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Wikitravel talk:Itineraries

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Early discussion

So, I think this page should be about how to make article itineraries -- not a list of those itineraries. --Evan 12:10, 19 Jan 2004 (EST)

Ah OK. But where do we list these itineraries? Yann 12:13, 19 Jan 2004 (EST)
That's something I think we need to decide on this page! I can see a couple of ways to do linking to itineraries. First, I don't think we need one giant Wikitravel:list of itineraries. If itineraries are going to be useful, we're going to have way too many to fit on a single page.
For itineraries that are contained somewhere, like One month in Southeast Asia, we should probably have links in the Get Around section of destination guide.
For itineraries that are linked from point-to-point, like New York to Los Angeles in two weeks, we could link in the Get Out section of New York, and the Get In section of Los Angeles.
There's obviously some fine-tuning to do here, though. --Evan 17:19, 21 Jan 2004 (EST)
I agree that they should be in the appropriate location, but I also think it would be really nice to have a central location for all the itineraries. I think it would be nice to be able to browse through the itineraries, as these are often interesting reading, and give ideas for travel.
I know that in the long run this page would start to get large. I would suggest that when that happens we start breaking it up by geography and subject. In the long run we may end up with articles as specific as Travel Itineraries/British Columbia Road Trips, but I think that is better than having to drill down in the geography heirarchy to Hope (British Columbia) to find out there is an interesting highway to drive between Hope and Lytton. -- Webgeer 13:00, Jul 27, 2004 (EDT)
I have tried to begin such a list. Please look if that is what you wanted. --EBB 13:18, 27 Jul 2004 (EDT)
That is pretty much what I was thinking. However shouldn't it be a regular article rather than a WikiTravel: article (which I thought were for administrative things). Also I think there should be some mention of that page in other locations so that people know to add their itineraries to that page (I'm going to put more discussion on this in the Wikitravel talk:Other ways of seeing travel) -- Webgeer 14:20, Jul 27, 2004 (EDT)
I had written it as List of itineraries but it was almost immediately moved into the "Wikitravel:" namespace. I don't know what is the best solution. If you do not agree with Evan's decision to move, I will support you *g*. On the other hand such an category feature as in the Wikipedia would make it easier because one would only have to edit one article (write the itinerary and put a category line into it) than writing the itinerary and adding the article manually to the list. Unfortunately I'm not so experienced with the features here in the Wikitravel therefore I couldn't do it (honestly said, I wasn't thinking about it when writing the list). --EBB 14:40, 27 Jul 2004 (EDT)
P.S. I am grown up enough to criticize Evan on my own if it seems necessary to me but in this case I think both solutions are acceptable. --EBB 14:44, 27 Jul 2004 (EDT)
I moved the article to the Wikitravel: namespace because the itineraries list is mainly a reference for contributors. Like phrasebooks, itineraries should really be linked to from destination guides, not put in a separate site hierarchy. --Evan 20:13, 27 Jul 2004 (EDT)
I think there should be multiple ways of getting to an article. I agree they should be linked to in the destination guides, but I don't think that precludes a separate hierarchy for those who just want to see itineraries. However, I would suggest a different type of hierarchy (not geographic). I have refined my proposal for a Travel Planning hierarchy. Please see the suggestion at: Wikitravel talk:Other ways of seeing travel I would like to get some consensus from Wikitravellers whether this is a good idea and should be initiated or whether this is a bad idea and should be abandoned or significantly changed. I will probably add a note in the Travellers' Pub soon to try and solicit more opinions on the concept. -- Webgeer 23:41, Jul 27, 2004 (EDT)
I agree there should be more than one way to reach an article. I would like to write about an itinerary in middle Sweden. Obviously, I will add a link to the page with a list of itineraries. I would also like to link to this itinerary from other pages: the main article on Sweden, regional pages on Sweden and perhaps even on the pages about major cities allong the itinerary. I have looked at some other itineraries and what pages link to them, and I have the impression that there is no consensus on how to link to itineraries. Itineraries might fit under 'Getting arround' or under 'Do', but not quite. Maybe an item 'Itineraries' should be added in the template for articles? I have tried to find guidelines about linking to itineraries in the FAQ and Help areas, but didn't find any. -- Hdk 14:21, 21 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Highways discussion

Pasted from Talk:Princess Highway:

OK... At some point we probably need to hammer out how all these Australian road articles reflect on Wikitravel:What is an article?. I get a little mixed up sometimes about it... --Evan 12:44, 21 Jan 2004 (EST)

I understand what you mean -- that's why I said it probably deserved its own article. However, in the cases of the Gunbarrel Highway, the Oodnadatta Track and other outback tracks, I'm convinced they deserve their own articles. Quite a few people go to Australia to drive along them (as I did). They're really destinations in their own right. DhDh 13:44, 21 Jan 2004 (EST)
I agree with both Evan's concern and Dhum Dhum's comment about outback driving. Is there a way we can add to Wikitravel:What is an article? so that the Gunbarrel Highway and Silk Road are OK as itiniraries/destinations but that will prevent having Highway 280 or Jersey Turnpike? I think we need to clarify what "deserve" means (cause it's pretty? "important"? "popular"? or has something truely destination-y about it?)Majnoona 17:05, 21 Jan 2004 (EST)

I started working on Wikitravel:Itineraries. There's something of a difference between formal routes, like particular named roads (Route 66, Gunbarrel Highway) or trails (Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Annapurna Circuit), and informal routes like One month in Southeast Asia or Istanbul to Delhi over land). But I think the idea is the same. We have dots (OK, smudges) on our maps that are destinations -- countries, regions, cities, districts, etc. And we have lines that go between those dots -- sometimes they're traditional or established, sometimes they're just "suggested" by Wikitravellers. --Evan 17:12, 21 Jan 2004 (EST)

I think Maj means where do we draw the line between formal routes like Route 66 (of which we definitely want an article) and Jersey Turnpike (of which I think we don't want article). Importance and popularity have definitely something to do with it, but that's probably not all. It will probably remain a quite hazy border but maybe we can devise a number of questions to decide if a given route deserves an article here. DhDh 17:27, 21 Jan 2004 (EST)
Possible questions:
  • Can the route be thought of as a destination in its own right, i.e. do people go there in order to travel along it?
  • Does it connect important tourist places and is it regularly used by travellers as a means of travelling between them?
  • other...
If the answer to any of these is yes -> go ahead and create the article. DhDh 17:38, 21 Jan 2004 (EST)
I think it's pretty hard to say whether a highway or road is guide-worthy (is that a word? B-). I think if we link routes with itineraries pretty carefully, articles like Jersey Turnpike would come out pretty lame. I'd say that if someone went to the trouble to describe an itinerary for the 'pike, well, damn, that's probably worth having an article about. Sucky itineraries and crap places to visit still seem worth having in the guide. Chacun a ses propres goûts. --Evan 19:05, 21 Jan 2004 (EST)

Thematic Itineraries

I am new to this wiki, so set me straight if this topic has been addressed. Is there a mechanism to discover or record thematic itineraries? People like to follow their hobbies or interests while traveling. For example, a Civil War buff might want to locate and visit relevant sites while traveling in the southeastern USA.

--Jwalling 16:05, 22 Dec 2005 (EST)

Should itineraries overlap?

There's an open question right now about whether itinerary articles should cover overlapping areas or routes. For example, if the itinerary for going from point A to point E goes through points B, C, and D, is it OK to have a different itinerary for going from point B to point D?

I think the guidelines in this article seem to show that they definitely should overlap -- that we should have itineraries for different time periods, for different routes between the same two points. I think that itineraries are by nature pretty sparse -- they should really be leaning on the destination guides to provide the bulk of information on the region or route. So the actual duplication of text and images is going to be manageable.

I think very much that we could use New York to Pittsburgh in one day, New York to Chicago in two days, New York to Denver in three days, New York to Las Vegas in four days and New York to Los Angeles in five days, even though the routes overlap. New York to Dallas, New York to Phoenix, and New York to Memphis would overlap these itineraries in some places, and not overlap in other places. I think having an interweaving web of itineraries is a boon, not a downside.

The reductio ad absurdum is that if we keep discarding short routes in favor of longer ones, all we'll have left is Lapland to Capetown, Nome to Tierra del Fuego, Perth to Sydney and Lisbon to Vladivostok. I just don't think that's what someone going from Paris to Marseilles really needs.

Let's open up itineraries to some more experimentation, rather than prematurely shutting them down in the name of efficiency. --Evan 19:56, 11 May 2006 (EDT)

I do not think that completely redundant itineraries should exist. Itineraries should be adaptable so that a LA-to-SLC itinerary will be useful to someone starting in Vegas. But if there is something -- anything -- distinctive or different about the shorter route then yes, we should keep it.
For a subroute itinerary, I would just like to see some indication that there is something that distinguishes the route. The alternative is the opposite ad nauseum -- we not only have Route 66, but we have subsection Albuquerque to Flagstaff and subsubsection Gallup to Winslow.
Now our 9-day Route 66 goes from Santa Monica to Flagstaff in two days -- including visiting the Grand Canyon. Someone who is only going as far as the Grand Canyon might have a lot more time available for visiting stuff, so a "Santa Monica to the Grand Canyon" itinerary could be sprinkled with more sights too see, and could therefore exist.
The question in my mind is "don't shorter routes always have more stuff sprinkled in?" Maybe we should allow all nontrivial subsections. To me if it's nontrivial, the author ought to be able to briefly explain why the subsection is useful. -- Colin 20:30, 11 May 2006 (EDT)
Yeah, I think there's some careful teasing out to be done here. Like, is White Plains to Los Angeles really necessary? New York to Pasadena? Probably not. What about Washington DC to Los Angeles? ...maybe. How far along the segment really makes sense? Do we need a Spokane to Tuscaloosa itinerary? --Evan 20:44, 11 May 2006 (EDT)
Tilting toward either extreme would be detrimental to the project. At the moment, the list of itineraries is a little sparse, but it could easily be overwhelmed by a flurry of New York-to-anywhere routes. However, I think the more pressing need is to expand the offerings of itineraries. It probably wouldn't hurt to present routes that emphasize the variety of travel options that we stress in the destination guides: car, plane, rail, boat. SHC 21:31, 11 May 2006 (EDT)

Here's another live data point to consider:

It's obvious that this is redundant and non-optimal. It's less obvious what the 'correct' split would be. I'd be tempted to suggest that we make one 'superitinerary' called Istanbul to Indonesia, which links to segments called (say) Istanbul to New Delhi, New Delhi to Bangkok, Bangkok to Singapore. So there'd be a kinda-split between 'regional itineraries' and 'section itineraries', where the region route consists of multiple sections. Jpatokal 22:35, 11 May 2006 (EDT)


I think it is crazy to try to come up with a policy for this sort of thing. Any policy you'd come up with, there will be more special cases than cases that conform to rule. Here are some itineraries I thought of 5 minutes ago, as someone interested in history:

  • Alexandar's route itinerary - from Greece to Punjab.
  • Grand trunk road itinerary - Afghanistan to Calcutta.
  • Itinerary that covers the sites of the Indian mutiny - large swathe of the North Indian plains.

I could keep thinking up itineraries - the Government of India markets one based on the events in the Buddha's life, someone might want to follow the migratory path of the Great Indian Albatross, or whatever. There is some amount of overlap between 1 and 2, and between 2 and 3. But I don't know if the same cities are covered. There is no way that any policy assuming that the itineraries are in some straight line is going to work.

I think that we should let itineraries grow organically. If we get a lot of people interested in building itineraries, some of them will stick around and organize them. Piroco, for example seems like someone who is interested in a certain part of recent history and likes his itinerary around that - that should be fine. If he stays and builds this into a great itinerary, it will be an asset to the project. If an itinerary starts off and then loses steam and sees no activity for a lot of time, that is the point at which we should understand that that particular itinerary is not such a hot idea and consider merging or deleting it. Having oo many itineraries is a problem we should love to have, especially if that will get us people who will maintain them. — Ravikiran 13:34, 13 May 2006 (EDT)

Umm. I think itineraries like the Silk Road, Alexander's route, the Narrow Road to the Deep North, 88 Temple Pilgrimage or whatever are a special case, because they are fixed routes and everybody can more or less agree on how they go. However, the three I list earlier are just "overland" and try to answer the question of "gee, what's the best route for backpackers going from from Istanbul to Indonesia?". Here it actually does the traveler a disservice if the information is fragmented among multiple itineraries, and we should at the very least list all the options available when he goes to the highest-level page. Jpatokal 23:47, 13 May 2006 (EDT)

I think shorter itineraries generally are better than longer ones. The main argument here is that shorter itineraries can be combined, longer ones can't. Creating meta-pages for longer suggested trips pointing to itineraries for each leg is, I believe, the right way of doing it. Exceptions may perhaps be appropriate if someone suggest an itinerary with a particular historic, cultural or religious dimmension, i.e. it wouldn't be appropriate splitting up a pilgrimage itinerary which only really makes sense if done from A to C through B.

I don't really understand the concern about overlapping itineraries, or too many itineraries, at least not at this point. Seems to me as some people are just a little bit too keen on administering. If someone really wants to write an itinerary; let them do it. Don't kill their creativity and desire to contribute by kicking them around. Always encourage contribution, and you really need to cut people some slack if you want them to spend time and effort creating content. But then - give it a few weeks or months and if the itinerary is not well maintained, start a process of merging if appropriate. For a new wikitraveller it does not encourage you to stay on and make further contributions if your first page on the wiki is voted for deletion. In fact, you'd be rather weird if you bothered to stay on at all. Sure, pages and itineraries which are completely redundant has to be cleaned up, but if there's just a seed of hope in there, give it some time and see where it goes first! It sounds trivial, but I think it's pretty essential for a social collaboration project such as a wiki to just apply some 'social intelligence' to how we deal with people who give of their time and knowledge.

At the same time, there should be some kind of structure. I think creating a meta-page for itineraries is a good idea. Fully support it. It would also make it easier for everyone to browse and maintain itineraries, and purge those who overlap. Perhaps there should also be some kind of hierarchy to itineraries, i.e. - they should be labelled with - at least - region, perhaps type, characteristics...you could create categories for overland ones, scuba diving, food, pilgrimage etc - and let people browse by category as well. In short; i think itineraries can be put to a lot better use than what it's done today..

  • Most important tho - give fellow wikitravellers some slack to do their thing and develop their contribution. Merging or deleting should at best be a secondary concern. It sometimes feels like it's what keeps this place rolling. Piroco 02:08, 18 May 2006 (EDT)

Cities along highways

Archived from the Pub:

I wonder if there's a reasonable way to add a category to a city that's on a road. It would let the traveler have a list of places along their trip. For example, I occasionally travel up TX-35 from Seadrift to Houston and there are lots of interesting things on the way to see. I'm sure someone could do a lot with IH-10 or the like. Jordanmills 20:54, 24 September 2006 (EDT)

When Wikitravel:Tags is fully implemented I could see the tag template to be a possible solution. -- Sapphire 21:06, 24 September 2006 (EDT)
One way to deal with this is to do an itinerary for the trip along that highway. Khyber Pass is one example; Route 66 another, and I think Australia has several. This is not always the best solution, or even appropriate, but worth considering. Pashley 01:44, 25 September 2006 (EDT)
Wikipedia has route descriptions, especially U.S. state and federal highways and interstates, but the project manager is adamant that these are not travel guides so information about travelers' services is ruthlessly deleted, even things to stop and see. OK, so why not a parallel project in WikiTravel? What I didn't like about Route 66 is the assumption that everyone wants to start at the same place and go at the same pace. I think it would be more universally useful to be comprehensive about potential travelers' services along the way: food, sleep, get gas, repairs, sights. Also ripoffs to avoid. Places along the way with articles of their own can be linked to. And I would never want to be euro- or amero-centric about this. LADave 00:38, 2 June 2007 (EDT)
Actually, in the case of Route 66, we created Route 66/Cities with a listing of the cites along the route. Most of the attractions/restaurants/hotels are listed on the city pages, while the things that are truly "Route 66" are listed in the guide. -- Fastestdogever 00:57, 2 June 2007 (EDT)

New Itineraries

Archived from the Pub:

After a trip, I've started several new itineraries — two for routes I followed, Yunnan tourist trail and Overland Kunming to Hong Kong — and two for other routes, Overland to Tibet, and Burma Road. Comments and contributions solicited.

The Burma Road one is controversial, arguably unnecessary. See Talk:Burma_Road. Pashley 19:42, 30 June 2007 (EDT)

Some more specific questions arise, though. One is a naming convention for overland itineraries. This has been discussed before, at least at Talk:Overland from Singapore to Shanghai and Talk:Istanbul to New Delhi over land. Should "Overland Kunming to Hong Kong" have a "from" inserted? Or should "Overland from Singapore to Shanghai" have it removed? Should "Istanbul to New Delhi over land" be changed?

Another is how to choose directions for itineraries. I wrote it as "Kunming to Hong Kong" because that is the way I travelled it, but "Hong Kong to Kunming" would fit better as a component in "Overland to Tibet". Do we need a policy, or just a suggestion, that says itineraries should be written from the better-known or more accessible end, travelling toward the other end?

There's also an open question about whether we need some sort of hierarchical tag for itineraries. Or for Travel Topics. isIn is fine for destinations, but what about itineraries. "Singapore to Shanghai" has several parts; should they link to it? How? "Overland Kunming to Hong Kong" could be part of one route in "Overland to Tibet"; should there be breadcrumbs for that?

Just using isIn — "Overland to Tibet" isIn Asia, "Overland Kunming to Hong Kong" isIn China, Yunnan tourist trail isIn Yunnan — might be better than nothing, but it does not seem to be the Right Thing. Pashley 04:32, 12 March 2007 (EDT)

Personally, I favour the briefer alternative of "Overland Hong Kong to Kunming" with the convention you suggested of from the better-known or more accessible origin to the lesser-known or less accessible destination.
However, there may need to be exceptions to this. For example, the Routeburn Trail in South-West New Zealand is best walked from the Glenorchy end to The Divide (on the Milford Road) because walked in that direction, one is warmed by the sun in the early morning and shaded from its glare in the afternoon by the prevailing topography...
...Gaimhreadhan (kiwiexile at DMOZ) • 08:58, 23 March 2007 (EDT)

Article titles

(moved from Talk:Overland from Singapore to Shanghai)

What's the right title for this type of article? Others we have are:

  • Istanbul to New Delhi over land
  • Six months overland from Istanbul to Indonesia

Should we try to be consistent? Do we need a convention or policy here?

I'd say this article has it right, "Overland from ... to ..." is the preferred form. It is what we used when I went "Overland to India" years ago and "overland" is what various tour organisers and equipment vendors use [1] [2] [3]. For that matter, a search here on Wikitravel turns up dozens of hits in the text of various articles.

Despite comments at Talk:Istanbul to New Delhi over land, I think using "over land" here is just wrong. Pashley 23:56, 3 May 2006 (EDT)

Inconsistency continues. The sub-itineraries of this are:

  • Overland from Singapore to Bangkok
  • Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City overland
  • Ho Chi Minh City to Shanghai overland

My reading of naming suggestions at Wikitravel:Itineraries is that the last two are the preferred form. That's fine by me, though personally I marginally prefer "Overland from ... to ..." format.

I do think choosing a consistent naming convention would be useful, and that "over land" must go. Pashley 03:57, 24 May 2006 (EDT)

I would drop "from" out of the page names here because it needlessly emphasizes direction. Just "to" is enough to indicate traversal. I'd use "Shanghai to Paris overland" and make "Paris to Shanghai overland" a redirect to it. I agree that "over land" could be changed to "overland" for stylistic reasons; "overland" is a travel term while "over land" is just a prepositional phrase. --Rogerhc 19:07, 30 May 2007 (EDT)

The current collection of overland titles, taken from Wikitravel:List of itineraries is:

There are also many redirects such as Istanbul to Delhi overland; I think they all point to things listed above. I still think we need a policy and some consistency here.

  • My idea of a good first step would be to move any article with "over land" in the title to "overland" and vfd the old version. As I see it, "over land" is simply an error; we don't even need those as redirects.
  • I marginally prefer "Overland Paris to Shanghai" to "Paris to Shanghai overland", but don't think the difference is important. I do think we should choose one and stick to it.

What do others think? Pashley 13:32, 5 July 2007 (EDT)

I'd pip for "X to Y overland" just because it feels a little more grammatical. "Overland to Tibet" is too vague (should be split into defined routes) and times like "six months" seem a little unnecessary, because you can do most of them in a week, a year or anything in between.
In general, it seems to me that there are two fundamental types of itineraries. One is time defined: "I've got two weeks in South-East Asia, how should I spend it?". One is endpoint-defined: "I want to travel from Istanbul to Delhi overland, what's the best route?". Titles should also reflect these: the first is "Two weeks in South-East Asia", the second is "Istanbul to Delhi overland". "Istanbul to Delhi overland in two weeks" is too specific. Jpatokal 08:54, 6 July 2007 (EDT)
Those types are the main ones, but I don't think they're the whole story. Generalise endpoint-defined to route-defined so it includes things like Along the Yangtze river. Then add historically-defined for itineraries like Burma Road, Long March or On the trail of Marco Polo; no-one's likely to follow these today (except maybe Long March), but they could be of interest for trip planning. Pashley 06:03, 6 October 2007 (EDT)

Next stop option

(Swept in from the Pub)

Hi, I'm new here, and I got an idea to help travellers, but couldn't find anything resembling it (this post might belong to suggestions of features or an idea section?):

What I'm looking for is a feature like the one on the bottom of this page from wikipedia [4]. It should make the viewer able to easily go to the next (available) article on a particular transport route (Bus/Train/Ferry). Maybe even see the distance (in length or time).

The one on the page is just made ad hoc by someone, but the idea is nice.

Why I miss it: When you plan a trip on a train/ferry, you would like to know what the different stops have to offer, but if there is no page for that specific railline/ferry route, the only way to find out soething about it's stops is by manually looking for every city on the railmap.

E.g. On the Irkutsk page is only listed that trains go from Moscow or Vladivostok. It would be nice to mention the nearest important stations Taishet, Novosibirsk and Ulan Ude, but even nicer with a small box saying Trans-Siberian Railway on the top and containing:

... | Novosibirsk | Taishet | Irkutsk | Ulan Ude | ...

Instead of having to do this for every town, it would be perfect to just be able to make a list of station somewhere.


Something like this - just nicer, and not in an infobox.

Trans-Siberian Railway nearest stops:
... Novosibirsk Taishet Irkutsk Ulan Ude ...


Clcow 02:45, 7 April 2007 (EDT)

The problem is that most places aren't neatly laid out on a line like the Trans-Siberian: what's the "next" stop from Tokyo or Chicago? But the "Get out" section is intended to provide the traveller some nearby choices for continuing their trip. Jpatokal 03:26, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
Well, in the US I guess it could be used for the interstate highways, but true, in countries and cities with several options it might just add to more useless info. I'm just thinking that in less infrastructurally developed countries, the number of railroads or mayor roads are small, and this could be an easy way for a traveller to check up on places én route to his destination. Clcow 03:05, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
Regarding the Trans-Siberian route: If you can read/translate German definitely check out the German language guide, which is simply awesome. Without looking at it, I think it does list everything in order, or at least all the major stops in order. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 03:59, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
Thanks, I was actually just using it as an example (I figured it easier to relate to, than ferry routes in Greenland), but I might check some of the German info and merge it with the English. I'll have to do it on paper at some point anyway, might as well do it here.

Itinerary Nursery

This suggestion has come up in the pub before, but to formalise a proposal.

Propose that we have a guideline to avoid creating stubby or outline itinerary articles. Instead, we create the outline itinerary within the smallest reasonable containing region. When the itinerary can stand on its own feet, or when it overloads the containing article, we move it to an independent article.

The advantages I see are

  1. The itinerary will get more attention - more people will see it.
  2. The name and scope of the itinerary can be changed easily (i.e duration and geography).
  3. We avoid have outline itineraries articles hanging around which must go through year-long wait and the vfd process.
  4. Region articles - which can often be sparse or redundant - get more useful content.
  5. Failed itineraries are easily changed, or content merged back into the region.
  6. It helps build itinerary articles by consensus, rather than each itinerary reflecting the original authors view.

Disadvantages:

  1. Otherwise complete region articles may get overloaded with outline itineraries.

Any opinions, or development of the idea?

(as an aside, if this proposal receives support, I will proceed to propose the same thing for a class of travel topics - like "destination with children", that is only when they are well developed do we move them out of the destination article. This has also been discussed previously, but lets not bite off too much here, lets deal with itineraries first). --inas 22:40, 3 May 2010 (EDT)

I think this would be sensible - there is already a sub-section under "See" for itineraries, so it might be worth explicitly stating that itineraries should start out in the the parent city/region article and only move to separate articles once they've grown beyond a few paragraphs. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:21, 4 May 2010 (EDT)
I don't like the idea of creating itineraries within the main article. I think it will make the article sloppy and disorganized. It would be a nightmare if multiple itineraries were being created in the same article. I much prefer just linking to the itinerary from the article. Generally, I don't think successful itineraries are created (or at least started) from consensus. I think they work best when one ambitious user creates the page and adds at least enough information to let other users see where it's going (if not creating it all themselves). Itineraries should come from personal travel experiences, I think. It is really difficult to know if it is feasible if you haven't done it yourself. That doesn't shut others out from editing the pages, but it's more useful to have a complete itinerary made by one user than a half-baked, hodge-podge itinerary created from "consensus". ChubbyWimbus 19:48, 4 May 2010 (EDT)
It may even discourage people from creating itineraries. You can't give it much structure within the bounds of a region/city/country article without messing up the structure of the article. It also lends the page to a whole section of repeat information. ChubbyWimbus 19:58, 4 May 2010 (EDT)
I think this line of reasoning is out of line with our goals. We don't want articles consisting of just one person's vision or experience - and we do want articles based on consensus of many. If people want to describe their particular itinerary or trip, they should go to their blog site. And, I think the fact that most itineraries on WT are in fact half-baked would be a strong argument that we generally lack the kind of user who it going to put an itinerary together from scratch - even if this was desirable. And don't forget this guideline only applies to stubby/outline itineraries. If one person, in fact, does write a usable itinerary it is no longer an outline, and this guideline would not apply to it. --inas 20:40, 4 May 2010 (EDT)
This seems sensible on a number of fronts. To the arguments already put forward, I would add that it will encourage content in the most unloved articles at Wikitravel. The vast majority of our region articles are little more than indexing vehicles. It would not take long to make a list of well developed examples. So yes, let's encourage itineraries in region articles. --Burmesedays 21:20, 4 May 2010 (EDT)
The principal downside to allowing stubby itineraries in our destination guides is that they will bring down the quality of the articles, as there is no limit to the potential worthless itineraries one could add. It's for that very reason that I like our policy of deleting languishing examples. I'd hate to see, for example, barely written itineraries like "30 days in x" appear in the see sections of our better region or huge city articles. --Peter Talk 23:30, 4 May 2010 (EDT)
Have we tried featuring itineraries on the Main Page? Currently, they can only be reached from the travel topic page. They're kind of hidden, so if we really want these to grow, we could try making them more visible.
Some of our itineraries are basically the same as destination articles, like Jomsom-Muktinath Trek and Tiger Leaping Gorge. For that reason, they wouldn't be bothersome in a regular article and a user who has been there and feels that they deserve their own articles could see them and create the article.
For the other, like Footloose in Old Delhi, Two weeks in Morocco, One week in Dominica, etc. they are just clutter on an article page that will likely never grow. They are completely arbitrary trips, so if the creator doesn't provide enough information to work with, there is no need to save them. They can always be recreated, but adding a "Footloose in Old Delhi" subheading to the Delhi page would look like a quick revert to me, and would we really want to waste time arguing over the potential value leaving it could have? ChubbyWimbus 00:00, 5 May 2010 (EDT)

If it clearly adds little value, who's to say a quick revert isn't the best thing for it? Preferable, perhaps, to having it clutter the article space for a while, have someone stumble across it later, the outline tag added, then the vfd tag added a while later, followed by a vote, followed by a deletion. If the itinerary is really going to be the work of a single person, then there is always the option of developing it in their userspace until it is usable. If it is a start of a collaboration, then it is subject to the same reversion, modification as any other info in the article. --inas 01:49, 5 May 2010 (EDT)

The original idea at top of this section sounds good and reasonable, although personally I never created or edited a single itinerary--so it's very inexperienced point of view. --DenisYurkin 16:03, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
Is there a way that we don't implement this policy too literally, perhaps by a subjective usability criteria on a case by case basis? This was tagged with "outlineitinerary" today, which is OK by the policy, and which means it will be deleted by 2011 unless it's bumped to "usable", which I don't expect anytime soon, since it requires a very determined Wikitraveller hiking the whole 509-km trail and bringing back his/her notes. However, I see several issues with deleting that article, no matter if it's an outline or not: this trail is a very popular one, in fact a destination on its own, and I've heard of many people visiting Turkey just for the sake of hiking it. The articles goes into basics about trail marks, when best to walk, etc—all very helpful for hikers intending to do the trail. Further, even if it's an outline, it has one of the most, if not the most, detailed descriptions available in English for free about its first 15 or so km section (which is one of the most popular sections of the trail), in addition to a seperate but related 8-km long trail.
So, if just adding the names of villages and major sights along its route would make it a usable itinerary (that is what I gather from Wikitravel:Itinerary status), then fine, I'll try to search a little and come up with a list of them. However, I'm still in favour of adding a line to the policy about the subjective usability criteria I've aforementioned. – Vidimian 10:04, 22 June 2010 (EDT)
The policy states that an itinerary that doesn't move past outline status then it will be deleted, but it still has to go through the VFD process. The article you linked to looks like it is already at least "usable" to me, and I have a hard time believing that something with so much detail would gain a consensus to be deleted. This guideline was mainly created as a way to handle all of the random "itineraries" we get that never grow beyond 1-2 paragraphs. -- Ryan • (talk) • 10:54, 22 June 2010 (EDT)
Actually, having now looked at a number of other itineraries that were tagged as "outline", I think we may either be being too strict with the status (example: Alaska Highway looks usable to me) or else we may need to revisit this policy; my original support was based on the idea that we need a way to clear out itineraries that weren't developed enough to allow others to work on them collaboratively (ie bare skeletons), but both Alaska Highway and Lycian Way seem to be well enough on their way as to be both usable now, and both are clear enough that others could add further detail without wondering what the original author's intent was. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:10, 22 June 2010 (EDT)
The reason why I have not tagged Lycian Way as usable is that further you move away from the western trailhead, less useful becomes the article—it's next to useless once you go past Kınık (or even Faralya). I think well-established and well-known trails and routes (like Lycian Way, Alaska Highway, or Baikal-Amur Mainline), i.e. those not put forward and named by Wikitravellers, should be treated differently from "X in Z unit of time" itineraries, even if they are complete stubs. I wouldn't mind a note to communicate to the would-be creators of itinerary articles that "if you don't have anything else to say than "X is an itinerary between Y and Z", even if it's a well-established trail/route/etc, don't start the article.", though. – Vidimian 12:45, 22 June 2010 (EDT)
There was a discussion about this a while ago and it was agreed that itineraries of popular/famous/official travel routes are exempt from the one year vfd rule for the reason you stated. These are itineraries that we already know people actually do, rather than a suggested route like the "29 years in Lima"-type articles. ChubbyWimbus 16:00, 22 June 2010 (EDT)
FWIW, I read the itinerary article status criterion of a complete point-to-point listing of the itinerary's stops to mean simply that the main stops should be at the very least bullet pointed with names, if not full descriptions. As a rule, "usable" is not/should not be a very high hurdle for any article to pass. --Peter Talk 22:16, 22 June 2010 (EDT)

Tightening the criteria for an itinerary article

This discussion continues the #Itinerary Nursery discussion above, but is a proposal to be much stricter about what constitutes a valid subject for an itinerary article. There have been a number of articles created today (apparently as part of a school project) that seem to highlight a weakness in Wikitravel's itinerary article criteria:

The current policy on itineraries is the following:

An itinerary is an article that describes a path through several destinations or attractions, giving suggestions of where to stop, what to see, how to prepare, etc. If you think of our destination guides as dots on a map, an itinerary describes a line that connects those dots.

The problem with this criteria is that:

  • It encourages creation of articles with content that duplicates another article. There is nothing that would be placed in the A Long Weekend in London article that should not be in the existing London articles.
  • It encourages creation of arbitrary articles that aren't collaborative. Only the original author knows what is meant to be included in the Four Day Summer Family Trip in Lower Cape Cod article.
  • There is no clear criteria indicating when such articles are appropriate; A Weekend in Philly might be a good article, but why not also create "An afternoon in Philly, "Two weeks in Philly", "A month in Philly", etc?

I would propose the following change to the criteria for an itinerary article:

An itinerary article should be a guide for traveling along a specific route and not merely a suggested sightseeing schedule. Examples of good itinerary subjects are Route 66 (a historical path traveled by thousands each year) or The Wire Tour (a description of filming locations for a television show). Invalid itinerary topics would include One week in Sydney or Two months in Eastern Europe; information that would be included in such itineraries should instead be added to to the appropriate city or region articles.

A number of existing itinerary articles would need to be tagged for merging under this criteria, but in my opinion it would be a valuable clarification that would resolve a problematic gray area in Wikitravel's current guidelines. Since this is a fairly major change to Wikitravel's article criteria further comments are obviously needed and appreciated. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:03, 6 March 2012 (EST)

I'm inclined to support your suggestion. The problem I have with it is that it may result in the elimination of some good itinerary articles that now exist, but as a matter of policy, I think it's probably good, on balance. Ikan Kekek 23:06, 6 March 2012 (EST)
Could you give an example of such an article? The proposal seems sound to me, and I can even see some of the mergers required improving the chronically anemic See/Do sections in regional articles. The likelihood of collateral damage seems sufficiently low.
Apparently the class that created all these itineraries has been taught before, as with One Week in South County, which highlights the expected fate of these articles otherwise: burst of activity for about a week from a user who then never contributes again, and with no further improvements to the itinerary-in-name-only. — D. Guillaime 01:21, 16 March 2012 (EDT)
I can't give an example off-hand of a good itinerary article that would be eliminated, and until I think of one, it's a weak Devil's advocate argument. Ikan Kekek 03:35, 16 March 2012 (EDT)
Three days in Singapore is an excellent article, and I would be in favor of keeping it if there is a way to do so without setting a precedent that new "X in Y Days" articles are encouraged - perhaps it could be kept because it has maps that explicitly call out the route being described? That article seems to be the (very) rare exception, with the vast majority of such articles simply being bullet point lists that duplicate the main article (at best). -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:01, 16 March 2012 (EDT)
The articles listed above actually do not seem to follow even the current criteria with the exception of the Rhode Island one. That one should cover multiple destinations, but the others are within the same city and are not highlighting any particular aspect of touring the city that would be better outlined in an itinerary as opposed to the main city article. ChubbyWimbus 07:11, 8 March 2012 (EST)
I would happily support this. Good existing article content should be easy to merge, I think, because of the duplication noted by Ryan. I'd only add a link to one of our intra city walking itineraries, like Along the Magnificent Mile, since I think we should really be promoting that type of article more.--Peter Talk 18:37, 10 March 2012 (EST)
Would the following text (in addition to what's above) be sufficient to cover an article like Along the Magnificent Mile while still limiting the number of "X in Y days" articles?
Two questions that can help determine whether or not a subject is a good candidate for an itinerary article are the following:
  1. Is the itinerary article about a specific route? Travelers can agree on what content would be included in an article such as Appalachian Trail, but it is completely subjective what should be included in articles such as "Ten days in Slovakia" or "A trip through historic sites in the American South".
  2. Should the content in the itinerary article be covered elsewhere on Wikitravel? An article such as "Visiting Boston's museums" would probably just duplicate content that should instead be placed in the main Boston articles.
In general, if there is any question whether a subject is a good itinerary topic or not, start out by including the information in the appropriate city or region article(s), and ask in the Pub whether a separate itinerary article makes sense.
-- Ryan • (talk) • 23:51, 12 March 2012 (EDT)
I like that a lot. One question: Would or should it have any effect on travel topics like Touring prestigious universities in the U.S., that lack specific itineraries? Ikan Kekek 23:57, 12 March 2012 (EDT)
That is a travel topic, which as you point out is not an itinerary but does not need to be one. ChubbyWimbus 06:56, 13 March 2012 (EDT)
As ChubbyWimbus notes, we'll probably still have a gray area with some travel topics, but at least this proposal should make it clearer what is a valid itinerary subject. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:55, 13 March 2012 (EDT)
(Re-indenting) If I'm reading the comments correctly thus far there hasn't been any disagreement, but given the small number of people who have commented it would be great to get additional opinions. Would anyone else be agreeable/opposed to the suggested changes to the itinerary article criteria? -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:10, 19 March 2012 (EDT)
Anyone? Bueller? The proposed change seems like a worthwhile clarification, but isn't one that I'd be comfortable making without broader agreement. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:01, 24 March 2012 (EDT)
In principle, I like the idea of tightening up the criteria, getting rid of some that are useless, and heading off more. Text above is reasonable, but I'm not sure what's optimal.
How would A week near Hong Kong fare under these criteria? That's mostly by me, so of course I think worth preserving.
Or Shanghai_for_the_first-timer? That may be worth saving because Shanghai is such a huge complex place. Pashley 00:36, 25 March 2012 (EDT)
Since they aren't about specific routes, the two articles you've highlighted would fail the "is the itinerary about a specific route" criteria and thus would be tagged for merging. Recognizing that there are some existing "X in Y time period" articles that are exceptional (Three days in Singapore being one), we could potentially specify a grace period in which existing articles could be re-worked to meet the new criteria - would three months be reasonable? -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:19, 25 March 2012 (EDT)
Merging A week near Hong Kong into Pearl River Delta would be fairly straightforward. I'm not sure merging the Shanghai_for_the_first-timer article would work. Pashley 22:34, 25 March 2012 (EDT)
Is Shanghai for the first-timer really an itinerary, or is it more of a travel topic? If it's the latter than the new criteria probably wouldn't apply. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:58, 25 March 2012 (EDT)
Support in principle. How about requiring a full itinerary article to follow a route through more than one destination. City tours could be treated like districts. Just a suggestion, I dont have particularly strong feelings on this, but agree that a report on one travellers relatively aimless wanderings does not justify an article. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:18, 28 March 2012 (EDT)
Peter raised the example of something like Along the Magnificent Mile, which is a walking tour within a single district of Chicago. Requiring multiple cities would eliminate articles like this one. Is there another criteria that would allow such articles but avoid opening the door to lots of "A five minute walking tour from 4th St. to Broadway in New York"? The "about a specific route" criteria would at least make get rid of the "X in Y Days" articles, but we may still end up with a number of itineraries that sit at outline status for a year before they fall into the "delete outline itineraries after a year of inactivity" criteria. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:18, 29 March 2012 (EDT)
Good afternoon, Wikitravel authors/community. I write today to weigh in and provide a perspective on this that seems to be less articulated, but at least worth thinking about. Foremost, I want to thank the community at large for their patience with the writers who contribute to this "information ecology". As one of the instructors who teaches the class, I understand the frustrations that are often advanced in these talk pages, but would also suggest that our aims are benevolent when we ask students to enter this existing group of writers and find ways to make meaningful and valued contributions while following the practices, standards, and guidelines provided. Certainly some students are less successful in effecting those goals than others, but from a learning perspective, few assignments are as useful as this because these student-writers get exposure to real world audiences and get to see the ways that others understand, read, and vet the writing they perform. Recently, it has been increasingly difficult for authors to make contributions to articles, so we have decided to have writers begin expanding the itinerary section of Wikitravel. Like the contributions in other areas, some writers are more successful than others. For example, what appears to me a stronger contribution. One example, of what some within the Wikitravel community might perceive of as a less succssful contribution.
While I sense some frustration from the community that students are contributing as an assignment, I would argue that such contributions are at the very heart of what makes up the economies surrounding wikis. In principle, anyone can contribute and that is what makes these spaces so wonderful and special. We value the open economy and approach to information, and we hope to expose students to authoring in these environments. We expect and understand that there will be dissatisfaction when new-users fail to appropriately address the requirements/expectations of what counts as a "good" contribution. Yet, at the same time, this is part of learning the genre/environment, and we hope that we foster writers who will mature to be productive contributors to this wiki.
Still, one aspect of this debate (specifically found on this page), surrounds what constitutes/should constitute an itinerary in Wikitravel. In other words, the discussion in some ways surrounds what elements surround the genre. From a rhetorical perspective, genre is a slippery concept/entity. It is both a container and a set of embodied, evolving relationships that writers enact as they perceived what information should fit within a specific container. This is why it seems there is difficulty saying what types of itineraries should be done away with, as well as which types should be perserved. I concur that when contributions are less developed, such additions should be moved/deleted/cleaned up. However, I would suggest that perhaps allowing for multiple understandings of what itinerary might mean could be a productive and useful stance for this community. Specifically, there is debate on the talk page about the contributions that have been made the to the Fenway by Foot itinerary. In concept, I think that this could be a strong notion of itinerary--in practice, I understand that perhaps there is too fine-grained a view of this place, and perhaps the development of the "path" through the place could be refined and expanded upon. But, to merely state that no itineraries should exist on a single location seems, in my view, to reify a significant potential number of what could be creative and useful additions to this page. Just as some of the itineraries are tailored with a temporal focus (four days in X) and some have a specific slant for a specific audience (three days in X with children), does not mean that such contributions are not itineraries but that these writers understand itinerary as a complex genre that can be oriented to focus more attention to 'place', temporarily, or audience. Those are the question that reside at the heart of these disagreements: Should Wikitravel's understanding of itinerary emphasize only one of these potential ways of organizing information within the "container" that makes up the data that resides in these itineraries? Perhaps, they should, but each choice will certainly have consequences on for how information is then framed here, and those decisions will reflect assumptions the community at large has about the ways in which they understand place and travels through it. I for one, as a frequent user of this site, value the multiple ways of constructing a way through these places, and would argue for an inclusive view of itinerary as is possible. Why not? Perhaps even consider organizing itineraries differently? Itineraries for specific audiences (parents/families; (non)-drinkers; (non)drivers; bike riders) might be one way of listing/subordinating a growing list of itineraries and it might be a way of attracting more users to the site. Ultimately what good is a text if it doesn't provide information that audiences use and might find useful? And, given the myriad ways that people differ, how can we make assumptions that all audiences will value the same type of information. In think some of the disruption/debate here is useful and good in that regard--it enables and demonstrates the type of complex ways that "we" think about what this Wiki should be. And, what types of values surround who contributes and how they contribute.
That is why it's difficult to say, hard and fast, which type of itinerary should stay and which should go. The best itineraries, however, will provide some information that a real audience would benefit from reading. And, granted some of that information might be better placed in article pages, themselves. I, thank you all for you consideration of these ideas, and for the patience you extend to the students who visit and write here. Some, I know, become regular contributors to this and other wikis, and often this class is their entry into the participatory web.
Tim
Hi Tim. This conversation is veering a bit off course, in dealing with how best to have classes contribute, rather than the question at hand of what exactly we mean by (i.e., are looking for in the term) "itinerary." The problem with the "X period in Y destination" articles is that they are not travel guides—they are essentially essays, and that is something Wikitravel is not for. (We were working on a branch of Wikitravel, Wikitravel Extra [5], which would have been better suited for this, but that has fallen by the wayside.) It is awesome to have students participating here, but it might be useful for the assignment to go back to basics (check out Wikitravel:Ways to help Wikitravel), and to understand that the nature of this site is not conducive to each student creating their own article for grading. Also, try soliciting feedback in the pub from other users as to how to best get your students contributing—I'm sure people would have good suggestions, which would help decrease the likelihood of, say, your students articles getting outright deleted for straying from the scope of our goals and policies.
Back to the policy change suggested here, though, I'd just like to voice my support once more for Ryan's new wording. I do plan travel itineraries professionally, and could write a great "Two days in D.C." article, but the whole point of such work is to tailor it for a specific person/group. Written to the anonymous online mass, these are too tightly prescriptive to be useful, and potentially distract from what our site is about. --Peter Talk 22:25, 2 April 2012 (EDT)
(Re-indenting) Peter said most of what I would have responded with, but to reiterate, having students contribute here is a great thing, although asking them to each create a brand new article on a site that already covers 26,000 destinations is problematic. As Peter noted, a conversation in the Pub about how best to model a student assignment would be very welcome. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:41, 2 April 2012 (EDT)
If I'm reading the above discussion we seem to have consensus for a change. Are there any further comments on the following proposed text?
An itinerary article should be a guide for traveling along a specific route and not merely a suggested sightseeing schedule. Examples of good itinerary subjects are Route 66 (a historical path traveled by thousands each year) or The Wire Tour (a guide for visiting filming locations for a television show). Invalid itinerary topics would include One week in Sydney or Two months in Eastern Europe; information that would be included in such itineraries should instead be added to to the appropriate city or region articles.
Two questions that can help determine whether or not a subject is a good candidate for an itinerary article are the following:
  1. Is the itinerary article about a specific route? Travelers can agree on what content would be included in an article such as Appalachian Trail, but it is completely subjective what should be included in articles such as "Ten days in Slovakia" or "A trip through historic sites in the American South".
  2. Should the content in the itinerary article be covered elsewhere on Wikitravel? An article such as "Visiting Boston's museums" would probably just duplicate content that should instead be placed in the main Boston articles.
In general, if there is any question whether a subject is a good itinerary topic or not, start out by first including the information in the appropriate city or region article(s), and ask in the Pub whether a separate itinerary article makes sense.
-- Ryan • (talk) • 00:35, 6 April 2012 (EDT)
I again voice support, this time for the new language, which improves on the previous version.
I will offer one new caveat, though: What happens if all the non-conforming itineraries are simply redefined as travel topics, without further editing? In other words, don't we have to anticipate a problem with the remaining loophole? Ikan Kekek 01:59, 6 April 2012 (EDT)
Hopefully this discussion at least sets a precedent that any "X in Y time period" article is not a travel topic, but the definition of what *is* a travel topic could probably use further clarification. I think we'll probably also need to consider either grandfathering or re-working a small percentage of the existing itinerary articles - for example, it would be a shame to tag a great article like Three days in Singapore for merging, but at the same time I'd hate to have that article be used as justification for why more "X in Y days" articles should be allowed. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:57, 6 April 2012 (EDT)
Being the lame person that I am, I would like to make the simple request that the examples include geographical diversity. For example, if we use the Appalachian Trail, then change the "A trip through the historic sites in the American South" to "Cultural Tour of West Africa", "Best of Bhutan", or whatever, and then also change the museum example to some other city with a lot of museums (Beijing, Cairo, Athens, Mexico City, etc. ChubbyWimbus 11:24, 8 April 2012 (EDT)

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