You are getting ready for a trip… You got the money, you got the time and a partner… Your friends just came from the destination you are traveling to… they tell you the stories and the musts, they tell you what to avoid and what to reject. After they leaving the conversation you tell your husband / wife… or yourself… “Well! It is Peter (Or Susan)… That would have never happen to us!”
Or!… You read the reviews sites and they tell you what not to do, and what to do… Some of the reviews might be fake, and some might be angry travelers that want to harm a certain hotel of travel attraction… but there are some real ones that can tell you a lot. Aha… Really? No. Actually not.
And the reason is that people will give you their reasons and not yours… A certain reviewer will write that climbing those stairs is hell and will not recommend you to do it… What if… their physical condition is hell and yours is pretty good? … Another reviewer might have felt insecure in a city and write that on a review… But it happens to be that he/she never left before their 5000 souls town and feels insecure at mostly any city? There are so many many ifs that really, we shouldn’t trust them blindly. What I’ve learned about reviews, and reviewers is that, even if they are a guideline I would never trust a 100% in them… again. Once more… reviewers write about their needs and wishes… and not yours.
And sometimes they tell you why a place or a hotel is great… but nothing about where it is located. I’ve traveled quite a bit in the last ten years, and one of the solid things I’ve learned is that you have to be really cautious when reading reviews. They don’t always tell the truth, and even if they do… it is their truth.
From my traveling experience, if you are going to a place you don’t know… Best you can do is: Get a travel consultant… A local travel consultant.
Why? It will cost more money!
First of all… no. It won’t cost more money… It actually might cost you less money. Hotels give them (Because of their volume) a lower rate that they would give you. But no travel consultant will charge you for their services.
And second… Because they know! That should be the first and the one answer… They know! You saw that certain hotel is great on reviews… but the consultant will know if there is a metal rock concert next door the weekend when you are going.
With travel consultants, you tell them what you like and they will find exactly what you want. Not what they could find… but what they know. Thyey know because is their country, their region, their people… Their business is to actually know!
Reviews don’t actually know… They think that after a week stay in a place they know… Ahhhmmm… no.
Plus… there is a little tiny but totally transcending fact: If something goes wrong… all you can do is write a review about how everything went wrong for you… If you have a travel consultant, you have a whole team to support you, at your back and call… And yes, that makes a huge difference!
And another tiny little detail… Travel Consultants are clients for the hotels and tour operators… they are regular clients that bring a lot of business… They are not one single stay sort of client. When you go for a travel consultant, you take their name and their business with you, and hotels and operators want to please them… pleasing you 🙂 .
So! Next trip… you can read the reviews and take them as a guideline… But if you are coming to Costa Rica…
Written by Olga Sáenz-Carbonell for Camino Travel