Help Wikitravel grow by contributing to an article! Learn how.

Wikitravel:Country article template

From Wikitravel
Revision as of 16:34, 8 December 2007 by TVerBeek (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

NOTE: This is an informational template that describes the structure to use when creating articles about countries. Editing this template will not create a new article; for information on how to create new articles see Wikitravel:How to start a new page.


Country articles contain links to regions within the country as well as general information about travel in that country. Particular travel information is left up to city articles, which contain the details of addresses, phone numbers, reviews, directions, etc. for attraction, restaurants, hotels, and the like. Country articles give travelers the background information they need to understand city articles.

There should be little need to create new country articles, because every country and dependent territory as of June 2002 has had an article created for it. If a region breaks off from a country, there's probably already an article for that region, which can usually be converted to a "country" article easily enough. It's happened, and we've done it. But you never know.

To quickly insert a complete blank country template, you can copy-and-paste the Wikitravel:Quick country article template or just add {{subst:country}} to the page and save.

Stuff in italics below is editorial comment, with suggestions for what should go in each section. You should plan on ruthlessly eliminating it if you copy this code to a new country article.]


The first section of the country article does not have a heading. This is where you should put identifying information about the country, so that the traveler has some idea what you're talking about. Try to link to the continent or continental section the country is in. Rough borders for the country, and names of neighboring countries, give context here, too. You can pull off a few sentences of interesting tidbits, but try to leave detailed information on history, culture, etc., for the Understand section.

Regions

Most countries can and should be divided into smaller areas, called "regions", with articles about each region giving more detailed information. This helps us deal with large or complex countries. Instead of listing 10,000 cities on the United States of America country article, for example, we have 12 regions (New England, The Southwest, etc.), each of which contains a number of states, each of which may have its own regions, and so on down to the cities, each of which has (or will have) its own guide.

Try to divide up a country into traditional or well-agreed regions, according to the guidelines on the geographical hierarchy page. List them here, with links to the article pages for each region, and a short description of the region to give travelers some idea of what the region is about. If a country is so small or so unpopulated that it doesn't really need to be divided into regions, leave this section out.

If the country's regions have specific names ("county", "state", "province", "canton", etc.) feel free to change the name of this header to "Counties", "States", etc. Remember, though, that legal divisions don't always make the best divisions for a travel guide.

  • The South - warm and dry
  • The North - cool and wet
  • The Coast - beaches, great seafood
  • Inland - agriculture and friendly people

Cities

Some countries are so small that they only have a few cities; you can simply list them here, rather than making up regions for it. Alternately, most countries that are large enough to have regions also have a handful of cities that are well-known to foreigners. Often these cities are better known than the region they're in -- say, Los Angeles in Southern California -- so it can be tedious for travelers to traverse through a lot of articles to find the city they're looking for. Don't list every single city in the country! When listing cities place the capital first and alphabetically list the other cities, of which there should be a maximum of nine (including the capital). If there are no prominent cities in the country, this section can be omitted.

  • Capital city - industrial port city but a good starting point
  • City A - fun and funky, great nightlife
  • City B - warm beaches and slow lifestyle
  • City C - ancient castles and inspiring museums

Other destinations

Sometimes a country has destinations that aren't really cities; for example, large national parks like the Grand Canyon, or archaeological sites like Angkor Wat. These should usually be listed on the region page for the region they're in, but for especially prominent ones you can also list them separately here, with descriptions, if they exist. Otherwise, leave out this section.

  • Park 1 - incredible mountainous park, great hiking
  • Park 2 - great rock formations and wildlife viewing
  • Ruins 1 - amazing ruins of an ancient civilization

Understand

This section of the page is where you give deeper background information about the country: its history, culture, its people or peoples, relationships to other countries, etc. Some information about present-day situations in the country that are relevant to travelers are broken out in separate sections below, so don't duplicate that information here. Also, try not to go too deeply into information about the separate cities or regions in the country, except perhaps in how they relate to each other; leave that for the region or city articles.

The CIA Factbook information for the country may be helpful to you in composing this section. The CIA Factbook information is broken down into tabular form; please integrate it into some readable prose text. Some information that may be helpful: location, climate, terrain, elevation extremes, natural hazards, population, nationality and ethnic groups, religions, languages (but see Talk below), government type, capital, constitution, independence and national holiday(s), economic overview, industries and agriculture.

Suggested subheadings include:

History

The country's history in a nutshell.

People

The country's major population groups and their distribution. Also include any cultural notes of major interest.

Climate

The country's seasons (temperature and rainfall), geography and when to travel.

Holidays

Major holidays, both those of interest to tourists (colorful festivals) and those best avoided (when everybody goes home, transport is packed and the country shuts down). Provide exact dates if possible.

Get in

Arrival overview for getting to the country. Give visa or other legal information, as well as warnings about border crossings. This may also be a good place to note contact information for embassies and consulates from this country in other nearby or English-speaking countries.

Below are some sections for common ways to get to a country. Try and include as many options as you can think of -- land, air, sea. Try to order the sections from the most common and convenient to the rarest and most inconvenient. If for some reason there's a common way to approach the country not listed below -- by llama, by snowmobile, by bush helicopter -- just add another section. And leave out sections that don't apply.

By plane

Name large cities with international airports that make convenient entry points to the country. You can leave details about what carriers serve the airport, etc., to the city pages; this is just for an overview. If there's no international air service to the country, leave this section out.

By train

Name large cities with international rail service that make convenient entry points to the country. You can leave details about schedules, stations, etc., to the city pages; this is just for an overview. If there's no international rail service to the country -- say, if it's on an island -- leave this section out.

By car

Driving details and directions for getting to this country from adjoining ones. Name big highways and border crossings. Distances and times from large cities in other countries to large cities in this one can be helpful. If there's no way to drive to this country from the outside (for example, if it's on an island), leave this section out.

By bus

Name large cities with international bus service that make convenient entry points to the country. You can leave details about schedules, stations, etc., to the city pages; this is just for an overview. If there's no international bus service to the country -- say, if it's on an island -- leave this section out.

By boat

Name any port cities that have convenient ferry service from other countries. You can leave details about schedules, stations, etc., to the city pages; this is just for an overview. If there's no international passenger boat service to the country -- say, if it's landlocked -- leave this section out.

Get around

This is a spot to give general information about how to get around the country once you are there. An overview of domestic travel possibilities: air, train, and bus travel, long-distance taxis, ferries, etc. Try to keep the information general, with specifics on distances and schedules between cities in the country left to the city articles.

Talk

Describe the language or languages used in the country. How well can you get by with only English or another foreign language (French in Vietnam for example)? Also include information about the writing system -- will travellers need a bilingual map? It's often useful to link to the phrasebook for each language used. If English is the only language used in the country, you can just state that, and that should be enough.

Buy

Include here information on the currency and rough conversion rates for major currencies used by English-speaking travelers (US, Australian, Canadian dollars, euros, British pounds). If other currencies are commonly used -- either officially or on the black market -- note that, also. Give recommendations about using automatic teller machines and other ways of getting money from home.

You can also add information about common purchasing patterns. Is it common to bargain for products in shops? In other instances?

Costs

Give rough estimates of how much one day of travelling in the country costs, in three price brackets: bare-bones backpacker travel, luxury hotels and a comfortable medium between the extremes. Note if something (accommodation, transportation etc) is particularly cheap or expensive, or if there are major regional variations.

Eat

Information on country-specific food. Keep this as general as possible and save the actual restaurant business information for the city articles where the restaurants are. Do mention any general types of restaurant that travellers should look for (or avoid!). Mention national dishes, local or minority cuisines, and hints for vegetarians or other people on special diets.

Drink

Information on the country's bars and nightlife. As with most other country information, this as general as possible and save the actual bar or nightclub listings for the city articles where they are. You can and should mention cities or regions with especially good nightlife, or interesting musical traditions. Also give an idea of bar and club etiquette.

Sleep

General information on the type of accommodations (pensions, guest houses, hostels, motels, etc.) travellers will encounter, as well as rough price ranges. If there are national networks of pensions, hostels, or the like, give contact info here. Also, if there are national contact numbers for hotel information, this is also a good place to list that.

Learn

Information about schools and classes for language, culture, or other activities that international travelers may be interested in. Note cities where there are large international student opportunities. This can be about general stuff, with contact info and other specifics in the city guides.

Work

What options are there are for international travelers to find work in the country. Ideas on jobs, work visas, volunteer opportunities and resources, etc.

Stay safe

Words of warning for international travelers not familiar with the country's climate or culture. Include crime safety, natural hazards, regions of war and civil unrest, and any other potential dangers. If there are local or national safety contacts (or even standards such as "911" in the USA), note them.

Stay healthy

This section is for medical information, including local health hazards, medical, pharmacies, etc. Note any significant outbreaks of contagious diseases, recommended shots, and requirements for obtaining medicine or medical attention in the country. If there are national hotlines for medical emergencies, or local numbers that are standardized (like 911 in the USA), list them here.

Respect

List here any common mistakes foreigners make about the country in question. In many parts of the world, certain parts of the body, buildings, people, or other objects are subject to custom and etiquette that may be different from the traveler's home culture. Should short-sleeved shirts and short pants be avoided in churches or temples? Is it OK to eat with your left hand? What about respect for the elderly, children, government officials, etc.?

Contact

General information about staying in contact. What phone networks (land lines and wireless) are available, and how much does the average payphone cost? What is the country's calling code number? What Internet connectivity is available? Are Internet cafes plentiful? What is the post system like, and what do mailboxes look like? How much are postage stamps, more or less? Are there other private services that provide delivery or mail service? As usual, don't list individual telephone centers or Internet cafes; save those for the city listings where they're located.

Variants

Actions

Destination Docents

In other languages