A Guide to Navigating Travel Recommendations
Everyone has different expectations when they travel. We all come from different backgrounds, prefer different things and have unique ways of how we like to see the world.
This became obviously clear to me during my recent trip to South East Asia. I spent a considerable amount of time researching cafes, restaurants and hotels, reading Google and Tripadvisor reviews, marking them on Google Maps, and then spent even more time trying out all the places. Over the course of 2,5 months travelling I became pretty good at researching and assessing places.
What I've found many times, is that a place can have amazing online reviews, but still disappoints when I visit myself. I’ve come to understand that every single person writing a review comes from a different background and has different expectations.
So I believe that in order to reduce your time researching places and actually enjoy and live your trip (being present!), it’s important to know where the reviewer comes from. What’s their preferred style of travel? What do they look for in a place?
In order to help you make the most of my Bali, Thailand, Vietnam and travel posts and recommendations, below is my preferred style of travel. I hope this will help you reduce the time you spend planning your trip, waste less time at places you won’t end up liking, and instead find the spots you’ll really love.
I try to avoid overly touristy spots and am not a big fan of traditional sightseeing.
I love Slow Travel. Instead of hopping from one place to the next in the shortest amount of time possible, I much prefer to only visit a couple of places and spend a month or two there (unless it's a road trip). I like getting a real feel for a place, live there as if I actually lived there, find the best cafes the locals go to, etc. And I’m totally cool with that, even if it means I’ll have to come back to the country 10 more times to see all of it.
I don't like super budget hostels. I prefer a bit of comfort. That doesn’t mean I need to stay in 5 star hotels all the time, but I prefer a comfy bed and a private, clean shower over staying in the cheapest place possible no matter what.
I love healthy, fresh, clean food - BUT I also believe in balance and trying local dishes, and I’m not into intense hippie/yogi vibes that often come with healthy food in SE Asia. Instead I love a well-designed space (and if that means a few more tourists being around, I am happy with that too, as long as the atmosphere is right).
In regards to my time in Bali specifically, I spent a lot of time in retreats/resorts, enjoying good healthy vegan food and spending time at spas, relaxing and getting treatments. That’s what my Bali reviews and recommendations are based on. I know it's not for everyone, and that’s exactly why I’m writing this post, so that you can know whether my recommendations and tips apply to you and if you’d enjoy some of the things and places I’m sharing.
If you’re like me and enjoy getting to know a country and culture, seeing its beauty, and find it hard to allow yourself to go on a “spa only” kind of holiday, know that it’s perfectly ok to allow yourself to relax. I believe it’s about being honest with yourself, becoming clear on your intentions and then accepting whatever you want to get out of the trip - no matter whether that’s exploring or soaking up all the spa treatments.
Let me know if this guide is helpful and if some of my views resonate with you. What are some things you look for on a trip?