Research the Virgin Islands is a vital first step to planning the perfect trip. A familiarity with the islands will set you on the path to good decisions, but before you can learn more about the area, you'll need to know where to find reliable information.
If you're visiting this Web site you've probably already begun your research and while you will find great general travel information here, remember that it is best complemented by the official Web sites for the British Virgin Islands (www.bvitourism.com) and the U.S. Virgin Islands (www.usvitourism.vi). You may also want to try Internet searches as a good way to find other helpful resources.
One alternative for learning more about the Virgin Islands is to take advantage of the research done by Internet travel sellers. Even if it's too early to think about purchasing your trip, you can use the property reviews and island information to help educate you about what type of accommodations are available and what each island has to offer. Other features, such as local business directories, can help you find out more about chartering a fishing boat or arranging for a spa visit once you reach the island of your choice. Even picking a location can be made easier by Web sites devoted to special interest travelers, such as those on a budget or vacationers who plan to visit more than one island.
A trip to your local bookstore can also turn up helpful results. Guidebooks that focus mainly on the Virgin Islands will prove invaluable for getting information that you can take with you. Take your time when selecting a guidebook, however, as you'll want to find one that suits your vacation interests and travel style. Honeymooners will probably not want to purchase a book that is meant for families traveling with children, for example. The basic island information will be very similar in most books but the recommendations and tips can vary widely. The best way to find an appropriate guide is to read through several until you begin to get a feel for the differences.
Don't forget to swing by the magazine rack while you're in the bookstore. Travel magazines can be very helpful if you know how to make the most of them. Start by finding periodicals that are Caribbean or Virgin Island-specific. These will provide the most relevant information and can help you learn what to anticipate from your vacation. Many publications also have Web sites where you'll be able to browse the archives or search for the answers to any questions you may have.
When researching the Virgin Islands, don't neglect one of your most important resources, the experiences of friends and colleagues who have visited the islands. Mention that you are interested in going and then listen to their own tales. You may be surprised to learn that your mother-in-law knows of a fantastic bar on St. Thomas or that your coworker has a fail-proof method for getting hotel rooms with great views. Take in as much of this information as you can, since it will help you decide how to spend your days once you're ready to plan your trip.
If you don't a large network of Caribbean travelers at your disposal, you can always turn to the Internet. Many Web sites have forums and messages boards where users can discuss their traveling adventures and respond to questions posed by others. This may be an excellent place to ask about specific tours or hotels and get some real-life feedback, but you should carefully consider the trustworthiness of your source before you make major travel decisions based on another person's advice.
The Virgin Islands are a traveler's paradise, but planning the perfect vacation has to start with getting accurate travel information. Learning more about the strengths of each island will help you to select the location that is perfect for you. Once you've completed all the research you're all set to put your knowledge to use and begin the decision-making process.
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