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“When you use a travel agent, you’re getting an expert opinion on hotels around the world. But if you’re booking a trip yourself, you can take advantage of something even better: hundreds or thousands of real-life user reviews written by people who have actually stayed there. Look, user reviews must sometimes be taken with a grain of salt, but overall, I find them extremely useful.
By reading a lot of user experiences, I can get an accurate feel for what to expect at a given hotel or Airbnb — whether it’s more romantic or family-friendly, whether it caters more toward business or leisure travel, how conveniently it’s located, and any other relevant perks, features, or cons I might want to know about before booking. I also love looking at the user-uploaded photos because they provide a realistic look at what to expect.” —Hannah Loewentheil