Any first-time visit to a city brings a host of potential problems. Among them, especially for the more budget-oriented, is finding a decent hotel to stay in, one that promises a measure of comfort and convenience, as well as cleanliness. Face it, if you look around on the Web for hotels, many of them appear quite different online than they are in person. This has happened to me before, for sure. Online the place looks lovely and well-tended. But when you get there, cockroaches skitter into the shadows and those pearly-white walls you saw on the Web site are soiled with water stains.

Well, if you are heading to Europe any time soon, you might be able to avoid this problem. A new site called offers video tours of European hotels. The site was created by managers of Expedia Europe, so you can be relatively sure the quality of the site is good. And it is. It is not only well organized, it is good-looking and easy to use.

I clicked through several of the tours and thought that if were were heading to, say, Paris, this could be a very useful research tool. In fact, I imagine that we’ll be seeing a lot more sites like this that allow you to check out tourist sights, restaurants and more. If a picture says a thousand words, a video says a million. Give it a look-see to see what I mean.