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Travel Advice

Thursday, September 16, 2010

TripAdvisor’s Not So Trusted Travel Advice

TripAdvisor, which bills itself as the world’s most trusted travel advice, just came out with their listing of the Top 10 Beach & Sun Destinations in the World. Number one on the list is Providenciales, otherwise known as Provo, in the Turks & Caicos. What a joke! I last went to Provo to write a scuba diving story on this Caribbean locale for Islands Magazine. Except for a sublime stretch of beach that was crowded with many overpriced hotels, I found the place to be another one of those scruffy islands in the Caribbean with no mountains, no waterfalls, no tropical allure, no beauty. It’s a culturally void locale where you can pop into the local bar and watch Monday Night Football on TV and feel like you’re back in the States. In fact, my favorite part of the trip was actually leaving the island and going underwater on a far more enchanting dive.

Number five on that same list is Myrtle Beach. This is one of the top beach destinations in the world?! Are you freaken kidding me?! Then there are two locales in Mexico, one in Jamaica, Puerto Rico, San Diego. Sure, they threw in the Cook Islands, Boracay, Philippines, and Byron Bay, Australia, but these are also bizarre choices. The first article I ever sold was on the Cook Islands, so it remains a nostalgic place for me. There’s a nice island trek across Rarotonga, but the landscape is not even in the same league as other South Pacific locales, like the mind-blowing verdant volcanic landscape of Bora Bora or any island in the Marquesas, French Polynesia. As for Byron Bay, it’s a popular place to hang for celebrities, but it can’t compete with the beaches north of Brisbane, like Coolangatta, or the largest sand island in the world, Fraser Island.

This list wasn’t made by any one who can remotely call themselves the most trusted voice in travel.  Judging from the list of locales, many of which are easy flights from the Northeast, I think it was written by some editor in the corporate offices of TripAdvisor in Boston, who has rarely traveled farther than Fenway Park. TripAdvisor is best used as a reference for hotels once you know exactly where you are going. I would never use them as expert opinion to find a stunning beach locale. Instead toss this list in the garbage and take my trusted expert advice, culled from over 20 years of being a professional travel writer. If you want one of the top beach and sun destinations in the world, start with Capetown, Folegandros, Greece, Kas, Turkey, the Gold Coast north of Brisbane, the Big Island of Hawaii, Savusavu, Fiji, Bahia, Brazil, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, the Seychelles, and yes, Bora Bora!
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/16/10 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Life Gives You Lemons, Make Pastrami

We were all packed to go on our kid’s first jaunt to Europe last week when our flight was cancelled because of the volcanic ash. There would be no touring of the Tate Modern or dinners at French bistros, at least for now. Obviously, we were all disappointed when we realized there was no way we could get a flight to Europe over our children’s April break.  So we did the next best thing. Got in the car and drove to Manhattan for four days. Instead of Madame Tussauds in London, we visited Madame Tussauds in Times Square. Instead of dining at L’Entrecote in the 17th arrondissement, we dined at the new L’Entrecote at the corner of Lexington and 52nd Street. There is only one item on the menu, steak frites, served tartare, rare, medium, or well-done, and paired perfectly with crispy French fries.

Our favorite day was going down to the Lower East Side to take one of the tours at the Tenement Museum, grab a sour dill from the Pickle Guy at the corner of Essex and Grant, a crème brulee doughnut from Doughnut Plant around the corner, taste the lox at the century-old Russ and Daughters, and then feast on the best pastrami in the city at Katz’s Deli. After lunch, we ran into the artist Shepard Fairey, creating his latest work on the corner of Houston and the Bowery. An added bonus was seeing Green Day perform live after seeing a performance of “American Idiot,” the new Broadway musical based on their music. In the end, we had a great time and London and Paris will have to wait until the summer. After all, the nature of travel is to be spontaneous. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/29/10 at 01:00 PM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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