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53

Here are some of the main signs I would look out for to decide if a review is fake. (note: updated with some points taken from a study on the matter) Overly hyped. While it is certainly possible that someone had an amazing time, the more hyped the review looks the more likely it is fake. "Fake reviewers tend to overdo “self-referencing”, that is, they ...


35

I look at reviews that are “middle of the road” e.g. 2 or 3 star. I then choose a hotel when the reviews complain about things I don’t care about. E.g. a review saying that “the hotel bar closes at 10 pm and does not have any music” is a positive review for me, even if the reviewer gave the hotel 2 stars because of it. A fake review posted by the hotel ...


23

Well I'm a bit of a sub-expert on this, having worked nine years in the hostelling industry and encountering them as a traveller once in India. There's a bit of a dirty little secret in the hospitality industry about just how bad the bed bug problem has been for the past few years. Apparently all the big/expensive hotel chains have been having problems - ...


23

Here's a story about a study done by researchers who hired freelance writers to write fake positive reviews, asked judges to tell them apart from real ones (they couldn't) and then did a statistical analysis. According to them, typical properties of fake reviews are: A direct mention of the place where somebody stayed Lots of adverbs like 'really' and ...


19

I live in the Tel Aviv area, and I can confirm that most of Israel is easily accessible from there. I have no idea what tourist infrastructure exists in the Palestinian Authority area, if any, and how to get there from Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is something like Miami, in that attractions include the beach and a lively nightlife, while Jerusalem has a lot more ...


19

As an American who just recently traveled to Israel for the first time with a former Israeli, my impression is that you should stay in Jerusalem. We took a bus that only took about 45 minutes from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. They are very close together. And Jerusalem was much more interesting to me from a tourist perspective (i.e. the rich history and ...


19

Utilize hotels.com or other "black-out date" wholesalers and discounters. They purchase rooms in bulk at a discounted rate and mark them up for a profit. As occupancy becomes scarce they will hold rooms back for the last minute premium. The room allocations they have will not be available to the hotel front desk or central reservations. Hotel front desks ...


18

Honestly, I would stick with couchsurfing. I hate to sound like the news and say craig's list can be dangerous, but I know some people that have had bad experiences... really bad experiences. I would say stick with a site that validates users. If you don't mind working, you can always go with somethign like WWOOF. Also, working in a hostel is usually a ...


14

Oddly, the legality depends on the country. In the UK for example, it's a civil offense against the landowner, but not illegal. And as an added bonus, if you 'live' there for 10 years, you can claim ownership! (This has actually happened). More often than not, it's homeless people that squat, rather than travellers. It's so common in the UK, that there's ...


14

In my opinion the best filter for fake reviews is training, by writing some real reviews yourself. I also make a habit of contradicting previous reviews quite explicitly if I disagree. Either way the method is never foolproof. If I went to a hotel with quite some remarkable reviews, only to regret it afterwards, it wouldn't be the first time. Not because ...


12

While I can't really help with a flight+hotel combo, however, I can suggest flightfox.com (not affiliated, I just compete there) for the flights. You're able to customise your request, so you could potentially ask for people to find you the cheapest double flight (yours and hers) for you to meet up. It'd be an interesting contest at least...just a thought. ...


11

We stayed in a kibbutz at Ein Gedi which was nice. I liked that we avoided the big 'glitzy' hotels on the dead sea and while it wasn't luxurious it was very comfortable. Plus, it was interesting to learn more about kibbutz life which is a big part of the culture in Israel and we were close to the Ein Gedi spa where we took a dip in the dead sea. We stayed ...


11

There's little you can do, apart from the obvious, depending how thorough you want to be: Check the photos - see if it shows the dorms and the layout Check the reviews, hopefully you left a review about it, and others may have too. Email them - ask the layout of the room and any other suitable questions. Or even call them - a friendly chat will also let ...


11

One of the most infamous ones is the prison in La Paz, Bolivia - the San Pedro prison. This prison was made famous in the book "Marching Powder". (source: Wikipedia) This prison is basically run by the prisoners, and even the guards don't enter the prison. Tourists aren't "meant" to go in, but there's a way, for sure. Obviously, you do this at your own ...


11

I actually think I have the perfect thing for you. I made this site to check for when any booked hotels open up, and send you an email/text when it does: Hotel Room Alerts Full disclosure obviously, I'm obviously the creator of the site. You should add all the hotels that are in that area, and when any of them have an opening, it will notify you right ...


10

You can try http://www.airbnb.com/. I have used the site to figure out accommodation for some of my travels and have found it pretty useful. The downside, you cannot book an accommodation right away. You need to communicate with the owners and see what works for you. This would mean you start your search pretty early.


10

Couchsurfing and Hospitality Club are the most common, for sure. However you can also consider bar work - in some countries (eg England) it often includes accommodation. Similarly, working in a hostel often scores you a free bed as well. And sometimes just chatting to friendly locals may work in your favour.


10

The short answer is yes. I've hosted probably 20+ people who got to my location via hitchhiking, and most of them had hitchhiked all the way across Europe and couchsurfed most of the way. The only method is messaging people individually, yes, but I don't see why that's a problem. Simply state that you're hitchhiking and will be there on sometime between x ...


10

It turned out there was a campground just a couple of minutes walk from the KTEL bus station where I posted my question from! It didn't show up when I used Google Web or Maps for "camping" or "campground". I fluked finding it by Googling for "Lonely Planet Ioannina" where they listed its name and no other details. Then Googling for its name led to some ...


10

I used to live there, and would love to go back for a holiday at some point. One of the interesting things to note is that while it is generally warmer and drier than the UK (Port Stanley is around the same latitude south as London is north, but is partially sheltered by Andes, which strip a lot of the moisture out of the air) the water is much colder, as ...


10

OK, some time, so I've found the three best candidates that I can, although not all are entire planes...or in planes... First up, we have the Floridian Fly-in home + aircraft - you can rent a home, which comes WITH a plane and pool! Next, Hughes' Cosmic Muffin. This is a plane that was owned by Howard Hughes, now converted into ... a house boat. The ...


10

There's an Airbud interpretation of laws that goes along the lines of "There's no rule that says a dog can't play football". Or in XKCD's interpretation: There's a great Canadian article on it on Canada.com, where it comes down to being 'murky'. They point out the NYC rule, as well as when a landlord says you can't let your place out, or finds out you ...


10

Unterkunft - the most general word that includes everything else (just like accomodation) Hotel Gasthof, Gasthaus - translates best as "inn", may or may not offer rooms as well as food Pension - similar to bed&breakfast, the most common in rurual areas Berghütte, Hütte - shelter for hikers and mountaineers in alpine areas, generally offers only shared ...


10

I've done this several times, renting a flat in Berlin for some weeks up to about a month. Over the years, my platforms of choice have been wg-gesucht.de and zwischenmiete.de. The first one of those had more offers than the second one when I last used it in December 2012. A lot of offers were available on both platforms. On these platforms you find ...


10

One of the most beautiful place to temple lodging is Koyasan which is close to Kyoto. Different temples offer lodging with a traditional meal included. They also offer the opportunity to pray with the monks early in the morning (5 a.m.) and before dinner. In order to reach Koyasan from Kyoto you have to take a train to Osaka (Namba station) and from there ...


10

It is not likely that there is a method that work perfectly, but there are steps that you can take that will help. If I find ANY reviews which are obviously faked I would be very unlikely to stay at the hotel. If they are prepared to lie to create a positive image, or need to do so, they are probably suspect in other areas as well. When there are a range of ...


9

CouchSurfing is the best choice. Also there is http://hospitalityclub.org, but it is going to stagnation from year to year, and http://bewelcome.org. Try it all, and you'll get the variant to stay.


9

I am American, but have lived in Sri Lanka for the past 9 years (my wife is Sri Lankan), so I can offer a bit of advice based on my time here. First, a recommendation for Negombo: depending on your budget, Ranweli Holiday Village, which is about 15 minutes north of Negombo is great. I've stayed there several times over the years and always enjoyed it. ...


9

The address of the church you are talking about is surprisingly hard to find -- you can get all sorts of kinda helpful directions, but no street names are involved. From what I could find, the GPS coordinates are: 43.08208, 25.64125 The street is called "ul. Mitropolit Panaret Rashev" (ул. Митрополит Панарет Рашев). Google knows where to find it, although ...


9

Would you believe, there's a website called BedBugSigns? From the site: It can be hard to tell if you've got them or not, because they are pretty small, only come out for very short periods, and because they are pretty good at hiding. First off, you should look for some key signs. Waste - Bed bugs create a lot of waste, and that is harder to hide than ...



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