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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Wikitravel:Naming conventions article)

From Wikitravel

There are lots of places in the world, with lots of names in lots of languages. The following conventions are intended to make it easier to decide how to name articles, and how to read and find things in Wikitravel. Most of the following apply to destinations as well as other kinds of articles.

Use English for place names

This version of Wikitravel is in English (but see language versions of Wikitravel), so article names should be in English. If a place doesn't have a name originally in English — and, let's face it, most don't! — the most common English name should be used. This is true even if a more literal transliteration from the place's native language would look or sound different, or if the destination has an alternative "official" name that is not as common in practice.


If there are other names for a destination — especially the name in the local language! — by all means include that information in the article itself. For example, an English-speaking traveller to Lisbon should know that it's called Lisboa in Portuguese; they may be interested that it was called Olisipo by the Romans.

For remote or relatively unknown destinations where there just isn't a commonly-used English name, the title should be the most commonly-used name in the local language. For places where the local language doesn't use the English (or Latin) alphabet, try to form a Romanized version. Note that there are few destinations where someone hasn't made an English version of the name; check official tourist information from the local government, dictionaries, encyclopedias, other guidebooks, or other reference material for suggestions.

The guiding principle here is to make the articles easy to find and read for English-speaking users. Use common sense and consensus to resolve naming conflicts, and remember that the traveller comes first.



Use only the characters of the Latin alphabet for all article names (not just place names). Latin characters are the letters A through Z, capitalized or not, with or without accents/diacritics, and including ligatures (such as æ, Æ). Latin characters are much, much easier for English-speaking readers and contributors to "sound out" or to type (say, for the search tool) than non-Latin characters. If using accents/diacritics and/or ligatures, please also create redirects without (eg. the article named Ærø should have redirects named Aero and Aeroe).

See also: Romanization for language-specific conventions.


The shorter we make our URLs, the easier they are to remember and the more likely people are to pass them around. For place names, the basic name of the place, without a whole bunch of localizing addenda, is the best.

In other words, Denver is all you need to find the city of Denver in Colorado. Avoid using [[Denver, Colorado]] or [[Denver, Colorado, United States of America]]. The place of Denver in the world should be clear from the Denver page, or from the Colorado or even United States of America articles.

If, and only if, two or more places have the same name, and each also needs a separate Wikitravel article, then the article titles should be disambiguated by adding a disambiguator (See below).


Many regions have local names that work well in the Wikitravel hierarchy, such as the Green Mountains or the Ozarks. In other cases the most common name might use a directional indicator, such as Northeast Ohio; in these cases it is important to remember to use the common name and to avoid the temptation to create a region with a name like "Northeast (Ohio)". In this case, someone visiting Ohio is not going to visit Northeast, they will be visiting Northeast Ohio. Exceptions to this rule include such regions as the Midwest (United States of America); the commonly used name really is the Midwest.

Cities, Towns, Villages and other destinations

When deciding on the place name to use, avoid using the legalistic terms such as City of, City, Town of, Township, Village of, Village and similar descriptions, unless City, Town, Village, etc. is normally used as part of the place name.

A good test is to ask if you would still be discussing the same place if the extra term was omitted from the placename.


An exception to excluding hierarchy from article names is districts in a city. These have names of the form "Name of city/Name of district". Examples:

Keep district names short; in particular, don't repeat the name of the city. Los Angeles/East is as clear as and much shorter than "Los Angeles/East Los Angeles".


Sometimes different places have the same name, and require disambiguation. In most cases this is easy to solve, using one of the first two rules here. In a few cases, rule 3 or 4 comes into play.

  1. If two places are on the same level of the geographical hierarchy (e.g. both are cities), put the country of each in parentheses after their names. Example: St. Petersburg (Russia). In certain countries, a more precise level of disambiguation is necessary or more natural, such as:
  2. If two places are on different levels in the geographical hierarchy, put the name of each geographical level in parentheses. Examples: Georgia (state) and Georgia (country); New York (city) and New York (state). Note that in the US, counties are known as "X County" and shouldn't require this kind of disambiguation from cities of the same name.
  3. In a few extremely rare cases it won't be possible to disambiguate places only using these two rules. If and only if this happens, use both the name of the geographical level and the name of the country/state/province. Example: The cities of Albany (New York) and Albany (Georgia) can be disambiguated by rule number 1. But there is both a region and a city called Albany in Western Australia. Hence Albany (region, Western Australia) and Albany (city, Western Australia), since the latter is not the only Albany (city) (rule number 2) nor the only Albany (Western Australia) (rule number 1).
  4. As an exception, if one place is so much more famous than others with the same name that the disambiguation is a hindrance rather than a help, leave it without a disambiguator on the end. This is rare, and if you even have to think about which place is "more famous", go back to rule 1. Examples: Paris is the capital of France; Paris (Texas) is a nice little prairie town in the US. Los Angeles is the megalopolis in southern California; Los Angeles (Chile) is a mid-sized town south of Santiago. Peru is the country in South America; Peru (Indiana) is a town in the Midwest of the United States.
    • When a place meets the "so much more famous" criteria, that non-disambiguated article should include the template {{otheruses}} at the top of the page, which will automatically provide a link to a disambiguation page for the others. For example: Paris uses {{otheruses}} to automatically create a link to Paris (disambiguation).
    • Provinces and prefectures surrounding important cities of the same name are common examples of the "so much more famous" rule. When a city X and its surrounding region share the exact same name, and the city is much better known, the city gets "X" and the province goes in "X (province)". Examples: Buenos Aires and Buenos Aires (province), Hiroshima and Hiroshima (prefecture), Utrecht and Utrecht (province).

If there are 3 or more places with the same name, use rule 1 first (for places on the same level of hierarchy) before using rule 2 (for places on a different level of hierarchy).

You can use a single vertical-bar "pipe" character to hide disambiguators in the text of an article. For example, type [[Georgia (state)|]] and it will be automatically expanded to [[Georgia (state)|Georgia]], and appear in articles as simply Georgia.

When two places share the same name a disambiguation page should be created, and added to Wikitravel:Links to disambiguating pages. The name of this page should usually be the common name, for example Georgia. If one place meets the "so much more famous" exception, the disambiguation page should be named "X (disambiguation)" where "X" is the common name. Example: Buenos Aires (disambiguation). Links in other articles that point to the disambiguation page should be updated to point to the appropriate disambiguated page.

See Wikitravel:How to rename a page for details on how to disambiguate an existing topic.


Most place names are capitalized in English. Short words like "of", "and", and "the" usually are not. So United States of America is the preferred capitalization.

For articles that aren't place names, capitalize the first word, and then don't capitalize things that don't need to be capitalized. For example, Discount airlines in Europe rather than "Discount Airlines In Europe", and Manual of style rather than "Manual of Style".


If a destination name normally starts with the word "the", leave it off for the article name.


Exception: The Hague, where "The" is a fixed part of the name.


Places called Saint or Mount something or other often have the name abbreviated as St. or Mt. something or other or even St or Mt something or other. To avoid confusion and multiple articles, the abbreviation should be avoided and the words spelled out in full, unless the official placename spelling uses the abbreviation.

Also avoid contractions like Turks & Caicos Islands but spell the conjuction too, so the article is named Turks and Caicos Islands.

Separating words

Separate words with a single space character rather than apostrophes, dashes or hyphens, unless the place name is normally spelled that way.


Spell numbers out, unless they are actually part of the name. For example, use Eight mile junction instead of 8 mile junction as the number is spelled out on signs, though Route 66 or Highway 2 should be used if the names are normally displayed that way or if the number is routinely displayed on its own.

Non-alphabetic characters

Try to avoid using non-alphabetic characters, even when they are actually part of the name. The following characters should be avoided if possible.

  • & - Ampersand: Used in web page address to indicate the parameters of a query string.
  • : - Colon: Separates the wiki article namespace from an article name. Should only use with valid name spaces.
  • # - Hash or Pound mark: Used in web page address to indicate a section.
  • . - Period: Used in web page address to separate domain names.
  • ? - Question mark: Used in web page address to indicate the start of a query string.
  • ' - Single Quote: Used in HTML to enclose strings. May cause page errors.
  • / - Slash: Separates a major page from a sub page.

These and other special characters in article names may produce unexpected results. You could find the article to be unaddressable, unable to be moved easily or pages that link to the article may produce errors.

For example:

  • Moving an article with & instead of and in the title is difficult. Coteaus & Plains should be called Coteaus and Plains. But if you try to move the page you will move the Coteaus_ article instead because the & cuts the page name short. To move this article you need to move Coteaus_%26_Plains because %26 is the UTF-8 character code for &.
  • Do not title an article * of the Sea when the place is called Star of the Sea. Even when a special character normally appears in the name, thus When to call *555 in New Zealand cannot be linked even though it would be a better than When to call star triple five in New Zealand or When to call star 555 in New Zealand, as the telephone number is written as *555.
  • Of course #browns should never be used at the title of an article about Hash browns, as # is used to link to a section heading on a page. In this case the link goes to the Browns section on the page, which doesn't exist.

Section headings

Section headings in articles should follow most of the same formatting conventions as article titles. Section headings should usually come from the appropriate article template for a destination.

  • Wikitravel:Foreign words


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