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'''External links''' -- links to other Web sites besides Wikitravel -- should be incorporated into the text of articles if at all possible. If not, include a list of links at the end of the article, but before the "See also" if it exists. The Wiki markup would be:
'''External links''' -- links to other Web sites besides Wikitravel -- should be incorporated into the text of articles.  
==External links==
==What to link to==
==What to link to==

Revision as of 15:04, 8 December 2005

External links -- links to other Web sites besides Wikitravel -- should be incorporated into the text of articles.

What to link to

External links should point to primary sources. For example:

  • Official tourist offices for a destination
  • Official government Web sites
  • 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 site of the community news paper published in or about the area, but not individual articles about a place.

What not to link to

Avoid linking to secondary sources. For example, avoid using links to:

  • Newspaper, magazine, or blog articles
  • Reviews in restaurant guides
  • Hotel booking services
  • Restaurant guides
  • Nightlife guides
  • Personal travelogues
  • Personal image galleries
  • Search engine results ( )
  • Map services

In particular, avoid links to other travel guides. We should have travel information in Wikitravel, not linked to 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.

What's primary and what's secondary depends on the subject at hand. If you're discussing newspapers in Cleveland, then a link to the Cleveland Plain Dealer is a primary source. But on the destination guide for Puerto Rico, a link to a recent article about Puerto Rico in the Cleveland Plain Dealer is a secondary source.

Some restaurant guides let the restaurants maintain a "home page". In such cases links to a specific restaurant on a restaurant guide can be considered a primary source.

Using only 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, but it's quite easy for everyone to agree that is the official city visitor's guide.

How to format links

When formatting links be aware that link URLs in a printed version of Wikitravel may appear in the text enclosed in parenthesis immediately after the formatted link. In some cases, such as linked words in text this is appropriate. However, in listings, the website URL should appear in the address information, not immediately after the listing title, so listings need to be formatted differently.

There are three basic formats for "external" links:

  • [http:// front-linked] - cannot be used in listings
  • end-linked [http://] - must be used in listings
  • unpacked http:// - used for raw URL's to websites

Links in listings

When listing specific attractions, restaurants, bars, and accommodations, the link must go after the contact information, before the description - for example:

  • Asian Civilisations Museum at Empress Place, 1 Empress Place, tel. +66 63327798, [1]. One of Singapore's newest, largest and best-presented museums. As the name hints, all of Asia is covered in the scope, although naturally there is an emphasis on the cultures near and in Singapore. Open 9 AM to 7 PM daily. Admission $5, free Friday evenings 6-9 PM.
  • Singapore History Museum [2]. Closed for renovations until 2006.

The name of the attraction must not be hyperlinked, because this looks bad if the list is printed (the URL pushes back more important info like the address) and also looks strange if not all attractions have homepages.

The nitty-gritty details of formatting location listings can be found in the following pages:

Links outside of listings

For external links in text outside of listings, such as transportation companies mentioned in "Get around", the name should be linked - for example:

All of Kuala Lumpur's jet flights, domestic and international, arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA, IATA code KUL) ...

Use boldface to call out important topics: don't use boldface for every link.

Use short readable links

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 redirects automatically to a home page like, use the shorter version, even though it's "really" going to the long version. Similarly, if has a "splash screen" which eventually takes you to or something, leave the top-level link in, even though the "real information" is located elsewhere.

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 to, since that top-level page probably doesn't have the same dance information.

English-language sites

This version of Wikitravel is for English-language speakers (but see language versions of Wikitravel). With few exceptions, it's preferable to include only links to English-language sites or pages. Sites don't have to be exclusively in English, but they should provide some English-language information that will be valuable to the traveller.

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 URI, such as:, use that URL
  • Some sites have a mail page in a non-English language with a suspicious link to an English page, such as This might not be a permanent link, so it is better to use the URI of the main page and let Wikitravel users find the link to the English version.

Unpack links

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.

Open Directory Project

Links to Open Directory should generally not be included in the "External links" section. We have a special format that features links to the Open Directory Project in a special part of the page.


Links to Wikipedia should generally not be included in the "External links" section. We have a special format that features links to Wikipedia in a special part of the page.