Vacation: When social media is not work! Or is it?

Vacation is a time to relax, or a time to seek out adventure. It’s a way to let go of your stress and live out your fantasies. That is, if the stress and pain of planning the vacation doesn’t kill you first. - Mashable

Aint that the truth? It's vacation planning time again. Now, I am an organiser. An anal organiser. A paranoid, anal organiser! I think when planning a trip, one HAS to be organised especially if you're trying to stick to a budget. It is near impossible to save on hotels, tours, activities etc if you don't plan and research. The trip itself is not supposed to be military style, but having an idea what you're gonna do, and when is essential. And as a single female traveller, planning takes on added importance, for reasons of safety and comfort.

But for me it is maddening cause I know what I want and what I don't want. The internet gives you choice and it also can give you so much information that it can be an overload on the senses. I usually cross reference when planning, with my main info resources being

Tripadvisor (my #1 guide!)
Frommer's (great for getting a prelim list of hotels and restaurants)
Lonely Planet
WikiTravel (I love wikitravel!)

I think I can now add Twitter and Facebook to the mix. I like that Twitter allows me to compile all my travel tweeters in a list so now when I am ready to get on the road to relaxation, I can simply go to my list and start tweeting/DMing my questions, without having to go through all the noise. And I follow my favourite hotel chains on Facebook for news on the all important specials/discounts! There are also sites like Travel Chums, where you can talk to other travellers who may have visited your travel spot already and can provide info, or who are going on a trip soon. If you so desire, you can hook up with a travel buddy who is going to the same place at the same time you are. I am still, even in this age of social networks and tweetups and the like, a bit paranoid about meeting up with cyber people in a foreign country, especially as Super Solo Traveller. (S on my chest!) But many people do use them, to meet new friends, have a guide to take one around the place, go out with, and whatever else they want to do.

And most important about social media sites for planning trips is the user generated content. Hotel marketers for example are being paid to show the hotel in its best light, so websites are usually gems of fabulousness. White sheets, luxurious looking rooms, smiley staff. Looks good, doesn't it? But then before you commit yourself to the place, you visit Tripadvisor and read something like this:

I could not even stay there! Checked in, went to the room after riding in the smallest,nastiest elevator ever, looked at the room and bathroom and RAN out! People doing drugs everywhere! All you can hear is banging on the walls and people screaming at each other! The room was GROSS, the bathroom was even worse! Nothing was even close to clean! Complete SMUT HOLE!!! I have never never seen a hotel like this! It needs to be condemned! NOW!!! DO NOT NOT NOT STAY HERE!!!

A real traveller review. This greatly aids my decisions, though at the same time, it greatly adds to my stress. If generally the comments are negative, then I move on, but sometimes they can be 50/50 and you're stuck wondering what if...

But the feedback from travellers on these social networking sites is invaluable, believe me. After weeks of driving myself crazy I got feedback like this which sealed the deal on which hotel I would eventually pass over my Euros to.

We were all completely happy with our stay, especially with the breakfast! We spent a day visiting the palace at Versailles (I think you would have to dedicate at least one day to this), as well as the Louvre. Right across the street from the hotel is a good restaurant. As far as the hotel though, if you want to get a relaxing night of sleep, I would book a room not facing the street, because it can be a little noisy with all the people out front. The rooms were not large, but comfortable. I hope this information helps! Have a great trip!

I did ask for a room not facing the street though I can sleep through anything, and I did dedicate an entire day for Versailles, and I am glad I did. But, I love the range of choice which the internet has allowed me for making important travel decisions. I can honestly say I have not had a bad travel experience yet after all my research and planning. I know where to find info and use my discretion to make choices which suit my budget and my expectations. I can ask my fellow travellers for suggestions and vice versa. I am such a social animal, it kills me.
Now if only the internet could help me with the all consuming, and clearly impossible task of packing light!


Post a Comment

Comments appreciated but if you are disrespectful, you'll get the boot.

Related Posts with Thumbnails