Back in the olden days (circa 2008), travel used to require a Lonely Planet, a detailed itinerary and a packed tour bus. You might have jumped online once a week to let your family know you’re still alive, but other than that, you had to rely on your trusty guidebook to get you from point A to point B. It was great at the time, but thankfully the travel world has moved on to something bigger and better. Now, all you need to see the world is a sense of adventure and an internet connection.

Back in the olden days (circa 2008), travel used to require a Lonely Planet, a detailed itinerary and a packed tour bus. You might have jumped online once a week to let your family know you’re still alive, but other than that, you had to rely on your trusty guidebook to get you from point A to point B. It was great at the time, but thankfully the travel world has moved on to something bigger and better. Now, all you need to see the world is a sense of adventure and an internet connection.

Welcome to the world of social travel. As this infographic from Wimdu shows, social travel is about word-of-mouth recommendations, on-the-fly research and getting more bang for your buck. It’s about engaging with locals, speaking their language and experiencing what a destination is really, truly like. And with over $200 million invested in social travel websites in 2011 alone, there’s really no reason why you can’t take advantage of the social boom.

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