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Tech advice: Twitter for budget travelers

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Recently Twitter, the micro-blogging service and current “it” brand of the web, turned 3 years old. Yet, while most three-year olds we know spend their time observing others and imitating their parents, Twitter is busy trying to create a new communication platform (and vocabulary) for the web.

Twitter for budget travelers?

So what does this mean for you, the budget traveler? Should you care? Do you really need to know about “tweets,” DMs and “followers”? Do you really want to introduce yet another social network into your daily routine?

Well, here is a primer to help answer a few of these questions and provide a proper introduction to Twitter… Cheapo-style!

The basics: what is Twitter?

Twitter allows members to send and read short messages (“tweets”) between themselves and other users. These tweets are text-based, frequently contain links to articles on other websites, and are limited to only 140 characters in length.

Twitterers are able to post tweets as frequently (or infrequently) as they like and on any subject they wish. As you might guess, there is a vast variety of subjects being tweeted.

Want to know if your cousin Larry just burned his coffee? No prob. Want to ask President Obama a question about the economy? Go for it. Interested in telling NBA great Shaquille O’Neal what to order at Dairy Queen and read other “random acts of Shaqness”? The list is endless.

Hmm… kind of sounds like Facebook’s status updates, right?

Well, sort of. One of the main differences is that anyone can “follow” someone else on Twitter without being approved Follow travel writers: If you have specific travel columnists, travel bloggers or other travel personalities you enjoy reading, look them up on Twitter. Most have a “Twitter presence” and reading their Tweets can add a fun, new dimension to what you read from them elsewhere.

Only follow those who truly interest you: There’s a “beginner’s instinct” to build your list of followers by rapidly following others, but what’s the point? Twitter is most helpful and useful when you genuinely look forward to reading the Tweets being sent your way.

Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask a question or request travel advice. We recently were looking for a budget hotel in Los Angeles and posted a Tweet asking for suggestions, and within minutes several Twitterers provided helpful recommendations. Tweet-o-rific!

Share the love: Similarly, be on the lookout for Tweets where you can add helpful feedback or offer advice. It’s a two-way “Twitter Street,” and since we joined we’ve enjoyed the sense of community that builds over time from others in our network.

Get airline info: Follow your preferred airlines for updates and offers for last minute deals.

Stay in touch: Twittering makes it easy for the folks back home to follow your adventures abroad. Of course, you run the risk of overdoing it. But your followers may appreciate the chance to travel with you. Also, Twittering on the road permits you to ask your followers for rapid-fire advice on, say, a restaurant in Madrid.

Get organized: For those who become hooked, consider using a Twitter “client” such as TweetDeck. These websites help manage your Twitter account, create individual groups, and make Twittering feel more organized and less manic.

A Few notable travel twitterers

twitter.com/eurocheapo – Surprise!
twitter.com/budtravel – The editors of BudgetTravel.com
twitter.com/jenleo – Updates from the LA Times travel blog editor
twitter.com/wendyperrin – Conde Nast Traveler’s very own Wendy Perrin
twitter.com/soultravelers3 – Updates from a family of three traveling the world
twitter.com/SEKeener – Follow Cheapo-friend and co-founder of BootsnAll.com, Sean Keener, while he travels throughout Australia
twitter.com/samdaams – Pithy updates from Sam Daams, the co-founder of Travellerspoint.com

Do you Tweet?

Do you have recommendations for using Twitter? Are there other travel Twitterers you enjoy following? Do you agree that Twitter can be helpful, or do you find it a waste of time?

Tell us in the comments below!

About the author

Pete Meyers

About the author: An Ohio native, Pete Meyers was bred on family road trips and the Beach Boys. When not working at EuroCheapo HQ in NYC, Pete likes to be found eating bouillabaisse anywhere in the south of France.

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8 thoughts on “Tech advice: Twitter for budget travelers”

  1. Pingback: To Use Twitter for Travel or Not to Use It: Is That Really the Question? | BootsnAll Travel Articles

  2. @ Colin – Travel Tuesdays is the unofficial day when Twitterers worldwide provide travel tips and advice. Typically these tweets include the keyphrase “#traveltuesdays.”

    – Pete

    Reply
  3. Some useful tips there, thanks. I’ve been using Twitter for about a month now and am really enjoying it, and I would definitely recommend Twitter to anyone who hasn’t started using it.

    Incidentally, I would love to know how to get involved in TravelTuesdays that MadelineJ mentioned in the previous comment. Can anyone help?

    Reply
  4. I’m a pretty new twitterer and got hooked when I realized Twitter’s listening power. I use the “search” at the bottom of the screen and have found links to websites and blogs that I never knew existed. Also I love TravelTuesdays – lots of great tips there!

    I’m still puzzled about all the random people that follow me – I have no idea how they find me or why they care about my tweets.

    Reply
  5. Twitter has been such an incredible tool for the travel community. On our profile, @istopover , we’ve been providing budget travel advice, and have gained a following of great members. Learning travel advice has never been so simple.

    Reply
  6. I love twitter. It has helped me in so many ways. Its a great marketing tool, meeting new friends, finding awesome deals, random stuff on the internet and more! Oh and I always get question “Isnt that what facebook does already?” lol

    Reply

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