Guac Magazine
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Guac Magazine

5 Stars

By Parker Piccolo Hill

Anyone who’s ever been anywhere has seen it. That little green sticker in the window, yellow stars shining like a beacon guiding you through a sea of untrustworthy restaurants. The TripAdvisor badge of honor, marker through the ages for travelers in forsaken lands.

TripAdvisor, a popular travel planning website, has been a part of my vacation planning for years. Founded in the year 2000, more than one billion user reviews and opinions have been posted, and 463 million travelers use it every month. For me, planning a vacation on TripAdvisor was almost more exciting than undertaking the trip itself. I remember as a kid scrolling for hours through hotels with my mother, creating endless pros and cons lists. The excitement, the anticipation… It was like Christmas Eve! It allowed you to do things that you knew you wouldn’t be able to do when you went on your vacation. Whether that was because of transportation, price or any number of reasons that prevent a “dream vacation,” vacation planning websites allow you to live out your ideal. I’ve stayed in countless resorts on TripAdvisor, all five stars of course. I’ve explored hundreds of museums, watching exhibits through pictures posted by others. I’ve eaten thousands of meals from thousands of different places, each one wildly different, even if some do have terrible lighting.

Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

The beauty of TripAdvisor, and other websites like it, are that they allow you to explore. Some people argue that this takes away from the authenticity of the experience. If you see a picture of your meal on a website before you even eat it, are you experiencing any of the surprise that comes with going to a restaurant, especially one in a foreign place? I agree that it takes away slightly from the point of a vacation, which is to get away, but it’s a fun way to tailor your experience. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve taken on the role of restaurateur for my family. I create must-go lists on TripAdvisor, checking to make sure everyone will be satisfied with something. Given this role, I have a lot of experience with the website, and in my opinion, there’s usually still a lot to surprise you! Once, I found a Greek restaurant in Athens that ended up almost getting me and my family killed. The pictures of the food looked great, but what we didn’t know was that the walk there led us through a rather dangerous neighborhood. Clearly, there’s still an adventure to be had with review websites.

About the Author: Parker Piccolo Hill is a freshman from Westchester, New York, thinking of double majoring in English and Italian. One of her favorite travel destinations is the Amalfi Coast in Italy, where café culture and beautiful beaches provide a lovely atmosphere for the kindly chatter of the natives.

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