Have you always wanted to write your own travel guide and market it yourself, in a way that is both profitable for you and useful to those interested in your travel savvy? Or are you heading to a single region of a country but don’t want to lug an entire country guidebook with you?

You’re in luck! No longer do you have to give out your travel tips (through Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree Forum or WikiTravel) for free or carry the heavy guidebook that you only intend to use half of. If you’ve been slaving away at your own self-published travel guidebook or if you’ve been trying to find just the right guide to your destination, head over to and market your writing through its online shop and publishing platform.

A few months ago, GuideGecko‘s founder, Daniel Quadt, got in touch with me to get some advice on how to construct a website that would be both useful for travel writers with helpful insight and travelers seeking destination information. He and I spent a good hour on Skype (the sun was setting in Honolulu for me as it was rising in Singapore for him) discussing the best ways to make his innovative online travel resource benefitial for both parties.

Just a few weeks later, Quadt made some necessary tweaks and launched GuideGecko in late March. The result is a site that offers a variety of guidebooks — both mainstream and independently published.

The greatest part about GuideGecko’s collection is that you don’t have to be a well-known, published travel writer to submit your travel tips. As a member/user, you have the ability to upload, manage, market, and price your travel expertise as you see fit! Authors and publishers can offer their guides for download and as printed books. Guides can be updated at any time and customers will always get the latest version.

GuideGecko is an equally useful travel resource. It attracts customers with its large variety of guides, tailor-made search functionalities to help them find exactly the guides they need, and very competitive prices at up to 30% below the suggested retail price for commercially available guides.

The site already offers close to 2,000 guides on nearly 200 countries and 250 cities and regions around the world. The guides are classified into several categories that range from diving to dining, shopping to sightseeing, and trekking to traveling with children.

I encourage you to have a look at yourself. If you’re not completely satisfied, I’m sure Daniel is open to any kind of feedback or suggestion. In fact, I intend to interview Daniel on behalf of Gadling within the coming week to understand the inspiration behind GuideGecko as well as learn about his own travels, so stay tuned!

Moon Travel Guides enjoys a handsome facelift

My brother-in-law, Jason Salter, has been working long hours for Five Paths, his web developing company, updating the website for Moon Travel Guides for over a year now. His hard work has paid off, and Moon was so pleased with the results that Gadling recently heard from a Moon representative alerting us to the latest changes and features on its new (and quite modern) online look.

Redeveloping an already existing site was quite complicated, but Jason reports that about 10,000 pages of content were added to Moon’s website, and it will grow exponentially in the near future to about 100,000 pages of online travel information, which is fantastic news for online travel information seekers.

On the new Moon website, there are now full descriptions of all published Moon books, which are easily searched by using the blue “Find Books” widget. Jason also tells me there is deep content for select books. Destinations in Central and South America are particularly well-developed, but Jason assures me that an increasingly larger number of books and sections are already being built.

If you don’t like searching for information based on the destination, you can also search for content based on activities using the “Find Activities” widget. This is a great search tool for someone like myself, as I’m always on the lookout for awesome surf spots in the world!

There are Q&A pages for authors of selected books, and maps for those books. Finally, Moon is hoping its readers can correspond with the authors through their author blogs.

Unlike Lonely Planet, which has been slow to move its content online, Moon appears to be fully embracing the world wide web, and I’m sure its readers are grateful.

Travel Forums

The internet, as wonderful as it may be, can often back up the proverbial dump truck and unload such an ungodly, suffocating amount of information upon your noggin that you may find yourself longing for the Dewy Decimal system.

Case in point: before traveling recently for the island of Moorea, I did a quick Google search and came up with a mere 1.8 million hits.

But which one to turn to for advice? It’s no secret that web designers invest time and money to ensure that their sites pop up high on Google searches in order to attract your attention and perhaps even separate you from your money. And that’s why I don’t always trust my local search engine.

Where I do turn to information, however, are forums.

Forums are just that, they allow ordinary people to openly post and honestly discuss whatever is on their mind–something extraordinarily important in the world of travel since other travelers have always been the best source of information on where to go, what to see, and where to eat.

My very favorite travelers’ forum is Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree.

Those who post here tend to reflect the Lonely Planet, roll-up-your-sleeves and get off the beaten path travel mentality. And as a result, I tend to find their suggestions and recommendations right up my alley.

The site is organized by regions of the world and also includes a keyword search option. There are also special interest subsections which cover such topics as traveling with kids, women travelers, trekking, traveling with disabilities, learning languages, and responsible travel.

Check it out.