I find online videos to be really helpful in researching destinations. They're a great way to get a sense of what a place is like, whether it's a city, beach, hotel, cruise ship, etc. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a good video is worth millions. There are three resources I'd like to share. I use these all the time and often refer clients to specific videos during the planning stage.
This is an amazing resource - more than 1000 travel videos, all filmed, edited, and narrated by a frequent traveler named Dennis Callan. While most travel videos consist of someone standing in front of the camera talking about a destination, Dennis' videos are just footage of walking around, like you would do if you were there. His narration is added later and is usually interesting and useful. His website is tourvideos.com.
His videos cover almost everywhere in Europe (there must be 100 videos of Italy), as well as some destinations in Asia, South America, and even North America. Here's an example of a video from Vernazza, in Cinque Terre, Italy.
Rick Steves' Europe
Rick Steves' is the author (or co-author) of the best selling guidebooks for most of Europe. His books are geared towards Americans visiting a destination for the first time. He's also hosted a travel show on public television for about 8 years now, and all of his episodes are online.
Rick gives a great introduction to a city, although I think his videos often spend too much time focusing on specific buildings, history, or works of art rather than the destination itself. Still, his videos are a great resource.
One of my favorite tools for researching destinations is good ol' YouTube, where you can find travel videos of virtually every place in the world. Often I'll just search for the destination and pick a couple at random to scroll through. You'll see a little of everything - some are homemade vacation videos, others are commercially produced from travel companies - but after watching a few I can usually get a sense of the place that adds to whatever I may be reading.
If you're researching a trip and the options are overwhelming or confusing, give me a call - helping to plan great trips is what I do every day!