As the days get longer and warmer, many of us will start thinking about our next holiday, whether in the UK or further afield. And the first port of call is often the TripAdvisor website, which offers more than 125 million reviews and opinions.
You’ll find user comments on places to stay, restaurants and attractions worldwide, as well as many other features such as real-time price comparisons.
Here we share our 5 top tips for finding the most reliable reviews and how to get the most from TripAdvisor in general.
It’s best to use TripAdvisor’s content – mostly provided by members of the public – alongside other research sources. As part of your search for the best hotels to stay in, see the results of our own UK hotel chain survey.
1 Find holiday ideas
If you haven’t yet decided where to go, the ‘Holiday ideas’ page offers suggestions by theme, such as ‘History & Culture’, and by world regions (hover over the ‘More’ tab near the top of the screen).
Click on the ‘Best of 2014’ tab to see which UK or worldwide places have won ‘Travellers’ Choice’ awards. These are given to destinations and businesses with a high number of positive ratings and recent reviews.
‘Traveller articles’, which anyone can write and edit, can give a deeper insight into your chosen destination.
2 Get useful TripAdvisor results
Look for Certificates of Excellence. These are awarded to places that consistently get good reviews and ratings. Don’t assume a hotel or attraction is right for you because ratings are high – read the reviews too.
Prioritise recent reviews which are more likely to give a realistic picture of what the business is currently like. With hotel reviews, click on ‘Room tips’ – suggestions of which rooms to plump for. Use the map to check if a hotel is conveniently located.
3 Find reliable reviews
Look for places with a high number of reviews and balanced comments and contributors who have earned badges for writing several reviews or have gained many ‘helpful votes’ from others.
Check the writer’s profile and other posts to discern what types of holiday they like. If they give strong views, you can see whether they’re a serial moaner or always picky about one issue, such as noisy rooms. For instance, expectations over room size may vary depending on their nationality.
Connect your TripAdvisor account with Facebook to see what your friends have been reviewing.
Be wary of:
• extremely positive or negative reviews
• glowing reviews that read like an advert
• reviewers who sound overly familiar with the business, or who have only ever posted one review
• properties ranked very highly but with very few reviews
4 Check prices and compare
Once you’ve registered for free, setting up some email alerts found under ‘Your TripAdvisor’ could save you money. You can receive regular updates for air fares on chosen routes, plus weekly reviews and deals on chosen destinations and accommodation.
5 Use the TripAdvisor app
To see reviews while you’re on holiday, consider downloading one of the two TripAdvisor applications for free to a smartphone or tablet.
The main app is very similar to what’s on the website. Special features include ‘Near me now’ and ‘Point me there’ to find recommendations in your area and navigate to them with GPS.
Get the offline ‘City Guides’ app to avoid roaming charges while you’re abroad. Download one of the 80 worldwide guides, and then even when you’re not online, you can still navigate to properties if GPS is activated. They often include itinerary ideas and transport maps.
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