a picture of a stunning beach
I didn’t order clouds at my five star resort…

TripAdvisor used to be considered a mini oracle for holiday makers. But when that crazy toilet brush inspecting man appeared on “Attack of the TripAdvisor” a few months ago, people began to question the mental stability of some its posters.

For the most part, TripAdvisor reviews are short, factual and relatively inoffensive. But every so often some loon with a laptop launches a verbose attack on a recently visited venue they feel ‘wronged them’ in some way.

Researching hotels in Manchester I discovered a disparaging 800 word review on one of the city’s five star hotels. From the parking charges to the cleanliness of the plug hole, every tedious detail of the property was discussed in mind numbing detail. Perhaps these people fancy themselves as travel writers, or maybe they just have unnaturally strong feelings about toilet roll supplies. Whatever the reason, it’s downright weird.

One review said something along the lines of “The temperature of my drink was INADAQUATE. Avoid this hotel!!!!” Call me crazy but I can’t help thinking it would have been far easier (and less time consuming) to request some ice cubes from the waiter, rather than venting to a computer in a warm beverage induced haze of fury.

It’s not just TripAdvisor reviews either. British people complain about the strangest stuff abroad. At a posh hotel in India I overheard a couple telling staff they’d be unwell during the night and were planning to ‘report’ the hotel. When questioned about what they’d been eating, they admitted to visiting various restaurants across Delhi. Somehow I doubt the tabloids will be falling over themselves to report “Couple get dodgy bellies from unknown source whilst travelling in a developing country.”  It would be more newsworthy if you left India with your digestive system unscathed.

So how do you complain without looking like a whinging old misery moo or a total wackadoodle? Firstly, learn to pick your battles. A bit like the time your high school boyfriend dumped you for that girl with boobs, if last week’s hotel meal came with the wrong sauce, just let it go. If there’s a real problem, like a filthy hotel room or a bug in your drink, politely inform your host/hotel manager/tour guide of your problems. In all likelihood they’ll deal with the issue quickly and efficiently. In fact you’ll probably get extra specially nice treatment just to make if for it. Following my own ‘cockroach in wine’ situation I merely held the glass up to a waitress, casually pointing out my little hitchhiker. Horrified (I actually thought she might faint), she promptly replaced it with a parasite free (and much larger) glass.

If for some reason your problems aren’t resolved THEN you can go ahead and kick some ass.  But be warned, blogs and websites like TripAdvisor are a dangerous place to vent your fury. May I suggest you come over all British and write a strongly worded letter instead? Having threatened to write at least one a week since I was old enough to put pen to paper (and sent none) I truly believe strongly worded letters are the most wondrous form of anger management.  Plus there’s no danger of libel.