You’re going to have to spend a lot of time searching for things on the Internet. Of course you can use our good friend Google. You may wish to use DuckDuckGo instead. If only because it doesn’t capture any information about you. But as far as I’m concerned. If you’re looking at hotels and tourist sites, you’re not giving away anything secret. Unless you’re slightly concerned about having someone somewhere know when you’re going to be traveling. 

You will soon develop some skill in being specific–but not too specific–with your searches. You will soon realize when there are multiple streets or cities or towns with the same name. You’ll soon realize that most search engines will somehow listen to a request in context. If you’re in Philadelphia and you ask for something, they’re going to first look at sites that are somewhere near Philadelphia. Unique names, however, might jump you all over the world. 

If you’re looking for something particular at the time, you can often make your search more efficient by including something to narrow it down; like”hours”  for the opening time (or “orario” in Italian, or whatever). Saves you one step.  

Recent pages only

One of the useful tools in Google is found just below the search bar. It’s the tools button, often at the right end of the bar, just below the search. Underneath it there are two options. “Any time” will show you choices about how far back in time to limit the search. In a lot of cases, for travel, especially for restaurants, you want reasonably recent websites to be favored over those that are older. A bad review, maybe for a restaurant that has new owners and is completely renovated. For example. 

Limit languages?

The button next to it, “Settings,” includes a Languages option. You could limit the results to English-language, but from my experience you may miss places that have no English version of their site. 

Speaking of countries whose main language is not English … Some websites are known to search engines under the name in their native language.So you’ll soon learn that the church of St. Ambrose and St. Charles in Rome is in there as San Carlo. But that’s a well-known saint, you’ll have to look for “san carlo al corso” (the street it’s on). Oops, there’s one of those in Milan, too! You’ll get used to it. 

See the Languages page for how to deal with sites that aren’t in English. 

Search tips

  • if you look the place up on Google Maps and can’t find it; usually this is because it’s listed with a weird form of its name. Just look for the address, and the map will show you what is obviously the place.
  • When you’ve found a place, find its address from the place’s own website and/or Google Maps. Be sure to copy-paste the address into your plans.  If you’re in a country with a different alphabet, copy that version too so that, in a pinch, you can show it to people. 
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