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Trip List by Wine-4-2

Planning a Perfect Vacation with TripAdvisor

29 Jul 2009  Getting the most out of TripAdvisors various functions
4.5 of 5 stars based on 1 vote

Ten Steps to Having a Better Vacation

  • Category: Other
  • Traveler type: Never been before
  • Appeals to: Business travellers , Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Large groups, Seniors, Students, Budget travellers , Active/adventure, Tourists, Pet owners
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Step One - TripAdvisor's Home Page = www.tripadvisor.com

    TripAdvisor's Home Page can help you to select a vacation destination....

    Can't make up your mind? TA's Home Page has helpful tools... you can browse by Continent, Country, or specific Destination. Or look for the DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT and the TOP 10 LISTS... they will feature a particular part of the world or type of vacation.

    Need more help? Then click on IDEAS at the top of the page... for true Inspiration maybe something exotic will catch your fancy !!

  • 2. Step Two - Overview

    Learn more about a selected Country or Region.

    Each Destination on TripAdvisor has a page entitled TOURISM... there you will find a wealth of info on Visiting your chosen Destination... including PHOTOS, VIDEOS, even the TOP LISTINGS for Hotels, Restaurants, and Things to Do (based on the TA REVIEWS).

    The TOURISM Button always appears at the top of the column on the left hand side of the screen for every TA Destination Page. It is a great spot to begin one`s vacation research.

  • 3. Step Three - Travel Guide (Before You Go and Traveller Articles)

    The TRAVEL GUIDE Pages (again listed in the column to the left of the screen) are a wealth of info for someone not familiar with a particular Destination.... here you'll find info like Weather, Maps, and a sampling of current REVIEWS and FORUM Topics.

    This is also where the TRAVELLER ARTICLES are found, primarily written by locals and Destination Experts they provide not only info on what to see and do, but also background info on the Destination and important info for Foreign Visitors (Crossing the Border, Banks & Money, Tipping & Etiquette, etc). These pages will help one to know more about a Destination... BEFORE YOU GO... so as to know if it will be some place you might like.

  • 4. Step Four - Choose a Specific Destination

    Based on your research from Steps One thru Three... decide on a Destination to visit.

  • 5. Step Five - Learn More About Your Chosen Destination (The Reviews & Maps)

    A good place to learn more about what a Destination has to offer is to look thru the TA REVIEWS Sections (Hotels, Restaurants, Things to Do).

    This is also a good time to become more familiar with a map of your chosen Destination... there are maps available in the TOURISM and TRAVEL GUIDE Sections, as well as Maps in the REVIEW Pages showing where things are located... (you'll find the Map option in the top right hand corner of the REVIEW Pages).

    Alternatively one might want to become familiar with an On-Line Mapping Program... such as GOOGLE MAPS which is invaluable for Trip Planning as it offers a variety of features including the ability to calculate times & distances by car, cycling, walking or public transit. Also the Satellite and Street View options are fabulous for getting familiar with the lay-of-the-land or truly being able to "see" a Destination long before you arrive.

  • 6. Step Six - Learn From Others (The Forums)

    The FORUMS are a great place to learn a ton of things about the Vacation that you have in mind... be that on the DESTINATION TRAVEL FORUMS or in the BEYOND DESTINATION FORUMS (these are organized not by specific place, but rather by theme). One can reach the BEYOND DESTINATION FORUMS from the TA FORUMS HOME PAGE... or by clicking on the box to the right of any TA FORUM Page marked as such.

    The FORUMS are also a great spot to learn about other Travellers personal experiences (Trip Reports) or to browse thru a variety of topics.

    The FORUMS are also searchable, just type any keyword(s) into the SEARCH BOX at the top of any Forum Page.

    And of course you can create your own Topics and Questions.

    Note however, that it is proper Forum Etiquette to create a NEW topic for your particular Questions rather to tag onto someone elses (this way everyone gets individual attention, and one posters Answers are not muddled with anyone elses). It is the considerate thing to do !!

    Also means you can track them with your TA Account, or create a TRAVEL FILE on your TA PROFILE PAGE... a good way to keep all your Trip Planning info in one spot.

    The FORUM Pages are a great spot to converse with Local Advisors & Destination Experts about your impending Travel plans or concerns. We will do our best to help you out. Be aware though that none of us have a "crystal ball" so sometimes you`ll need to find the info from other sources.

    To get the most out of the TA FORUM experience, it is best to:

    * Be as clear as possible, and provide as much background info as available (travel dates, hotel names, etc whatever is relative to your particular Question)... for example, there is a huge difference between planning a visit to Canada in the middle of July (mid 20s C) and the middle of January (-20 C).

    * Have done some preparatory reading (see Steps One thru Five above). Although your fellow TA Members are willing to help we are all volunteers, and this is "your" holiday and not "ours" so we expect you to do your share of the heavy lifting. The more prepared you as the Traveller is, the more excited we are to help you plan... enthusiasm can be electric.

    * Be informed... be willing to explore other sources besides just TripAdvisor (ie local info about the current Weather Conditions, Restaurant Scene, Newspapers, your own Government Issued Travel Advisories etc)... although TripAdvisor is a great resource... it readily admits that it is not the be-all-to-end-all when it comes to Trip Planinng. This is YOUR vacation... so you need to learn all you can about the Destination you have chosen.

    *Be polite, even if you don't get the Answer you were looking for... sometimes things can become "lost in translation"... remember not everyone who uses TripAdvisor that their first language is English... or perhaps there are regional or cultural differences, afterall TripAdvisor is truly global.

    *And remember to say THANK YOU... come back to your Questions and let us know that you read the replies we took the time to write... it really is the polite thing to do. You wouldn't stop someone on the street to ask for Directions, and walk away without a word... so please don`t do it in the FORUMS.

  • 7. Step Seven - Make Your Travel Plans (Reservations & so much more)

    Hopefully, you`ve learned a ton from browsing thru TripAdvisor and chatting with the Local Advisors & Destination Experts in the various FORUMS... now it is time to make your reservations etc.

    Of course, you can do that any way you wish... directly with the Airline, Hotel, Car Rental etc... thru a Discount Booking Agent (aka a Third Party Booking Site) or with a Traditional Travel Agent.

    Some Travellers choose to use the Booking Connections here on TripAdvisor... the Website is set up so you can compare rates from a variety of sources... and if you choose you can then be connected to THOSE Websites for purchase*.

    * NOTE - TripAdvisor IS NOT A BOOKING AGENT or a TRAVEL AGENT... you are making your arrangements with outside companies or directly with the Service Provider if you choose this option.

  • 8. Step Eight - Say Thank-You

    Saying Thanks to the FORUM Volunteers who have helped you means a lot to us... it is also always appreciated with a Traveller comes back after all is said & done and posts a Trip Report or tells us how their Vacation turned out.

    Feedback thru the FORUMS also helps Destination Experts fine tune the info that they provide to Travellers on an on-going basis... we represent our Destinations daily, but there is always something new that each of us can learn too.

    Say Thanks... it goes a long way to making our day !!

  • 9. Step Nine - Pay It Forward

    TripAdvisor works because people are willing to share... take the time to write a REVIEW for the Hotel, Restaurant or Things to Do Sections... you`ll be helping someone else who is planning a vacation to the Destination you have just visited.

  • 10. Step Ten - Volunteer

    TripAdvisor can help you plan better vacations than ever before... it is also a very social place where people who love to Travel... also love to hang out and share their knowlege by helping out other TA Members with their Travel Plans.

    Think about dropping by the FORUMS from time-to-time to see if there isn't a Question that you can Answer.

    PS... Don't tell anyone... but TA can also be a lot of fun !!
    :-) *smile*