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Topics include Transportation, Dining Scene, United States: For Foreign Visitors & more!
For general help and questions about using TripAdvisor, check out the Help Center, which has a tiny link at the bottom of every TripAdvisor (TA) page. The TripAdvisor Support forum is also there to help you. But if you're already familiar with the site, here are some more advanced tips & tricks that may help.
The TripAdvisor Guide to Writing Helpful Reviews has many great tips for writing reviews people can use.
Don't write your review until your vist is complete. It's a bad idea to submit a review of your experience thus far on day one of a four-day hotel stay. If things are going well, there is no guarantee that they will continue to go well. If things are going badly, you should bring the situation to the attention of management rather than writing a review. Also, TA reviews are often published very quickly. If you write a negative review on day one of your stay, how do you think management will react? On the other hand, if you have a great stay, but then you later find that there was a billing problem, how will you feel? Remember that you can only review the same hotel or attraction once every three months, and restaurants can only be re-reviewed once a month. So if your experience turns around completely, you would have to get TA staff to remove the original review in order to submit a review that reflects the entire experience. When is your visit complete? When you have paid the bill and left the premises. If you paid your bill by credit card, you may want to wait until you've checked your credit card statement.
Write your reviews in a word processing program, like Microsoft Word, not in TA's "Write a review" form. When the review is ready, save it to your computer, then cut & paste it to the "Write a review" form. Using a word processor may seem like an unnecessary additional step, but it has many advantages.
1. You have access to your word processor's more powerful spellchecker and grammar checker. Your web browser may or may not have spell checking.
2. Word processors have the auto-save feature, which automatically saves your text at regular intervals. Web browsers don't do this; if you close the web page that you're writing a review in, or your browser crashes, you may lose your entire review instead of just a little bit of it.
3. Using a word processor means that you can take your time writing a review. You can write part or all of it one day, and then review or complete it on another day. This gives you a better chance of spotting errors and omissions.
4. If something goes wrong with the review and it is lost after you submit it to TripAdvisor (which can happen for a variety of reasons), you have a copy on your computer and you can easily resubmit it. When businesses close permanently, TripAdvisor removes their listing and all of their reviews. They will not (as of Jan 2013) inform you that they are removing your review. So if you want to have a copy of the review to refer to years later, you need to save it on your computer rather than relying on TA to always have it on their website.
In order to review something, it must have a listing on TripAdvisor first. Sometimes, you may need to submit a new listing. How do I request that a place be added to TripAdvisor? (Help Center). Here are some tips regarding submitting new listings.
Name of listing - There are many restaurant chains that are local, with many locations in just a few cities. If you're submitting a new location for a chain restaurant, include a brief location description as part of the listing name. For example, if Jazzy Cafe is a chain with 6 locations in the same city, name the listing "Jazzy Cafe - Magnolia Boulevard" rather than just "Jazzy Cafe". If the Jazzy Cafe website has location names, make sure to use the same location name from the restaurant website on the listing form.
Country - You don't need to scroll all the way down the list to find your country. If the listing is in the United Kingdom, tapping the letter 'u' once will take you to the start of the list of countries beginning with 'u', and then you can find United Kingdom by just scrolling down a little bit. Or you can tap the letter 'u' five times to go to the United Kingdom; six times to select "United States".
Type of Business - Select Hotel for any kind of overnight accommodation, whether it's a hotel, a hostel, a campground, or a bed & breakfast. Choose Restaurant for any food-related business that is useful for travellers and open to the general public. (Restaurants at ill-inclusive resorts and private clubs cannot be listed.) So by TripAdvisor's very inclusive definition of a restaurant, you can submit not just sit-down restaurants with table service, but ice cream parlours, cafes, delicatessens, bakeries, take-out (take-away) only restaurants, fast food outlets, and much more. Finally, an Attraction is a permanent place of interest or a one-day tour. (TA doesn't accept listings for multi-day tours.) So that would cover anything from museums to public monuments to public parks.
Types of cuisines (restaurants only) - To find "Greek" in the list, just type a 'g' and all the options containing the letter 'g' will come up. Keep typing and the options will narrow down until it's easy to select "Greek" from a much shorter list than you had at the start.
Multiple types of cuisines - If a restaurant fits into two or more categories, such as "Vietnamese" and "Fast Food", just type in the names of each category; if there is a match for that type in the TA system, it will pop up. Restaurants can be listed in many categories at once, such as "Bakery", "Dessert", "French" (for a patisserie, for example).
Attraction types - If you are trying to submit a new attraction, you wil be asked to choose an attraction category. Brief descriptions come up when you click each type of attraction to explain what is meant by that. Also, once you choose a particular category, you will see many examples of the types of listings that are considered to fall within that category. Some types of attractions may go into two or more different categories. For example, New York's Central Park is listed under both “Sights & Landmarks” and “Parks & Nature", while Hawaii's Waikiki Beach is listed under both “Parks & Nature” and “Outdoor Activities”. (A shorter list and description of the categories can be found in the Help Center page, "Things to Do listing guidelines".)
The category descriptions are shown in bold type below.