In this day we can research everything on the net, but is it as good as being there?
In my book, A Cruise to Remember, we had taken several cruises. I decided to set a novel on a cruise. I knew about cruises and the ports where we stopped. I included them in the book.
The novel I'm writing is set in New Orleans. I have visited there several times so I know Bourbon street and that area. I don't know the residential areas around the French Quarter so I did have to use the internet to get a better feel for that area.
For my series set in Montana, on a ranch in fictional Duster, I had no experience with ranch life. I've driven through Montana a few times, but that's it. I hit the internet and got some information. Then I posted to a few groups I'm on and asked a questions about running a ranch. People were wonderful and I got lots of information. Hopefully it helped to make the setting more realistic.
So I use both for my settings. I'm more comfortable if I've been to the area, but Wikipedia, the internet and some loops can be very helpful.
What about you? How do you chose a setting? What's important in writing your setting?