Travel: How to Apply "User Reviews" for Booking

User-review sites have changed the way most people plan their travel, giving us an enormously useful tool for evaluating hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and the like. is the big kahuna, with more than 20 million reviews, mostly of hotels — but also less traditional lodging like B&Bs, villas and private homes — as well as restaurants and attractions. 

User reviews are helpful but not foolproof, so here are some tips to keep in mind...

• Read between the lines, asking yourself if the writer shares your mind-set, or if a negative review is the result of a persnickety traveler or a singular bad experience. As a rule of thumb, the more people have contributed, the more valuable overall ratings become.
• Always see how recent the post was. Establishments are quick to change, move or close.
• Always look at photos posted by users; you may find them more telling than words could ever hope to be.

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