When we get out and start to travel again, like most people, we’re going to start slow. Our first trip is more likely going to be a short road trip instead of a long international voyage. When that trip will happen is up to our collective response to the coronavirus and how that impacts the spread and ultimately our safety when traveling.
Trip planning is fun but it also can be confusing. There are plenty of places to look to for advice so how do you know which bits of information to listen to.
There are a plethora of guidebooks (both physical and virtual) and travel websites to choose from. These are places where a reviewer or groups of reviewers tell you the “best” places to go to in any given location. These can be helpful but you need to know how the lists are made. Do the establishments being reviewed know they’re being watched? Even more, are they comping the reviewer to make it onto the list?
If the information you’re reading is independent, they usually make a big deal about mentioning it. Even places that get compensated for reviews are supposed to say so somewhere, though you’ll have to do some digging to find it.
Then there are the “guest” driven websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp. They’re supposed to be better because you’ll get reviews from the general public, like you. The problem with these websites is that the reviews are from the general public. Reviews might include things that aren’t relevant. You can use these tips to determine if you can trust websites like TripAdvisor.
Since the first places we go are likely to be local or trips to visit friends/family, I have options when it comes to who to ask for advice. What matters now is how much do you trust people you know?
For example, there was a post recently on Flying High on Points about Las Vegas: “LOCALS ONLY! 4 GREAT “OFF THE STRIP” RESTAURANTS THAT ONLY LOCALS KNOW ABOUT (LAS VEGAS, NEVADA)”
Info about Vegas is popular because local restaurants are now able to reopen and the major casino hotels are looking to do so shortly. Many people who want to travel are looking to this as a prime location. To each their own.
Even though I don’t plan on making a trip, I was curious about the list. So I sent it to one of my friends in Las Vegas who’s also a chef to see what he thought about the locations mentioned. His reply was
Not bad… there is better
The oyster bar at palace station is the best on that list.
I know that a “not bad” from him is not a negative response. More like an acknowledgment that the places are fine to visit but if you want an amazing experience, there are other places you can go.
Even more importantly, he pointed me in the direction of two food reviewers in Las Vegas that he follows, Al Mancini from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and John Curtas. Never one to pass up good advice, I bookmarked their pages for future reference.
You might not have a chef, travel expert or tour guide that you know in every town. However, I’d trust the opinion of someone I know over a random person on the internet (and I include myself in that random person on the internet category). You’re welcome to ask around if our list of local restaurants in the Central Florida area is any good; we won’t be offended.
It’s important to remember who you’re asking for advice. You wouldn’t necessarily ask your vegan friends where to go for barbecue, but when they live in Washington D.C. and tell you to go to Smoke and Barrel, you should listen. Because besides making vegan spare ribs, their traditional style barbecue is also pretty awesome.
I can’t wait to be out of the house again and asking our friends and family for their local favorites. Discovering out of the way places is one of my favorite things about travel.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary