Tip 6: Take reviews with a grain of salt
Don’t get me wrong, reviews can be really useful, and I always check out reviews on accommodation, excursions, restaurants and such. However, I never trust the reviews blindly and have learned to read between the lines.
First of all, I trust the masses; meaning that if a majority of the reviews are positive, I tend to be more skeptical towards the negative reviews as they may often be due to individual preferences, one bad encounter e.g. with staff, or something similar. One recent example was an Airbnb that we rented that had gotten mostly positive feedback, but the latest review was extremely negative. At first this made me concerned, but by the time I reached the end of the long review I realized that it was highly likely that all the negativity stemmed from prejudice against the LGBTQ community as the house was in a so-called gay village. It turned out the house was exactly as depicted on Airbnb and we were more than happy with our rental. Another thing you should consider when reading reviews is the reviewer’s background. For example, whenever I’m reading reviews on Nordic hotels and the reviewers from countries outside the Nordic region praise the breakfast, I never expect anything extraordinary because I’m used to Nordic hotel breakfasts. I get that this is unique if you are used to continental breakfasts, but these breakfasts seldom manage to impress me.
For me the major points in accommodation reviews tend to be location, cleanliness, room size, staff attentiveness and the value for money. For restaurants number one is obviously food quality but I also look at what is said about the staff. As far as excursions go, I look at the overall reviews for the arranger as well as those for the excursion in question. Here, major points are reliability, whether the guides are professional and entertaining and whether the excursion is worth the money.
So reviews can be very helpful and I have found many gems by reading reviews. However, you should also learn to read between the lines and trust your instincts.