External links are links to other web sites and away from Wikitravel.
In general, the Wikitravel policy is that external links should be kept to a bare minimum and links to secondary sources such as other travel guides, review sites, travel agents and aggregators should not be used.
There should not be an external links section on any article.
External links should point to primary sources. For example:
- The official tourist office or government web site for a destination
- The official web site for a hotel
- The official web site for a restaurant or bar
- The official web site for a museum, park, or other attractions
- The official web sites of cultural and educational organizations offering programs of interest to travellers, such as foreign language instruction or cooking classes.
Using primary sources makes our guide more succinct: where there is usually one or sometimes two primary source links for any subject, there can be hundreds or thousands of secondary source links. We also avoid subjectivity and conflict. It's difficult to decide collaboratively which of the thousands of English-language newspapers, magazines, and Web sites has done the very best travel article about New York City, but it's quite easy for everyone to agree that http://www.nycvisit.com/ is the official city visitor's guide. If the destination has both an official visitor's guide and a general government site, include only the visitor guide.
For example, avoid links to:
- Hotel or travel booking services or aggregators
- Nightlife guides and reviews in nightlife guides
- Restaurant guides and reviews in restaurant guides
- Blogs, forums and social networking sites (facebook, etc), with the exception of when a business has no other official web presence.
- Lists of links, service directories (including Wi-Fi directories)
- Price comparison websites
- Map services
- Newspaper and magazine articles
- Personal image galleries and photo/video sharing websites (Flickr, Webshots, YouTube, etc)
- Personal travelogues
- Search engine results (http://www.google.com/search?q=Montreal)
- Other travel guides, including audio guides, audio tours, virtual tours and webcams
- Vacation rental agencies that do not meet Wikitravel's rental listing criteria
- Tour operators that do not meet Wikitravel's tour listing criteria
- Taxi and Rental car operators, in cities where they are common (6 or more operating in the city). Typically we don't provide details of national car rental chains in local guides. Providing details at the national level, and mentioning the name and location at local level is sufficient if required.
We should avoid links to other travel guides, to ensure we have travel information in Wikitravel, not linked from Wikitravel. This is an incentive issue; if we have lots of links to other travel guides, we lose the impetus to create our own. In addition, one of our goals is to produce a guide useful for printing or off-line use, and therefore we need information to be within the article rather than linked to at another site. See also the "Avoid references to third-party ratings and rankings unless they are truly exceptional" rule in Wikitravel:Don't tout.
We also do not provide links to source information or provide references—travel guides do not use footnotes!
This rule applies to main namespace articles; it does not prevent people citing URLS in support of their arguments on discussion pages or in how-to-do-it or on policy pages in Wiktravel namespace like this one!
There are three possible formats for "external" links. For the sake of consistency and to avoid those confusing, incrementing little footnote-style numbers appearing all over the place, we only use the first format below for external links as a general rule:
- Example, to create the standard hypertext-style of external link seen all over the world wide web, the syntax is to place one open square bracket, then the URL (not forgetting to include the
http://part since the software won't recognize a link if that's missing), then at least one space, then the text you wish to hyperlink and that will be coloured blue and finally one closing square bracket. eg: [http://www.example.com/ '''Example'''].
This "good" style means that it is very easy for our readers to spot when they will be taken away from this great site to another website because the upward and right pointing arrow symbol like this is very visible. This "good" style also does not interrupt article prose with meaningless, footnote style numbers and nor does it occupy valuable screen space or confuse screen readers for the visually impaired with huge, ugly, unpacked URLs.
Don't use these:
- Footnote style example  that will create meaningless but numerically incrementing numbers. Wikitravel is a travel guide and doesn't do footnotes! '''Footnote style example''' [http://www.example.com]
- Unpacked example http://www.example.com/ofanextremelylongandincrediblymeaningfultorobots/styleofPHP=???lotsofgobbledeygookcomeshere/languageversionaandthekitchensink/howmanytrees/mustsuffer/beforeIthinktheyvegotthemessage/eng/ '''Unpacked example''' http://www.example.com/ofanextremelylongandincrediblymeaningfultorobots/styleofPHP=???lotsofgobbledeygookcomeshere/languageversionaandthekitchensink/howmanytrees/mustsuffer/beforeIthinktheyvegotthemessage/eng/ (without any square brackets "[" and "]" at all.)
There are three possible uses for external links:
- Links in listings: Please include primary source links for listing establishments (e.g., museum web-site, restaurant web-site, hotel web-site, etc.).
- Official destination links: If an official web site exists for the destination then it should be linked to only once, within the first sentence of the article, with the name of the destination emboldened. Only primary links should be used; a web site that is not maintained by the destination would not be appropriate. For example, in the Disneyland article, a link to http://www.disneyland.com/ and only to that web site is appropriate.
- In-article text links: Links within the article text should be kept to a minimum and generally should point only to primary sources. Examples of valid links to primary sources, might include airline companies, bus companies, and sites offering daily updates and warnings about a destination's condition such as government travel advisories.
Wikitravelers should avoid using tertiary sources (such as Encyclopaedia Britannica, Wiktionary or Wikipedia). Anyone looking for additional information from a tertiary source can do so on their own and need not be provided with a link from Wikitravel to such a ubiquitous source as an encyclopedia. This is being done solely to limit external links on Wikitravel. Also if you find that the information from the tertiary sources is useful to travellers generally, then just rewrite it right in our own article rather than providing a link off-site that can not be accessed from a print of our guide.
What the reader expects to be at the end of a link, should be at the end of the link. A link to a service provider web page, where permitted by policy, should always be preceded by a mention of the service providers name in the text.
Remember that for print versions of Wikitravel, links will be presented in all their URLish ugliness. Readers of the print versions will have to type in by hand the URL that you add. For this reason, try to use the shortest URL possible for links, even if it means a little more work on the part of the reader when they click through a link. Where possible, try to trim out "housekeeping" stuff from the URL. You can almost always leave off "index.html", "index.htm", "index.asp" or "index.php" from a link, for example.
If http://www.example.com/ redirects automatically to a home page like http://www.example.com/home/index.asp?id=384&lang=en, use the shorter version, even though it's "really" going to the long version. Similarly, if http://www.example.net/ has a "splash screen" which eventually takes you to http://www.example.net/index2.htm or something, leave the top-level link in, even though the "real information" is located elsewhere.
Tip: For many hotel chains, location.chain.com works as quick and easy redirect. For example, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur can be found at http://kualalumpur.lemeridien.com/ as well as http://www.starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1840&EM=VTY_MD_kualalumpur_1840_overview, and the short version will not break when the chain changes its reservation system (which seems to happen every few months).
Of course, if the page you're linking to isn't at the "root" of the site, it makes sense to leave the path part of the URL in. Don't change http://examples.org/scottish-country-dance/ to http://examples.org/, since that top-level page probably doesn't have the same dance information.
Don't use links to redirection services, such as tinyurl, just to make the links shorter.
This version of Wikitravel is for English-language speakers (but see language versions of Wikitravel), so links should go to English versions of sites when possible. However, official primary links should always be added, even if they're not in English: some travellers can read the local language or decipher it with online translation, other travellers will still find pictures, maps, schedules, prices handy, and they may be updated to include English in the future.
Many sites have the information in several languages, e.g., the local language and English. They handle this in different ways:
- Some use the browser's language preference in which case you just use a link to the main page. This has the advantage that if a non-English speaker uses the English Wikitravel and follows a link to a page also available in his/her language, the right version will be displayed. You will have to set you browser's language preference to English to test if there is an English version or you can enter the URL in a proxy such as Proxify. You can check the language preference of your browser, also.
- Some sites have an English version with a good permanent URL, such as: http://travel.example.com/english, use that URL
- Some sites have a main page in a non-English language with a cryptic link to an English page, such as http://travel.example.com/fff?349sdshd.asp. This might not be a permanent link, so it is better to use the URL of the main page and let Wikitravel users find the current link to the English version.
A link is not a substitute for actual information. Our goals include creating pages useful as printed guides. So, we need to include information that's at the other end of a link, even if it may seem redundant for on-line use.
For example, in a restaurant listing, get the address, phone number, hours, and prices for the restaurant, even if it's right there on an external Web page. Someone using a printed guide won't have access to whatever's on that page.
When Wikitravel articles are printed the Wikitravel stylesheets are set up so that the full URL of a link will appear in text enclosed in parentheses immediately after the link text. For example, an attraction listing would print as:
- Asian Civilisations Museum at Empress Place, 1 Empress Place, tel. +66 63327798,  (http://www.nhb.gov.sg/ACM).
Open Directory Project
We have a special format that features links to the Open Directory Project in a special part of the page - see Links to Open Directory.
We have a special format that features links to Wikipedia in a special part of the page - see Links to Wikipedia.
As Wikitravel is merging with World66, we have a special relationship with it that justifies an exception to the rule against linking to other guides. We have a special format that features links to World66 in a special part of the page - see Links to World66.
Providing a link to a weather forecast for the destination is okay. Such links are often placed in the text field of Template:Climate. You can use Template:ForecastNOAA to link to the NOAA forecast if the destination is in the United States.
- Tour listings - Guidelines on when it is appropriate to list a tour company on Wikitravel.
- Apartment/Rental listings - Guidelines on when it is appropriate to list a rental agency on Wikitravel.
- Wikitravel:Internal links
- Wikitravel:Links to Encyclopaedia Britannica
- Wikitravel:Links to Wikipedia
- Wikitravel:Links to Open Directory
- Wikitravel:Links to World66
- Wikitravel:Inter-language links