For this next section i have chosen to use Paris as an example as i already have an upcoming trip there. I can use my TA diary as a reference to show you how you can use TA to plan your trips.
Paris is a huge place, this will be my first visit and i like to be seriously organised so using TA i can plan , book and organise a trip as well as find out all the locals information on best places to go and eat etc.
Lets take a look at the main ‘Paris’ panel, it’s all laid out pretty similar whichever place, attraction etc you click on. You have a lovely big picture of the Eiffel tower (the most visited attraction in the world) and to the right hand side your page options. You have these options to specifically take you to the ‘Hotels’ page or the ‘Things to do’ page etc. As you can see you have a number next to these options telling you how many of them there are in your area, Paris has 14,622 restaurants and probably more.
The Hotels section is a great way to find out what people really think about hotels and places to stay in your area of choice. Sometimes its better to do a lot of research into where your staying, rather than arrive and wished you had gone elsewhere. If your like me as long as its a warm and reasonably comfy place to stay im happy, It all depends on what you are travelling for. I persona;;y have not book a hotel through TripAdvisor as again it can be cheaper to browse other websites or even the website of the hotel you are looking at. I am trying out AirBnB this November so ill let you know how it goes. You can as always look through reviews, ask questions, look at photos and browse the area like you can with all the other pages on TA. You can also click on the top menu and it gives you a drop down box (as shown above) to help further your search.
You have a section for holiday rentals, these would be a great way to save money if you are travelling in a group as you can hire a whole apartment, a bit like AirBnB. You can review ask question etc the same as every other page too.
You also have a Flights section which guides you through finding flights for your destination. I have never personally used TA to book flights because i usually use a direct company such as EasyJet or British Airways etc to find flights as you have more flexibility. It always pays to have a look around and compare flight prices before booking the ‘easiest’ options.
I have already covered the Things to do section so we’ll talk about the restaurants section. This is again very well organised and easy to filter to exactly what you want. You can tailor your search for specific foods, prices, locations, dietary requirements the list is endless. You can even book some restaurants online through TA, they even offer special dining experiences but these come at a serious price! You have an option at the top of the page to find and book a restaurant for a specific date, time and how many people. You can then once again tailor it to your specifics, even down to choosing location and type of food.
You then have a forums section, this a great way to find out even more information or specific information about the location you have chosen. For Example, i just clicked on one that said ‘What do you wish someone had told you’ (about going to Paris) Some of the answers are great and some of them very helpful. Taking some time to look through forums that can help you can provide a deeper insight or more local information about where you are going.
The next good thing about TA is the travel guides, accessible from the top menu by pressing the three dots. In the picture above you can see the drop down menu giving you some extra options including the travel guides.
The above picture is the section on travel guides for Paris, in this section you can chose various guides, for example, 3 days in Paris. This will be written by someone who has a lot of experience in travelling in the area and gives you a guide of what to do in that three days. Browsing through these guides means you can find good information of trips and tips in Paris for example. You can also request a free guide personalize just for you, this is very helpful t plan you trip in detail.
You can also use TA for booking tours, again you can personalize what kind of tour you are looking for and can sometimes find locals doing walking tours showing you all the sights. You can book the tours online giving you a guarantee through TA and you can see reviews for tours and tour companies. You can also get tours that include different experiences such as a river boat cruise with dinner and a trip up the Eiffel Tower at a lower price if booked all together rather than on the day. It pays to research tickets for attractions as there are better places to buy tickets and sometimes its cheaper to buy them directly on attractions websites.
The last and final thing to talk about is planning a trip on TA! Again I will use my next trip to Paris as an example. At the top of the page (as mentioned earlier) we have the button which looks like a suitcase, clicking on this will give you the option to start planning a new trip.
Give the trip a name and you can then research and plan as you go along. As you look through TA you can save (as mentioned earlier) by pressing the heart button next to attractions, restaurants etc listings. When you have saved activities you can access them via the suitcase button once again, this is where you can move them into your trips and personalize them.
As you can see, my trip to Disneyland is on the left and my recently viewed/saved items on the right. You can click on you planned trip and then add activites etc to certain days, creating a detailed plan.
My trip is not fully planned yet but i have added a few activities that i will be doing. You can see that you can select a date and add an activity to the certain day; above I have added the Eiffel Tower for the Sunday. This is a great way to plan as it also shows up your destinations on the map on the right. You can add restaurants and activities etc with ease and it can all be printed prior to your departure.
Well there are probably a million more things i could write but i hope i have provided enough information to confidently use and improve TripAdvisor. There is also a section in your log in where you can put a pin in a virtual map and see where you’ve been and how far you have traveled! According to mine i have only traveled 3% of the world!
Remember to sign up and write reviews, by helping others you’re helping yourself. Create a Trip now and start exploring!