Please sign in to post.

Helpful answers?

Why is it, when someone asks for help finding lodging for a family of 5, people respond with hotels where they stayed as a couple, with no idea if the place has family rooms? And when a person asks if $1200 is a good airfare from San Francisco to Paris in July, someone says they paid only $720 from Atlanta to Rome in late October? Just a little rant. . .

Posted by
10344 posts

Lola: It's ok, regulars here are entitled to 1 free rant per month (or is it 1/week?). My guess is that what you have brought up happens because not everyone closely reads the original post before responding.

Posted by
9436 posts

Good points Lola, I've noticed the same. I also love when someone gives the same answer someone already gave but acts as though they are the first to say it.

Posted by
23472 posts

And it probably was October of 08. They just want to brag.

Posted by
3206 posts

And on that cheap airfare they forget to mention the 20-hour stopover in Reykjavik.

Posted by
19171 posts

OK, I just suggested to a family of four a place near Garmisch with only double rooms, but they didn't say they had to be together. (And I said it was only double rooms.) Also, sometimes the thread becomes so long someone will add a remark that was made by another weeks before. It's difficult reading and remembering everything that has been posted. As for your airfare example, I agree completely. Somebody asks how much they should budget for LA to Rome, 2 weeks, when the Euro is $1.50. How does someone help by saying how much they spent on everything, airfare and expenses on the ground for Boston to Dublin when the Euro was $1.20. (You want to know how much I spent for two weeks in Germany when the Euro was $0.97 and I got $400 airfare Denver to FRA? No, you don't!) The only way to estimate costs is in Euro (prices in Europe have really remained substantially the same for 10 years, but the exch. rate has varied radically), on the ground, without airfare. Let the people find their own airfare and budget for it themselves. Let them look at the exchange rate.

Posted by
9363 posts

It's true that many people don't carefully read the original post or the subsequent responses before posting their own. Many times I've seen original posters criticized for not providing more detail in their question when, three answers down, there is the clarification. Or someone requesting information about a particular area being given information about a whole other part of the country, or about a trip that the answerers themselves are planning (but have not yet gone on). And like Susan mentioned, it annoys me to have an answer I gave basically repeated word for word later, as though I had never posted. Maybe people are really trying to be helpful, but it would be nice if they would pass on questions they can't answer.

Posted by
5678 posts

I agree that this can be annoying if you let it. I remind myself not to take it personally when my answer is repeated two posts down. There are times when posts overlap. I've been distracted mid-post and by the time I get back to it and post I find out that someone else had answered as well. So far, i've not had duplicated suggestions, but it could happen. I do like it when people chime in and repeat that they had a similar experience. That type of response shows the reliability of the answer. So, it is helpful when someone says it takes something like it takes x number of hours to drive from Oban to Glasgow and another person adds, it took me that long too, but there wasn't must traffic. Now you have two types of drivers with similar experience so you start feel that it will take you x number of hours to drive from Oban to Glasgow. ; ) I actually wish that when people add more information to their post, they would edit the post and add it at the top as an edit. It's easier to find and you all the information in front of you when answering the question. If it's done as an additional post, you have to click back and forth or have a good memory. Pam

Posted by
9436 posts

Lee, I wasn't talking about long threads that are weeks old, I'm talking about a thread started that day that only has 4 or 5 answers. There's one right now in the West section. I agree with Pam, if someone says "I agree with so and so, we had the same experience" that is helpful. But give the original poster the credit.

Posted by
16936 posts

Lee---your suggestion in Oberamergau was fine; that isn't what I am talking about. That is a family of 4 and she didn't say how old the kids are, so they may well be adults or older teens who are fine in a separate room. I'm talking about people who say up front that they have 3 kids, say 7, 9, and 13, and people suggest a hotel that only has double rooms. The other peeve is when people ask how to keep costs down for a family trip, specifically mentioning that their kids of school age, and someone tells them to "go in the off-season". These days it is nearly impossible to take kids out of school for family vacations, so off-season travel is not an option.

Posted by
33339 posts

Hang on guys, I can't make it with only one rant a month. I can't even make one a week. Come on, can't it be more often. ... and those are all valid points... the one that gets me is the same question day after day. Why keep the archives if nobody but us ever looks there?

Posted by
10344 posts

Nigel: Yes, ok. The Helpline Subcommittee on Rants for Regulars has convened and you have been granted the privilege of additional rants, per your request.

Posted by
11496 posts

Nigel raises an excellent point about the archives, and I know we'd all like people to look at the history first, doing their own research, but I have come to the realization of late that frankly they just want it to be easy. They want to ask and get answers. Those answers might be direction such as read a RS book, go look at "this post" from the past, or it might be an entire well-thought-out answer with itinerary and links to lodging. I love trip planning. I suspect most of you (all of you!) very frequent posters do. Not everyone likes to do the planning. Some people have no idea where to start. If you can help someone have a better trip by answering the same question over and over, well, why not feed them? And if you can add a little education about doing their own research, well that is helping them learn how to fish, isn't it? OK, I am off point from where Lola started this. Lola, you are right about giving on-target advice, and the point Pamela makes about repeated answers, well, that makes me crazy too. Those with the most to offer probably don't make those mistakes, at least not too often. There is so much knowledge here. Thanks for sharing. You've helped me alot from answering direct questions to the education I have gained lurking out there and reading.

Posted by
2876 posts

The courtroom objection "asked and answered" could be used quite frequently on this board...but then, it's not a competition...right?

Posted by
1035 posts

The archives are not really user friendly, I think that is part of the problem with repeat questions. My rant is when someone asks "should I go to Rome or Paris" and the answer is "I think Rome is the best, although I have never been to Paris." Or like the current question about romantic places in Europe. Of course it is a ridiculously subjective question, but if you have only been to a few places in Europe and those are where you are recommending, then you ought to disclose that fact. By omitting Italy, France and Spain you are (unintentionally) inferring those aren't worthy when the reality it that you haven't been to those places. A related rant, if you don't like (Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, etc...) but your experience was a day trip on a tour bus, that ought to be disclosed too.

Posted by
101 posts

I agree that the archives aren't particularly user-friendly- I just had an experience with this yesterday where I was trying to quickly find some agencies (vrbo-type) to rent accommodations in Germany. I know I have seen this info, but when I search the archives, all I get is suggestions for Paris & London.

Posted by
990 posts

I've always been amused by the "which is better" posts. Ginger or Maryann? In the end, it's a question of what you personally like to do and see. Me, I'm bored with beaches, so after an hour or so, I'm ready to move on. Somebody else might think a week of lazing at the shore sounds like heaven. I don't like roughing it, but somebody else might think days of hiking are divine. I could spend a week in the nooks and crannies of the British Museum; somebody else might be bored to tears. So without much information about the preferences of the poster, it's just an opportunity to riff on what we liked or didn't like about the places in question. Dunno whether it is at all helpful to the original poster, but there you go. The Helpline is free and sometimes you get a bit more than you pay for.

Posted by
2092 posts

Another comment about the archives: It's good to have the archived info but many times we need the most recent, up-to-date info. Posts about travel in 2007 (or 1980) can certainly be interesting but might no longer be accurate. Even though sometimes it seems that change takes forever in some situations, things can change within a week...or less!

Posted by
1604 posts

I would agree that unhelpful replies are somewhat annoying, especially when the OP wants something very specific. However I do tend to cut some slack with the OP. The way I see it is that that person is probably excited about their trip and might just want to talk about it a bit. I can relate to that.

Posted by
1358 posts

I do believe that people are mostly trying to be helpful on here. As has been stated, travel is different for different people. I'm another person who's easily bored with beaches, but I could hike for days. I also don't want to spend my entire vacation in big cities (when people post on here about "I have two weeks and want to see London, Paris, Rome, Munich, Madrid, and Amsterdam", it makes me cringe, because I can't understand why someone would want to spend that much time in big cities). But to each his own. You know what people say about opinions.... I figure I'll give mine with whichever disclaimers go along with it, and let the OP sort it out. As far as advice on traveling with families goes; we did a lot of flying-by-the-seat-of-our-pants traveling before kids, just going where we felt like going that day and finding a room when we got there, and were able to keep costs down pretty easily. With a family of 4, it's not so simple. Family rooms are harder to come by and tend to be really expensive. Most hotels and B&B's charge per person, so a 50 euro double has turned into a 100 euro quad. I've had to do a lot more of my own research to find places to stay with kids instead of relying on Rick's books. It's a whole new world of travel, but it's the best experience I've had. But it is completely different than traveling in Europe with 2. My sister was amazed when planning our trip to Ireland last year, that most hotels in Ireland have only double rooms. Her response was "don't the Irish still have big families? Where do they stay?"