Attention Abroad Students: TripAdvisor is Your New Best Friend

Reviewing on TripAdvisor is super therapeutic and helpful

By Claire Nunez & Michael Sheridan

Editor-at-Large & Arts Editor

To be completely honest, Yelp and Google Reviews cannot even compare to TripAdvisor. This review site is just so honest and true, and really elicits the best results for travel. The two of us bonded more over the fact that our abroad experiences can be read online. We decided that we should write a review about our time on TripAdvisor because it holds such a dear place in our hearts.

Michael Sheridan:

I remember my very first trip when I went abroad. It was to Paris with 4 other people I barely knew. Although I had a basic knowledge of the sights in Paris (Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc du Triomphe, Notre Dame, etc.), the trip was still a disaster. We had no idea where anything was or where to get dinner, and beyond these top sights we were at a loss of what to do. Vowing never to again waste a weekend walking aimlessly through a European city, I made sure to plan every trip to the minute going forward. TripAdvisor made this possible. It introduced me to amazing places and activities that I had never heard of. It helped me figure out which cities had the most things to do in them. I even began to use it to discover hidden gems in Rome, which was the city I was studying in. However, I never set up an account or even considered writing reviews of my own.

Fast forward to the end of the semester when a friend was able to sign me up for this amazing VR tour of some of Rome’s ancient sights. We walked around the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill learning about the ruins. The fun part began when we attached our VR headsets. Suddenly, the space came alive with reconstructed ruins as they would have originally appeared. It was simply stunning for a history and art guy such as myself. And this entire experience was free of charge–barring that I was required to write a glowing review of the company on TripAdvisor. A good deal in my opinion.

Later that night, true to my word, I created my account and wrote a review of the tour company. As I was sitting there, I realized I had a few extra minutes and might as well review some other businesses in Rome I frequented to help out those places as well. Suddenly, I found myself reviewing places almost every night. It started with businesses, then I moved on to sights and museums around Rome. Then I began to review places I’d been during my travels. Before I knew it, I couldn’t stop and whenever I visited a new place, I was already drafting my TripAdvisor review in my head. It felt good to know that I was helping other travelers, providing them with unique and off-the-beaten-path sites, alert them to scams, and just generally share my thoughts about places.

Upon my return, I still reviewed places on the site; however, I will say the frequency has diminished. There’s just something about being abroad and reviewing unique and exotic places that is addicting in a way that America has failed to capture for me. For me, TripAdvisor and study abroad will forever remain intertwined in my memory.

Claire Nunez:

If you have read anything that I have written in the past few months, you’ll know that I currently live in Amsterdam. I feel like I have done so much while I’ve been here, but I have recently been struggling to remember exactly what and when and with whom. Living abroad is a whirlwind experience. It goes by so quickly and it is tough to remember everything that has happened. This is why I am constantly reviewing on TripAdvisor.

My love affair with TripAdvisor began when a rather attractive waiter told me to review his restaurant. I was hesitant, but his dapper smile and smooth criminal personality persuaded me. Let’s just say, this was a mistake on his part. His restaurant was not that good, and I am not shy when I don’t like something. I left a rather scathing review with a few sprinkles of niceness, and I fell in love. I fell so deeply in love with writing reviews. I was up all night writing about all of the places I’ve visited.

My reviews became a personal journal for me that other people could base their travel decisions on—I would rather people not make decisions based on my actual journal. Because TripAdvisor forces you to say what context you visited the place under, I can look back and remember who I visited Budapest with, who was with me when we saw that fight in the Red Light District, and what I ate at a specific time. I would say that this stuff doesn’t really matter, but to be honest, I have forgotten so much about my trip already. There are so many things going on. Each day just blends into the next. Before I know it, I’ll be home.

Time goes by so quickly. I want to remember everything about my time in Amsterdam—the good and the bad. TripAdvisor is my new favorite hobby. I have fallen so deeply in love with keeping track of everything, and because it is like a job, I have to do it. I hope that one day, I can read my reviews with great fondness and maybe go back to those places to review them again.

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