Traveling Smart

If you travel, it’s wise to do it smartly. This means knowing tips and secrets that others don’t, which give you a better trip. Advantages may include better prices, less crowded locations, exceptional restaurants, interesting tours, and hotels that you like. You also want to avoid certain things like areas with high crime, unclean hotels, or places that are overly touristy. Safety is also an important concern.

Online Research

Start with online research. Popular sites like Tripadvisor and Yelp are good, however the large volume of reviews can be time consuming to search through, and hard to decide what is true. Go off the beaten path of the Internet and find niche sites that focus on the type of trip you’re taking. Look at sites devoted to secrets and tips such as TouristSecrets. Search Reddit for comments on particular destinations you’re looking at, including specific hotels and tours.

Travel Agents

Travel agents can be a great source, because they do this for a living. If you book through them, they have a vested interest in you having a good trip, as it means repeat business and referrals. However be sure your travel agent is ethical and honest, and interesting in finding a trip that meets your objectives, rather than what makes them the most money.

Friends and Family

This can be a great source, ask around. You may be surprised to find someone you know has already been to where you want to go, and can recommend a little known place to go. They may know a little hole in the wall restaurant or even a food truck that was fabulous.

Reach Out

Reach out to places you’re thinking of going to if you have questions that are important. For example, if it’s important that your hotel room have a refrigerator, air conditioner, etc., why not call or write the hotel and ask? Do you need a hotel that is quiet? Call and ask.

The same goes for tours- do you wonder how long a bus ride to get to the location will take, if it’s bumpy, or if the bus has a bathroom? Contact the company and ask. If you cannot get an answer, then it may be unwise to do business with them.

What Not to Do

The worse thing to do is make your decision based upon advertisements or specials. These can be very misleading. Photos of hotels are usually carefully done to show only the best part of the hotel. It’s easy to see real photos of the hotel online by customers who have been there, from various websites.

Take your time and do your research, to ensure you have a great vacation tour!