There is nothing that surpasses the importance of research in planning a getaway. We use TripAdvisor to review the restaurants, lodging and points of interest in area we plan to visit. It helps us determine where we’ll go and what we’ll do.

Recently, we attended an extended family function where somebody else suggested the lodging. They had stayed at the property a couple years prior and had enjoyed their visit. However, the years apparently had not been kind. Had they done some planning and research on this, they would have known.

Picutre of a motel – not the one in question.

Had they looked at TripAdvisor reviews, they would have seen the most recent reviews entitled “Awful,” “Gross – Didn’t Even Stay the Night,” “Shortage of Towels,” “Not the Best,” “Bad Check-in Experience” and “Overpriced.” To be fair, there were two good reviews sprinkled in the most recent accounts of stays at this particular property.

We generally look at the most recent reviews – figuring they had the kind of experience we could expect.

This is why research is so important. Within a couple years, the property could have undergone a wonderful new renovation, or it could have slipped quite a bit.

It may not be the property – but the neighborhood.

The Neighborhood

Some of this can be determined by research – but some comes as a bit of a surprise as the car wheels into the parking lot.

We have stayed in properties that were under renovation. In fact, we saw this in reviews and asked for a renovated room. But a motel cannot be responsible for what springs up around it. At one place, we noticed a chain restaurant next door which a mutual friend described as “the beginning of the end.”

The room at that place was an oasis in the midst of a declining neighborhood. We were glad to get out.

Preparation

This is why we carry our travel basket, with things like our diffuser, night lights, security door wedge, ect. We also carry our travel picnic basket for the same reason. At our last stay – the paper coffee cups were not in the protective plastic – we used our own.

Although you cannot be ready for everything, preparation and research are the key. And remember – take your fun with you.

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