectic and tilt intriguingly at traveller philosophy. Seems a lot of us wonder: what inspires us to hit the road? What will our relatives and friends will think when we take off somewhere? Are we helping or hurting the places we visit?

And a few aren't questions at all - they're the stuff you just like to share, such as trip reports or scam warnings.

Here’s your top 40 playlist, with some samples.

1. How do I get a visa from x to y?
2. I have x days/weeks/months to travel - should I do x or y?
3. This is my planned itinerary: what do you think?
4. How do I get from x to x? How long will it take? What’s the best/cheapest way?
5. What should I pack/take to x?
6. What's the deal with phones in x country? Will mine work?
7. Which is better: this route/town/country or that route/town/country?
8. What will the weather be like?
9. Do I need shots/malaria medication? Really?!
10. How sensitive do I have to be to local custom? Will doing x offend people?
11. Can anyone recommend a hotel/guide/beach/language course?
12. I just read [insert item of political news from country]: what do you think/give us your updates? (usually discussed by regular community members and local experts)
13. Is it safe to travel to x?
14. Is it moral to do x while travelling?
15. What's the deal with ATMs in x? Is there a way to avoid fees/get a good rate?
16. What can you tell me about renting a car in x?
17. How do I have (or avoid!) an authentic experience in x?
18. How do I travel with my child in x (is a dumb/risky/costly idea)?
19. Look out for x scam/s!
20. Does anyone want to go to x with me?
21. I was just in x: here’s my trip report.
22. Where can I get/how do I ask for vegetarian food?
23. Why do the people in x do x?
24. How do I keep my stuff safe?
26. Can I/how do I go about teaching English in x?
27. How do I explain my travel dreams to family/friends?
28. Will I be ok if I travel alone?
29. What career is best for working abroad/how do I balance work and travel?
30. I’m about to leave and I’m scared...
31. Do I need travel insurance?
32. What's the worst place you've ever been? (mine is...)
33. Which tent/boots/backpack/pedalsetc should I get?
34. How are the road conditions/how do I drive in x?
35. Can anyone recommend a dive site?
36. Is travel good or bad for x place/the planet?
37. Do I need reservations for x?
38. x for beginners. Any tips?
39. Where do I find real local food to try/which is the best?
40. Which guidebook do I take for x?

What other questions about travelling do you hear (or ask) again and again? Do you think we need reassurance from others, even if we sometimes know the answers (or how to find them?)

[Photo: Hobson's Old Building, Michigan/takomabibelot]