My Advice? Avoid Tripadvisor

London, Observatory

How much do you need to know about where you’re going? Obviously some ground information is good, but when I started using Tripadvisor, I realised I was entering a world of very nitpicky people. Attempting to destroy the reputation of a hotel because you didn’t like the colour of the bathroom is a little loopy. Warning bells went off when I read; ‘I can’t believe the taxis were so hard to find. I have no trouble finding them in New York.’ This was from some idiot on a small Greek island.

Then there’s the rating of hotels. To be fair, other people’s tastes are not my own but even so, it’s a bit weird travelling a thousand miles and complaining about the restaurant’s napkins. Ratings seem suspiciously weighted by friends or employees, so that the best places to eat are rated lower than terrible cafes full of cruise-ship tourists.

(The idea of being on a cruise ship or Floating Council Block fills me with horror. Getting off to tromp through a village and be fed cattle-style in a barn-like restaurant with a special area set aside for cruise ships makes me think of them as concentration camps with marginally better food.)

On holiday, the lure of the familiar is balanced by the thrill of discovery, and the thought of always knowing what to expect is robbing us of the pleasure of finding things out for ourselves. And it’s not just on holiday but in museums, the theatre, art galleries – at least the internet can’t tell you the outcome of a sports match yet.

My advice? Use Wikitravel – it’s a great site for giving you just the right amount of information. I read it, then close the laptop.

4 comments on “My Advice? Avoid Tripadvisor”

  1. Martha says:

    I’ve never liked TripAdvisor – for same the reasons you give. I’m going to Stockholm next month and will have a look at Wikitravel. Thank you.

  2. RobertR says:

    My deepset worry with Tripadvisor arrived when I read a poor review of a wonderful NY hotel – “because the lifts weren’t fast enough”.

    Plus the curious quality of other people’s holiday snaps as a way of judging if the hotel id any good – pictures of damp plaster due to showers, not exactly thrilling.

  3. Alan says:

    Chris – loved the cruise-ship comments. Our Honeymoon was in Turkey – Kusadasi. Very popular, very touristy but all I could afford at the time. But ’twas funny in a nasty sort of way to see the ships disgorge all these people looking for a snap-shot of Turkey. Nasty because my wife and I had taken a course in Turkish so we could at least be polite – and it was rather nice to see the shippers paying on average three times as much for the same meal.

  4. Cid says:

    My missus has a habit of looking at the bad reviews of a hotel and ruling it out because of a handful of ‘loopy’ comments, disregarding the many more positive comments about a place.

    Mind you, she is barking.

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