The internet doesn’t just make it easier to find a cheap deal. It’s also a way to make sure that there are no nasty surprises on your dream trip
The internet can sometimes feel a little bit like the Wild West, where anything goes. We’re accustomed to hearing stories of scammers and spammers that it’s easy to forget how much we had to take on trust in the pre-internet days, and how often that trust was misplaced.
In fact, the internet it can be a great way of ensuring that you don’t get ripped off. Thanks to the huge range of holiday booking sites on the web, there’s more information than ever before available about hotels before you book. So hopefully the days of arriving at your destination to find the hotel still under construction are a thing of the past.
There’s so much detail that it can be entertaining just to browse and daydream about remote desti-nations. Tropical paradises, buzzing cities, mountain villages and lakeside retreats all look tempting, but how do you tell which ones are too good to be true?
Like any sensible traveller, listen to the stories of those who’ve been before. On websites such as Tripadvisor, you’ll be able to find hundreds of customer reviews for almost every destination. And if there aren’t any reviews, that should probably set off alarm bells.
Check the highest-rated reviews and the lowest-rated to get an idea of the range of opinion and don’t put too much stock in any one view. You’ll soon notice that even the most palatial hotels have a few harsh complaints, so take it all with a pinch of salt. Watching how the hotel management re-sponds to unhappy guests online can give you an insight into how good they would be at smoothing over problems if you were a guest, however.
You’ll also be able to compare the hotel’s glossy professional photos with the images snapped by ordinary travellers. As with the comments, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. But if you still like the look of a hotel room as seen through a guest’s ancient mobile phone camera, you’re unlikely to be disappointed in person!
It can be a good idea to take a look at your destination on Google Maps. Use Street View to get an idea of the immediate location, whether it looks safe and accessible enough for you, and whether the nearby area has the amenities you need.
Of course, don’t neglect the power of the internet to find cheap deals through sites such as Trivago and Expedia. But remember there’s a lot more to discover out there to ensure that your holiday lives up to expectations.