TripAdvisor is the bee’s knees of travel websites. I am hooked, so much so that the thought of using Yelp makes me distraught. Here are my 5 tips to make TripAdvisor an irreplaceable part of your life:
1. Read the bad reviews
There is no quicker way to learn a hotel’s shortcomings. Of course, some people suck and give unjustified reviews but look past that. Rick Steves warns about reading online reviews, he is wrong. Use bad reviews to set reasonable expectations. Bad reviews are normal, don’t freak out, just know before you go. Select Terrible to see only 1-star reviews.
2. Search the travel forums
You will find that 9 out of every 10 questions about a destination has already been answered on TripAdvisor. What’s the best way to reach Disneyland from John Wayne Airport? Well, that question has been answered over 2,000 times. Getting no results for your question? Ask the forum.
3. View visitor photos
By default, professional photos are displayed first when viewing a hotel or restaurant. Click the visitor photos link to see what fellow travelers have uploaded. While you shouldn’t expect Ansel Adams quality visitor photos, I find these photos to be the most important on the page.
4. The save feature
Utilize the save feature to collect pre-trip intelligence. If the restaurant I’ve chosen in France is unexpectedly closed, I go to my Saved list for a quick backup restaurant. I also seem to remember restaurants I’ve committed to save better, whereas not saving could mean that restaurants become a tangled mess in my mind.
5. Point Me There
Did you know there is a compass navigation feature in the TripAdvisor app? Instead of using Google Maps for walking directions, try the Point Me There feature. It is much easier to understand when walking to a restaurant from your hotel.