Most often turn to TripAdvisor for the wealth of reviews you can easily look up so you feel more confident of where you want to stay, what you want to eat, see or do when you’re on a trip. Aside from researching your options, making reservations and bookings are a lot easier now and something you can do directly on the site or through its mobile app.
But how many of us truly know how to travel like a pro?
Here are some hacks so you can use TripAdvisor to feel like a Jedi traveller – read on and go forth to conquer new destinations. It is your destiny.
1. Try an airline you’ve not flown with before, recommended by millions
All travellers have a favourite carrier they like to fly with but the reality is that, more often than not, flights are either unavailable or don’t meet your budget. Consult TripAdvisor’s Airline Reviews for a well-rated alternative that millions of others endorse. You can look through traveller photos, reviews and tips to see what you’d be willing to go for at the right price so you can be confident of the experience you will get at 30,000 feet.
2. Consider your base and what’s around it
When setting out to plan your dream getaway, there is often a list of must-see’s and must-do’s on your mind. Consider where you’ll anchor yourself during this time so you can be at the heart of it all – you can do this by exploring hotels by proximity to interesting landmarks, popular neighbourhoods or transport networks, saving on transport fares and making better use of your precious holiday time. For social travellers who seek to forge new friendships, B&Bs and specialty lodgings can offer significant value and charm, with common areas and cocktail hours to meet and mingle with like-minded travellers.
3. Consider making your stay more unique with a holiday rental
Sometimes, your travel itinerary may call for an alternative accommodation option – Are you looking for large communal spaces to share with your group, for example, like a lounge, private pool or barbeque facilities etc.? Choose from hundreds of thousands of interesting holiday rentals on TripAdvisor that can take the form of a gorgeous waterfront homestay, villa or mansion. Travel like a king and book a stay in a castle, or give yourself a bit of freedom by booking a stay in the ultimate ‘man cave’ home or even a private island for the day. Holiday rentals are also perfect if you’re travelling in large groups and are looking for living spaces to lounge around with loved ones and friends.
4. Ask the experts online for the ins and outs of where you’re going
The TripAdvisor forum is a gold mine for local and frequent traveller advice and can be used for genuine real-time advice either before you travel or when you’re already in a destination.The site’s Destination Experts (who can be identified by a badge) are a zealous bunch who are only too happy to share their knowledge of the destinations they are passionate about – you can ask them questions via the forum and they will come back with personal insights and recommendations. Perhaps good to note that they are enthusiastic volunteers who aren’t hired by TripAdvisor, so you’ll need to let them get back to you in their own time.
5. Covet the travel experiences of the cronies on your social network
Look to your friends for travel wisdom and visit the same hotels, attractions and restaurants that they’ve reviewed. There’s nothing like getting free travel advice from those you know well and you can do this by logging into TripAdvisor using your Facebook account for the reviews submitted by your inner circle.
6. Filter reviews to see if a recommendation will suit your needs
Just because someone’s been to where you want to go doesn’t mean it’s going to guarantee a perfect stay for you. The recommended hotel may be fantastic for families but not so great for couples, or amazing for business but not so great for a weekend away with friends. Look at the results that matter to you by filtering the traveller type on the TripAdvisor site. Notice how traveller ratings change according to the traveller type selected.
7. Forgo the fuss, search over 200 sites and book in one place
When planning a trip, how much time have you spent scouring multiple sites and navigating the nightmare of perpetual browser pop-ups for the best hotel prices? You no longer need to do the leg work, TripAdvisor does it for you. TripAdvisor’s PriceFinder not only searches key words that make results more relevant for you, but also combs through prices on over 200 other partner sites to find you the hotel price that you want, saving you the time and hassle. And once you’re ready, it’s easy to make a seamless booking without having to leave the site.
8. Earn your miles for a best value flight
Collecting precious frequent flyer miles for that next upgrade or free flight gets tricky when you’re after the most affordable flight. TripAdvisor’s Flight Search allows you to search for the best value flights by filtering carriers by alliance, so you can still choose to earn miles while stretching your dollar. You can also keep track of the best airfares by signing up for flight alerts.
9. Get an idea of how hotels fare according to season
Be super informed about your booking decision by reading reviews based on when you are travelling. If you’re curious about service standards during peak season at your favourite resort, or concerned about the quality of heating at your chosen Japanese ryokan in the winter, you can filter and read reviews according to time of year to see what travellers have said about their stay during that same period.
10. Have all the advice you need in your pocket at no extra charge
The TripAdvisor mobile app features offline maps that you can download prior to your trip. This is uber useful as you’ll be able to access reviews, photos, maps and travel guides on your device whilst you’re on-the-go and sans additional roaming charges. You can find places of interests nearby and move around using the maps completely without being connected to the internet, navigating the city like a native. For something more personalised, request a travel guide tailored for you by a local. The guide will include landmarks and attractions based on the type of traveller you are, the length of your stay, among other details you’ve provided regarding your trip. E.g. check out this list of recommended travel guides if you are ever in London town.
11. Never feel ‘stuck’ with no idea about what to do
Filling a day with fun activities for everyone can be challenging – you can utilise the attraction category filter on TripAdvisor’s mobile app to find something suitable, whether you’re after an authentic local tour, something to take you away to nature or an activity for the culture vulture. You can even filter these results according to bubble rating to get the best suggestions that will most certainly make you the hero of the trip! You can also directly book these tours and experiences through the app to save yourself the time and fuss. Some online bookings also offer added perks like ‘skip-the-line’ access or access to expert commentary so you feel like a VIP.
12. Let spontaneity be your guide
Not everyone is an expert at travel planning – most of us leave it to the last minute. TripAdvisor’s mobile app helps you navigate like you know the place with its Near Me Now feature – just open up the app and tap the feature to find nearby highly-rated things to do, restaurants to eat at, and if you’ve really been bad at planning your trip, find a hotel nearby you can book instantly on TripAdvisor. Aside from reviews, photos and contact details, you can also view information from Wikipedia, see how near you are in map view and get directions to where you want to go.
13. Feel like a baller and get driven wherever you want
Be it an attraction, hotel, or restaurant, you can use the mobile app to find out how long it would take to get there and also how much it would cost in an Uber. It’s as easy as tapping on the Uber icon within the app and before you know it, you’re being driven to where you want to go. No more stressing about getting lost!
14. Eat like a local even if you can’t speak like one
Whether you’re lost in the city, or lost in translation, there’s no need to panic. If you can’t speak the local language, use the TripAdvisor app to order the food that you want to eat. Just show the wait staff the photo of the dish you’d like to try when they take your order. No more embarrassing attempts to pronounce your dinner or mixing up what you order because you’ve said it wrong.
15. Timeline where you’ve been so you don’t forget
Keep a log of your trip using TripAdvisor’s Travel Timeline feature within the mobile app. Add photos, ratings and reviews to hotels, restaurants, or attractions you visit so you can easily remember what you loved about that hidden gem you found and easily recall what you did on that special trip. Look back on your memories via the timeline view or the map view if you’re more of a visual person.
16. Brag away, you deserve it!
After all that planning and the wonderful trip you had, it’d be a shame to keep it all a secret! Share your reviews and your travel timeline with your friends and family, who may want to take a leaf out of your book and go where you’ve been.