There are as many ways to help Wikitravel Shared as there are Wikitravellers. This article is for those who like the idea of Wikitravel, but are having a hard time getting started with contributing.
Proofread. This is one of the easiest ways to get started with helping with Wikitravel Shared. While you're reading an article, watch for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or other writing gaffes. If you see one, edit the page and correct it. Wikitravel Shared is now that much better -- thanks to you! You can use the recent changes page to find recent articles that have been updated, or you can just hit the random page button to bounce around and find articles at random. You can use the automatic spellchecker to find articles that have common spelling errors in them. We have a list of common misspellings; you can add to that list, and the words will automatically be searched.
Reformat articles. Wikitravel Shared has a manual of style for giving a consistent look-and-feel to our content and making it easier for travellers to find and use information. Just as with proofreading, you can do a lot of good just by reformatting or restructuring articles to match the Manual. Articles that need reformatting can be listed in Articles needing attention and Factbook imports needing attention. The dead end pages, which list articles without any links on them, are also worth a look.
Check the article for your home town. Navigate to the article for your home town, either by going through the directory on the Main Page or using the search functionality. If the article is there, take a good look to see that it's correct. Make sure that major attractions are listed, and see if you can fill in any details (hours, prices, phone numbers) for any of the entries there. If there's not an article on your home town, start one! You can repeat this exercise for your home state or province, region, country, or whatever.
Expand listings. It can help a lot to take short restaurant listings, attraction listings, or other listings and fill them out. Contributors will often leave out crucial information about an attraction, such as its address, phone number, hours, or price. Often, this information can be found on the World Wide Web (see contributor research links for some starting points).
Check for articles for places you've visited. As with your home town, find articles for places you've visited. Check them for accuracy, add information, or start them new.
Don't limit yourself to things you already know. You don't have to have firsthand knowledge of a destination or topic to contribute to the article! Find articles that need work and do some research -- on Wikipedia, on the Web, or with other reference media -- to get started on working on that article.
Make stubs. Don't be daunted by the task of writing all of the article about Russia -- just get it started with a stub. People are much more likely to change or add to articles than to start them from scratch. If you only know a teensy bit about a subject, go ahead and add it in.
Watch for wanted articles. The Special:Wantedpages feature of our software lets you see which articles have been linked to but not yet written. These are excellent places to get started -- you're filling in what is an obvious need for the travel guide.
Follow red links. While you're reading articles, if you see a link for an article that's Not There Yet, follow the link and add in some information. We're nowhere near close to covering all the info we need to have -- when you start a new page, we're that much closer.
Take Wikitravel with you. Before you go on a trip, try to find articles in Wikitravel about the destinations you're visiting. Print them out -- or download them to your PDA, or whatever -- and take them with you on your trip. Keep notes on what's right, what's wrong, and what's missing. If the destination you're going to isn't in Wikitravel yet, take notes for a new article to start when you get back.
Join an Expedition. There are several tasks for making a real travel guide that require special skills and talents. We've created special subprojects called Expeditions to organize the efforts of people who have these talents. Do you know a foreign (non-English) language? Help out with the Phrasebook Expedition. Can you draw? Try your hand at the Mapmaking Expedition.
Promote Wikitravel. The more people who read and contribute to Wikitravel, the better it becomes, and the closer we get to our goal of making a free, complete, up-to-date and reliable world-wide travel guide. There are a number of ways to promote Wikitravel; check to see if you can do one or more of them.
Help new contributors. New users contributing to Wikitravel Shared can have a lot of questions and problems. Your experience with Wikitravel Shared can make their learning curve a lot easier. Watch for questions in the travellers' pub or on talk pages and respond helpfully. If you see the same question over and over, add it to the FAQ. You can even add to the Help index for more complicated questions or issues. If there are help topics already in place that people seem not to see or understand, maybe you can help get that information out by reorganizing the help area.
Cheerlead. Nothing makes people feel better than knowing their work is appreciated. When you see a good piece of writing, or a great picture, or whatever, let the Wikitraveller who made it know that you liked it. Just a bit of encouragement on the article's talk page, or on the user's user talk page, can make a world of difference.
Shape the community. Our project is still young, and much of the way we've decided to work together is still untested. If you have ideas for how to work together better, please suggest them as new policies and guidelines. It doesn't matter how long you've been a Wikitraveller: you just might have an idea that will make things work smoother. At worst, you'll make explicit some policy that's currently implicit; that's a good thing. If there are policies already in place that people aren't following, maybe you can help get that information out by reorganizing the policies area.
Work on MediaWiki. The software we use for Wikitravel is called MediaWiki. If you know the PHP programming language, contributing to MediaWiki really helps Wikitravel. Fixing bugs or adding features makes it easier for other Wikitravellers to add great content.