About.com

About.com is essentially an online directory which aims to differentiate itself by using expert guides to turn up only the really good stuff. It's part of a network of over 700 sites, covering many special interest topics. This main travel site is a point of entry to over 80 sites hosted by the network, covering continents and countries, types of travel and accommodation, special interest holidays, culture and language. Each site is hosted by its own expert guide, and is full of links and articles. If you are looking for very specific information, you may find it quicker to use the Find It Now and Go facilities to get the most from the site.



SPECIAL FEATURES


Get to the Site You Want monopolises the two left-hand columns of the homepage, and gives direct links to all the travel sites. These include specific countries and even cities, camping, skiing and other adventure holidays, honeymoons, ecotourism and travelling with kids. Each site lists other related sites, and has a good archive of articles.


Expert Insight on Travel is by far the best section of this general site. Each month two new articles are added on speciality travel-related subjects, such as baking with a Dutch oven for campers, or the coyotes of Mexico. Scroll down to the bottom of each article to find a link to three-years-worth of previous features, archived by date.


Shopping is a general section covering the entire site, with a directory of over 40,000 stores. Everything from antiques to video games is offered, including, fortunately, a travel section. It's possible to personalise your shopping experience by creating a list of frequently visited stores. Take heed: when exiting your favourites page, back page with your browser, or run the risk of facing a jungle of shops blocking your way back.


OTHER FEATURES


Talk About gives a list of chat rooms, which, unfortunately, seem to be mostly drivel-ridden. Resource covers only Africa, Mexico and Europe, an odd combination, and leads to the same sites and links as the Get to the Site You Want categories. The purpose of this redundant feature isn't clear.


2013