Rubbish recs



David Whitley sifts through the sort of tips from friends and family that are best ditched when you’re on the road 

Sometimes the best tips about where to go and what to do come from the people you know. Friends, family, work colleagues, the people you add as a friend on Facebook out of politeness more than anything else – they can all offer up some fantastic advice based on their own travel experiences. But that doesn’t mean that every personal recommendation is a piece of gold. Some, of course, can be rubbish. And any recommendations that sound a little like the ones below should be treated with the utmost wariness (and possibly contempt)...


  • Any restaurant recommended by someone who says: “We went there the first night, and it was great. And as it was so close to our hotel, we thought we may as well go there every other night too. Say hello to Luigi for us – he was ever so friendly.” The sort of person that does this is generally thoroughly undemanding, and will declare any old rubbish to be wonderful. And Luigi couldn’t care less about them.
  • Any bar picked out by a hotel concierge – unless you really want somewhere that only serves hugely expensive cocktails with a huge dollop of attitude on the side. Concierges are used to well-heeled guests wanting something sophisticated. They’re not so good with people who want down-to-earth and fun.
  • Any hotel picked out as “The best in town” by someone who has only visited the town once. They’ve probably only stayed in that hotel too – they’ve no real comparison point or idea what a reasonable price for a hotel room is in that city. The same applies to anyone proclaiming a bar or restaurant to be best when they’ve hardly seen any others.
  • Any advice on places to give a miss from people who then go on to admit how sick they were whilst there. If you spent three days in City X hunched over a toilet bowl or feeling like you’re going to die, you probably wouldn’t be too well disposed to it either.
  • “My friend’s bar/ restaurant.” This should be regarded in the same way as a recommendation for a friend’s band. It may be great, but there’s a high chance that close ties are leading to a vast overrating.
  • Any area described as “dodgy” by someone who is more than 20 years older than you. Sure, it probably is a bit dodgy – but such areas often tend to be the most fun and interesting as well. They’re probably no worse than some of the scruffier areas in your own town. Alas, people of a certain age have a tendency to get jittery on the first sighting of a hooded jacket or �?adult’ DVD shop.


 What are your tips for sifting through the tips of friends and family? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.