Tag Archives: Rick Steves

Trip Advisor: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly?

I’ve been spending a lot of time this week looking online at London hotel web sites.

I’ve read Rick Steves’ recommendations; he has a certain point of view that I’m not sure I always share. I’ve read some other travel guides, but I often come back to Trip Advisor. My experience has been that if a hotel has mostly Excellent and Very Good ratings and has enough such ratings to actually have some credibility, I can trust Trip Advisor. Open online forums such as Trip Advisor allow for fake positive reviews posted by the relatives of the innkeeper, but also allow for negative reviews created by competitors to drive business away. That’s why I look for an accommodation with lots of reviews and I read them pretty carefully.

I rated the bed and breakfast we stayed at on our 2011 trip to England, and gave it glowing reviews on Trip Advisor. We were there for eleven days and knew the place inside and out. One morning there was a disgruntled guest who complained about her breakfast experience the entire time she was in the dining room — and she wrote a negative review on Trip Advisor about it. Hers is the only remotely negative review about the place, and frankly, people should take it with a grain of salt.

What’s your experience with Trip Advisor? Do you write reviews? More importantly, do you have a place in London to recommend to our readers? Please put links in the comments — we’d love to check out your favorite London accommodations!

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Travel Lust: Doing the Laundry While On the Road

It’s still kind of hard for me to wrap my arms around the fact that I’m actually giving European travel advice — just call me Rickie Steves! I waited for many years for my European shot and it has been everything I hoped it would be. Both of my kids went to Europe twice before I got my chance — and I don’t regret sending them — but I’ve been taking advantage of being an empty nester for the last few years. Viva England and France (to mix my languages)!

I just had to show you why one doesn’t want to throw one’s laundry on the floor when one is staying in a ritzy London flat. We managed to score this fabulous apartment at the Sloane Club (wait for it to load; it’s worth it) because the studio we actually booked was being renovated and we got the duplexed one bedroom (that’s an understatement) for the same price.

This was our closet, the home of our dirty laundry. And yes, that’s a trouser press in the right corner. Gosh darn it, I love England — all I need is Jeeves.

After having been to England three times and France once in the last three years, my advice is to pack some laundry equipment.

One of the things I hate when I’m going to stay more than one night in one place is throwing my dirty clothes on the closet floor (I’m pretty sure the person before me in that room still has cooties in the carpet) or crunching them into plastic bags. I now pack a pop-up laundry basket. Genius. It works for the dirty clothes and it works when we have to do some laundry outside the hotel room or in our rental apartment. It also works if we take a picnic blanket and stuff to the beach. The pop-up mechanism means that it folds flat in my suitcase and takes up practically no room or weight. Combined with two plastic pants hangers, two plastic shirt hangers (with the hooks for camisoles), and our trusty stretch clothesline and plastic clothespins, we are able to do laundry in our hotel rooms and also hang not-quite-dry laundry from the European washer/dryer combo.

Life was all good until I found THIS. I’m tempted to give my boring hamper to someone else, and buy this hamper for myself and every other girlie I know. Who doesn’t want a little black brocade in her closet, even while on vacation?

Image via victoriantradingco.com

P.S. I would have linked up Wikipedia for the Jeeves reference, but I support the blackout. Tell your Congresspeople that SOPA isn’t the way to suppress internet crime.

P.P.S. E-mail me if you want me to hook you up with my travel agent; she may be the only full-service agent left in the United States!

P.P.P.S.  It’s amazing what WordPress doesn’t know how to spell. I’m just sayin”…