The Real Skinny

If it hasn’t happened to you, it has probably happened to someone you know. You look at the website for a hotel, resort or other vacation rental and it all looks great.  You book your room and dream of your wonderful time away.  Then you get there and find the photos were either a) taken YEARS ago, b) taken from the ONLY flattering angle or c) were taken with a wide-angle lens to give the appearance of space.

The same can happen regarding activities, museums, gardens, zoos, restaurants and other tourist attractions.

So how do you get the real skinny?  Wouldn’t it be great if you could ask someone who was just there?  Not a representative of the business – but an actual traveler like yourself?  That’s the premise of

What can you learn on TripAdvisor?  In preparation for our first trip to the Dominican Republic a couple of weeks ago, I visited TripAdvisor.  There I saw photos taken and posted by travelers who had been to the resort within the past 30 days which validated those on the resort’s website and added details far MORE than the thumbnails on the official site.

I read reviews of the food, the service and the overall maintenance of the resort. Being an “all-inclusive” resort, I didn’t have high expectations for the food – more like an average cruise ship buffet and that was supported by comments of recent guests.  Recent guests did have tips though regarding getting reservations at the couple of ala carte restaurants which insured we were able to get into our chosen dining locations.

When I couldn’t find some information on the official resort website such as the type of power in the rooms (it is a foreign country) I was able to directly email a user who had just returned from there.  They were more than happy to give me the skinny on the plug types and offered to answer any other questions I may have.

Everyone RAVED about the beach.  But reading that others had spotty housekeeping service or mix-ups on airport transfers helped me to prepare with documentation and mindset to help us past these travel hiccups.  As a result, we had a wonderful time!


Part of your pleasure or disappointment with anything comes down to how closely reality matches your expectations.  TripAdvisor helps you set realistic expectations.

So in addition to reading this blog, sign up for  It’s FREE and gives you access to the real skinny on places and activities you consider for your vacation.  This information will help you make informed choices, reduce stress and maximize your vacation dollar.


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