Gone are the days of toting four guidebooks, weighing down your backpack, making yourself loathe those in-between hostel days, those days that make your back ache and muscles strain under an all too heavy load.
Yelp and TripAdvisor both use reviews, written by patrons, incorporating rating systems, between one and five stars, letting potential new clients determine whether “to go or not to go.” TripAdvisor allows travelers to write reviews and is especially useful for finding hotels, tours, and attractions. Yelp, more extensively used in North America, is essentially the same concept, and is particularly helpful in discovering the best restaurants, coffeehouses, and beauty salons, among other businesses.
I’ve relied on Yelp to find where to get my eyebrows threaded, what to order at a restaurant, and where to find a cappuccino identical to those I drink in Italy. At the store where my family sells the best tortillas in the world, many people have wandered through the doors because the store is the only place in all of Bakersfield to find Vegan food (and like yelp says, the wraps are amazing).
Emily and I relied extensively on TripAdvisor during our Escapades in Europe. When in Croatia, it advised us to make, what was an unscheduled stop in Zadar, to take a look at The Sea Organ, saying it was “a NOT to miss experience.” True that. The Sea Organ turned out to be our absolute favorite, so much so, that we skipped Split and added another day to enjoy Zadar’s other beautiful points.
In our current world of real-time, when book information is out of date before it is even written, and news is old prior to being pressed to ink and paper, Yelp and TripAdvisor have power, but how accurate is the information gleaned from these websites and others like them? Can the information be trusted?
I recently read an article discussing the lows of TripAdvisor and how the ratings can be skewed because companies may hire fake reviewers or write reviews that trash the competition. Generally, the Yelp guidance I’ve received is spot on, but just this past Monday, my experience was far below the stated 4.5 star ratings listed for a particular coffee shop. I couldn’t suppress my laughter, when the Belgian Waffle placed in front of me was actually three Eggo Waffles drizzled with chocolate syrup and dusted with powdered sugar. Really?! So, who on Yelp was smoking crack when they said this place had amazing food?! Yes, the service was friendly, the soy cappuccino good enough, but I didn’t pay $5.50 for someone to pop Leggo My Eggo in the nearest toaster…
Oh wait…I did. Wah Wah. Sucka. Just another testimony to “be careful who you trust.”
If you do use Yelp or TripAdvisor, I’m not suggesting that you stop, I’m only suggesting that you use it as part of a slew of travel tools, which also should include recommendation from friends and other travel websites.
Here is my advice on how to make the most out of Yelp and TripAdvisor and use it to its full capacity.
From my experience, here are a few places, businesses, or attractions with reviews that you can trust on Yelp and TripAdvisor.
Curious. Bubbly. Creative. Curating a life I don't need an escape from and inspiring you to do the same.