Showing posts with label Trip Planning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trip Planning. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Travel Tip Tuesday: The Importance of 'Trip Advisors'

A few years ago a travel agent friend of my mine – after reading one of my posts -- simply screeched, “How COULD you recommend people read TripAdvisor?!?!  That is nothing but people’s opinions!”

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Alderbrook Resort and Spa proudly displays its TripAdvisor rating 
No, I thought, it is travelers opinions – many of them so current they’ve been posted within days of their stay and our research.

With TripAdvisor, however, the key phrase is ADVISOR. We use the site to help us make a decision; it doesn’t make the decision for us.

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Hotel Electra Palace - Athens   The pool, our room and our balcony were stellar!

Take the Athen’s Hotel Electra Palace where we spent our last night in Greece, for example.  We booked it while on the road, just a few days before our arrival because of the great -- for a big city – rate of $204USD.

But we didn’t book until we’d checked maps to make sure of its location and TripAdvisor. (We found a 1,000+ reviews of which more than half were ‘excellent’ and another 300+ were ‘very good’.). And those contributing ‘Trip Advisors’ didn’t steer us wrong! We will definitely stay there again.

In the last few years we’ve noted not only a growing reliance by fellow travelers on the website, but a similar reliance by restaurants and guest accommodations on all user-review sites, such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google Reviews

Have you seen the “Find us on TripAdvisor” or “If you liked (your stay, your meal) please write about your experience on TripAdvisor,” notices as you’ve traveled? Stickers on doors and windows, certificates on display?

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The growing importance of web sites was illustrated well at this restaurant in Heraklion, Crete.  While it was eye-catching and made us laugh. . .we didn’t eat there because we had another favorite place just down the street.
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Sfakia2Amster2013 260Another restaurant outside Plakias, on Crete’s southern coast, also boasted of its Trip Advisor recommendations, but we’d decided to eat there long before we noticed this sign.

(You can probably tell by the looks of this vegetarian meze plate why we chose to eat there!)

When planning a trip what resources to you use? Have a favorite 'go to' source you want to recommend? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Monday Meanderings: Daydreams,Details, Discoveries

“You love travel don’t you?!” a friend observed over coffee last week. 

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Normally, that’s a pretty good observation, but on this particular day my life was segmented into “Must Do”, “Must Finish”, “Must not forget. . .”  and I wouldn't say I felt real smitten with travel.

Travelers know it well.  It’s that time prior to a trip when the mental list whirls around in your head and seems to grow longer, rather than shorter when put to paper.  It is the Details phase of travel. Not our favorite part.


We have spent a leisurely summer at home, devoting hours to planning and pondering, researching and reading about possible fall destinations.  This early phase is one we consider nearly as good as the trip itself: daydreaming about the next potential discoveries.

007We let our imaginations soar as we pondered the possibilities on our tiny “Mediterranean” upstairs deck (pictured above). If we can't live in the Mediterranean, we've surrounded ourselves with living reminders of travels in that area: my fledgling  fig tree (Spain), olive tree and geraniums (Greece) and basil (Italy). . . the lavender plants (France) are in our garden. It was difficult back in August when Lake Washington shimmered in the afternoon sun to imagine how quickly we’d be putting autumn details to those summer daydreams. 

With our fall compass pointing finally toward Italy, our reading – both fact and fiction – became focused.   We found some great reads, by the way, and you can see them on the Amazon Carousel on the right hand side of our home page.

washington wednesdays 005 As summer has turned to fall, our daydreams have given way to  details, like: 1. Do we have confirmations from every place we are heading? 2. Maps – the paper kind -  gathered?   3. Clothes  (do we still fit our travel clothes?) 4. Are house-sitters and security confirmed? 5.Prescriptions refilled? 6. Have we put on the list everything we need to do to prepare for the trip?

My friend knows me well. We do love travel.  As we move from the daydream to details to discovery phase – we often observe that travel is a stimulant that makes us feel more alive.

I suspect if you are reading this blog, you also love travel. Are you in the dreaming, detail or discovery phase of a trip right now? 


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