There are lots of places in the world, with lots of names in lots of languages. The following conventions are intended to make it easier to decide how to write place names, and how to read and find things in Wikitravel. Most of the following apply to destinations as well as other kinds of articles.
This version of Wikitravel is in English (but see language versions of Wikitravel), so articles should use the city, region or country name most commonly used in English-speaking countries. This means that "official names" are often not appropriate for use as article names.
If there are other names for a destination — especially the name in the local language! — by all means include that information in the article itself. For example, an English-speaking traveller to Lisbon should know that it's called Lisboa in Portuguese; they may be interested that it was called Olisipo by the Romans. Other examples:
When there are multiple names
For destinations where multiple names or spellings are in use and there isn't an obviously correct English name, the title should be the most commonly-used name in the local language. For places where the local language doesn't use the English (or Latin) alphabet, try to form a Romanized version. In these cases it is important to create a redirect for the alternate versions of the name. The guiding principle here is the traveller comes first. Use common sense and consensus to resolve naming conflicts.
Use only the characters of the Latin alphabet for all article names (not just place names). Latin characters are the letters A through Z, capitalized or not, with or without accents/diacritics, and including ligatures (such as æ, Æ). Latin characters are much, much easier for English-speaking readers and contributors to "sound out" or to type (say, for the search tool) than non-Latin characters. If using accents/diacritics and/or ligatures, please also create redirects without (eg. the article named Ærø should have redirects named Aero and Aeroe). In countries such as Iceland where old English characters such as "þ" and "ð" are in use these can be used in article names as well.
See also: Romanization for language-specific conventions.
When determining an article name, use the following guidelines:
All use of a place name throughout any article should be consistent with the article title for that destination. In other words, naming should be consistent, regardless of whether it is the article title, or written anywhere else.
The shorter we make our URLs, the easier they are to remember and the more likely people are to pass them around. For place names, the basic name of the place, without a whole bunch of localizing addenda, is the best.
In other words, Denver is all you need to find the city of Denver in Colorado. Avoid using [[Denver, Colorado]] or [[Denver, Colorado, United States of America]]. The place of Denver in the world should be clear from the Denver page, or from the Colorado or even United States of America articles.
If, and only if, two or more places have the same name, and each also needs a separate Wikitravel article, then the article titles should be disambiguated by adding a disambiguator (See below).
Many regions have local names that work well in the Wikitravel hierarchy, such as the Green Mountains or the Ozarks. In other cases the most common name might use a directional indicator, such as Northeast Ohio; in these cases it is important to remember to use the common name and to avoid the temptation to create a region with a name like "Northeast (Ohio)". In this case, someone visiting Ohio is not going to visit Northeast, they will be visiting Northeast Ohio. Exceptions to this rule include such regions as the Midwest (United States of America); the commonly used name really is the Midwest.
Cities, Towns, Villages and other destinations
When deciding on the place name to use, avoid using the legalistic terms such as City of, City, Town of, Township, Village of, Village and similar descriptions, unless City, Town, Village, etc. is normally used as part of the place name.
A good test is to ask if you would still be discussing the same place if the extra term was omitted from the placename.
An exception to excluding hierarchy from article names is districts in a city. These have names of the form "Name of city/Name of district". Examples:
Keep district names short; in particular, don't repeat the name of the city. Amsterdam/East is as clear as and much shorter than "Amsterdam/East Amsterdam".
Sometimes different places have the same name, and require disambiguation. In most cases this is easy to solve, using one of the first two rules here. In a few cases, rule 3 or 4 comes into play.
If there are 3 or more places with the same name, use rule 1 first (for places on the same level of hierarchy) before using rule 2 (for places on a different level of hierarchy).
You can use a single vertical-bar "pipe" character to hide disambiguators in the text of an article. For example, type [[Georgia (state)|]] and it will be automatically expanded to [[Georgia (state)|Georgia]], and appear in articles as simply Georgia.
When two places share the same name a disambiguation page should be created, and added to Wikitravel:Links to disambiguating pages. The name of this page should usually be the common name, for example Georgia. If one place meets the "so much more famous" exception, the disambiguation page should be named "X (disambiguation)" where "X" is the common name. Example: Buenos Aires (disambiguation). Links in other articles that point to the disambiguation page should be updated to point to the appropriate disambiguated page.
See Wikitravel:How to rename a page for details on how to disambiguate an existing topic.
Most place names are capitalized in English. Short words like "of", "and", and "the" usually are not. So United States of America is the preferred capitalization.
For articles that aren't place names, capitalize the first word, and then don't capitalize things that don't need to be capitalized. For example, Discount airlines in Europe rather than "Discount Airlines In Europe", and Manual of style rather than "Manual of Style".
If a destination name normally starts with the word "the", leave it off for the article name.
Exception: The Hague, where "The" is a fixed part of the name.
Places called Saint or Mount something or other often have the name abbreviated as St. or Mt. something or other or even St or Mt something or other. To avoid confusion and multiple articles, the abbreviation should be avoided and the words spelled out in full, unless the official placename spelling uses the abbreviation.
Separate words with a single space character rather than apostrophes, dashes or hyphens, unless the place name is normally spelled that way.
Spell numbers out, unless they are actually part of the name. For example, use Eight mile junction instead of 8 mile junction as the number is spelled out on signs, though Route 66 or Highway 2 should be used if the names are normally displayed that way or if the number is routinely displayed on its own.
Try to avoid using non-alphabetic characters, even when they are actually part of the name. The following characters should be avoided if possible.
These and other special characters in article names may produce unexpected results. You could find the article to be unaddressable, unable to be moved easily or pages that link to the article may produce errors.
Section headings in articles should follow most of the same formatting conventions as article titles. Section headings should usually come from the appropriate article template for a destination.