User Review Sites and Tips for Senior Travel

Mar 17th, 2010 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

User-review sites have changed the way most people plan their travel, giving us an enormously useful tool for evaluating hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and the like.   There are so many available simply by using GOOGLE, Yahoo or any another search engine.  My “ace in the hole” is that I have done that…been there…committed those travel errors and I want to pass on my suggestions and/or advice to you.  TripAdvisor.com is the big kahuna, with more than 20 million reviews, mostly of hotels — but also less traditional lodging like B&Bs, villas and private homes — as well as restaurants and attractions.

 

TravelPost.com is another and includes over 2,463,753 hotel reviews, hotel photos, and travel blogs.   Owned by Kayak.com and recently relaunched, like its airfare-aggregating parent, TravelPost.com collects reviews from various websites, such as Citysearch.com, Yahoo! Travel and IgoUgo.com.  Check out Yelp.com for locals’ takes on restaurants, shops and other businesses, or OpenTable.com, which guarantees that reviewers have actually eaten at the restaurants they rate.  There can be no better way for rating restaurants other than an actual on-site evaluation.

 

Time Magazine in conjunction with CNN recently listed their 50 best travel tips Time says that “travel is full of pitfalls.  One wrong step and your vacation could be ruined by a seedy hotel room, an overpriced restaurant, a wasted afternoon at a tourist-trap attraction or an overnight flight crammed in the middle seat.  So, guarantee a smooth trip by planning thoroughly.  While a few of these are a “given”,  there are always a few to add to your list for planning, booking, flying, lodging, cruising or on the ground.  One of their valuable tips has to deal with travel insurance below.

 

Travel insurance:

Travel insurance is worth purchasing for big-ticket trips that are largely non-refundable. The typical plan will cover emergency medical expenses and baggage loss and delay, and recover at least some of the cost of your trip if your vacation has to be canceled or cut short (the amount is partially determined by which state you live in), including if the travel operator goes belly up like Budget Travel did recently stranding passengers all over the globe. Note: Most insurers consider a layoff to be a valid reason to cancel a trip.  It is suggested that you always buy from a third-party insurer, not the company selling your cruise or tour.  And considering the fragile state of the insurance industry these days, you’d be wise to choose a large, established company that’s less likely to go under, such as American Express, instead of one you’ve never heard of. Other reputable travel insurers include Travel Guard, Medex and Travelex.  A basic guide to travel insurance is available at http://www.travelblog.org/Travel-Guide/insurance-1.html.

 

To fill in some gaps I have recently discovered three sites for you to peruse.  Check out Mobissimo.com and DoHop.com which are good for locating flights overseas (within Europe especially) and Momondo.com which says it scours more than 650 websites for the cheapest fares possible.  Use your own judgement on this information, but it looks good to me.

 

I recently wrote an earlier blog on air travel with information to help make your trip enjoyable.  Here is a “don’t miss site” from the US Dept. of Transportation with valuable tips on taking proper care of your baggage.  They call their site: Fly-Rights : A Consumer Guide to Air Travel.  While I have written some in this area, I find this site to be highly useful as there is always something to learn, even if you discover only one or two new and valuable tips.  It only takes a small goof to make things miserable on a long trip away from home, so stalk up on all the tips you can and keep them handy as you travel.

 

Ever wonder what those passengers in first class know that we do not, outside of the fact that someone is paying a high price for those super seats?  Executive Travel provides advice and insight for today’s executive.  Even if you are not an executive, the site provides good information for any traveler, so check it out.  Their A-Z Travel Rolodex is well done.   jeb



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