Put on your Tripadvisor Vacation Pants


I remember when I discovered tripadvisor.com.  It was early 2011 and I was planning a trip down route 66.  I was visiting family in Colorado and after that we decided to drive out to Chicago, Illinois, the place where the famous route 66 begins.  I was so excited to plan our hotel stays along the way and I came across this fantastic travel website.  I looked up all the cities we were planning on staying in along the route.  The site gave me the top hotels, restaurants, and things to do in every place.  I was so excited that most of the # 1 rated hotels were dirt cheap compared to California hotels, and we got to stay in highly rated hotels along our entire trip.  Tripadvisor did not disappoint.  This post will give you some tips on using this amazing website and app.  You won’t want to plan another trip without consulting Tripadvisor first.  Then, after your trip, you’ll want to come back and do some reviews of your own, so you can advise future travelers.

 Step 1:  Sign up for a free Tripadvisor account by going to tripadvisor.com and creating an account.  You can search for reviews and restaurants without logging in, but the site does give some great features for having an account.  For instance, you can save your locations you would like to visit during your trip.  I also have downloaded the app on my phone.  When I am on vacation, I just pull up my save list and we start visiting all the places I scoped out in advance.  There are some other fun features as well.  I love that it tracks where you have visited on a map.  It shows the percentage of the world you have traveled to, and how many miles you have traveled.  You can add places you want to go to, or places you have already gone.  It’s a great visual for a traveler like myself.

Yeah, I know, it says I have only visited 7 % of the world.  I’m working on making that go up.

Step 2:  Start planning your trip.  I have been noticing some mighty cheap flights for Seattle on Google Flights (check out this post), so I am going to show you how to plan your trip there. The following steps will easily apply to any trip around the world you are planning, just change the destination.

Go ahead and type in the city you are visiting in the “near” section.



Step 3:  Then type in what you want to look for: hotels, things to do, or restaurants.  I always like to start with hotels because that gives me an idea of where I am going to stay in the city I am visiting.  I always check hotwire.com first (check out my post here) to see if there are some interesting deals, I purchase the hotel on there if I find a good deal, and immediately look up the reviews on you guessed it… Tripadvisor.  Sometimes in a BIG city like Seattle, I like to make sure that I know where I am staying.  If you don’t have any luck on hotwire.com, then Tripadvisor is a great place to find out what hotel to stay in.  On hotwire.com you have to book blind.  The name and exact location of the hotel is not released until click the purchase button, but on Tripadvisor you can see the ranking, reviews, prices, and names of hotels right up front.


If you are looking for a hotel on Tripadvisor go ahead and type in the city you are visiting and click on the hotels button.

That will bring up a list of hotels in the area you are searching for.  Put the dates in the window above and it will give you prices for the times you are going.  It will also give you several booking options to choose from.  Right below the date window you can sort the hotels by different criteria:  availability, ranking, just for you, lowest price, and distance.  I like to click on ranking.  This will order the hotels from highest ranked hotel to lowest ranked hotel.  I scan down the list until I find a highly ranked hotel in my price range.  Once you have decided where you are going to stay, it is time to find out the top things to do in the area.
Go ahead and click on the Things to Do tab on the city home page and start reading reviews and seeing what the highest rated things to do in the area are.  Once you have completed the activity, you can review the activity for other travelers to do.  I have written over 100 reviews for different places I have visited.  I feel like I am helping fellow travelers plan their activities and make good decisions about where they will go when they travel.
Tripadvisor makes it fun to write reviews with their digital badge collection and ranking systems.  Apparently I am the #4
reviewer in my hometown of Yucaipa, California, and I am only 4 reviews away from grabbing the #3 spot.
Once you have mapped out what area of town you will be sightseeing in, it is time to pick where you want to eat.
This is my favorite part of planning on Tripadvisor.  Tripadvisor makes it easy to plan where you want to get your grub on.
Honestly, highly rated Tripadvisor restaurants have NEVER let us down.  The app has a “near me now” button on your phone
that you can hit and all the amazing restaurants pop up on your phone.  I have used that numerous times on the go.
After perusing these sections, I have decided on a couple places I am going to need to eat and visit while I am in
Seattle, Washington.
Things to Do: Chihuly Garden and Glass (#1 rated thing to do in Seattle), Space Needle, Washington State Ferries,
 Pike’s Place Market to name a few. There are over 450 listed things to do, so you will have a lot of options.  Some cities or
 towns we visit have a much shorter list.  I always enjoy what we find on the list of things to do.
Places to Eat: Pike’s Place Chowder, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (Hello?!!!), Gelatiamo (Yep, it’s a Gelato joint).
This is only a few of the culinary delights Seattle offers.
In true My Vacation Pants fashion, I have digital proof of using Trip Advisor on many fantastic trips.  Check out the gallery
 below and read the captions on some of the fantastic things I have planned and done because of Tripadvisor.
Chili Hot Dogs at Casper’s Famous Chili Dogs in Pleasant Hill, California.
Enjoying our ocean view from our balcony room at the Holiday Inn Resort in Galveston, Texas.
Just a little beauty and rock skipping at Blue Water Hotel and Casino in Parker, Arizona
The Granite Dells in Prescott, Arizona.
The only McDonald’s with Turquoise arches, in Sedona, Arizona.
The Continental Divide in Glacier National Park, Montana.
Tonto Natural Bridge just outside of Payson, Arizona.
Woolworth’s Diner is still around in Bakersfield, California.
The Labyrinths located in Laughlin, Nevada.
So many great cheesy eats at Bravo Farms, located in  Tulare, California.
Texas shaped waffles at the Staybridge Suites in Austin, Texas.
Castillo de San Cristobol, the largest Spanish fort built in the New World, located in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Jean Lafitte Swamp Tours, located just outside of New Orleans, Louisiana.
The beautiful lakes of Sandpoint, Idaho.
The floating city of  Bayview, Idaho.
The World’s Largest Floating Boardwalk in Coure D’ Laine, Idaho.
A sibling walk among the Cedars in Glacier National Park, Montana.
Country Inn Lake Resort located in Hot Springs, Arkansas included a swim dock with warm and refreshing swimming.
Purple Vanilla Ice Cream in a waffle cone at the Purple Cow in  Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Took in a wonderful dinner at a turn of the century repurposed bath house located in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Tamale City at McClard’s BBQ in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
The Hot Springs Tower located in Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas.
Cupcakes you need a fork to eat at Fat Bottomed Girls Cupcakes located in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
The Montana Vortex located in Kalispell, Montana.
Getting our homemade ice cream on at Panhandle Cone and Coffee located in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Riverfront Park, the site of the 1974 World’s Fair located in Spokane, Washington.
The Milk Bottle Diner located in Spokane, Washington.

Well I hope you found this post on how to use Tripadvisor helpful.  Please let me know by using the contact information below if you need any help using the site or app.  Now get planning the next get away!

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