I know Trip Advisor has been around for a long time and I have used it on ocassion. What many people don’t realise is that Trip Advisor offers more than just reviews on accommodation. On our most recent trip to Thailand, my family and I (well to be honest, my teenage son) discovered the benefits of using Trip Advisor for choosing local restaurants and cafes.  On our first night in Thailand, my son, (who by the way has his mobile phone permanently attached to his hand and thinks there is nothing better in life than free wii-fii), announced that the restaurant literally across the road from our resort had been rated highly on Trip Advisor.  I am constantly surprised by how unpredictable teenagers are. They can be so helpful at times when you least expect it.  Most times, they walk around in a haze pretending to be useless and incompetent on the off chance you might ask them to do something. Whatever possessed my son to google best restaurants in Kata on Trip Advisor, I’ll never know.  What I did know was that it was a no-brainer where to eat that night, especially as we were all a bit tired from the flight and hadn’t gotten our bearings yet.  

As it turns out, the food was excellent, the service was great and the price was good, exactly as reviewed on Trip Advisor. I had come to Thailand looking for fresh tasty food and on my first night, I got it.  The bar was set high but I couldn’t be happier.  The next day we were out and about and randomly picked a place for lunch.  Disappointing, poor service, small portions and expensive was what we got.  That night for dinner, we decided to go to another restaurant recommended by Trip Advisor.  Success again.  The food was fresh, delicious, service friendly and inexpensive (which by the way made my frugal English husband very happy).  And when hubby is happy, everyone is happy.

We did continue to go to restaurants which we hadn’t looked up on Trip Advisor and sometimes it was hit and miss.  Moretimes than not, a miss.  We began using Trip Advisor more and more and pretty much every restaurant that was rated highly on Trip Advisior turned out to be good.  We went back to some places 2-3 times because the food was so good.  The great thing about Trip Advisor is that you can choose restaurants that suit any budget from the more expensive ones to cheaper ones. 

We also made a game of letting the kids choose a restaurant for our evening meal each night.  They would take turns choosing somewhere to eat based on Trip Advisor that was good, cheap, local and fresh.  They could decide whether they wanted traditional or Western food.  The kids loved to outdo each other and I must say we had some pretty good meals.  Even my husband got in on the fun. Unsurprisingly, he chose a restaurant completely off the beaten track that he insisted we walk to, despite mass protests and a few outbursts by the girls (they hate walking anywhere unless it involves shopping, in which case they can walk for miles), and which we were all convinced didn’t exist.  As it turned out, it was one of our best meals in Thailand, which we all grudgingly admitted.  And of course very cheap, but that goes without saying. 

I truly believe that a holiday is most memorable when you get the right combination of things and food is definitely one of them.  You just enjoy the whole experience more when the food is great.  I do love it when my kids enjoy the local food and become adventurous in their choices.  I never want them to feel afraid to try new things especially when it comes to food.  To me, food is a large part of foreign travel and a great way to experience the culture.

I am now a Trip Advisor convert and do know that on our next holiday, I am definitely going to use it as much as possible when eating out.  It is also a great way to get the whole family involved.  And it actually comes in handy to have your teenager's iphone wherever you are.  I never thought I would say it, but don’t leave home without it, the teenagers that is, the iphone comes with them. Sandyx