Today, I wanted to say thanks. Thanks to all you readers who post comments sharing your first-hand travel experiences, offering insight into the biggest news in travel, and helping fellow readers make the most of their vacations.
As a way of saying thanks, I thought I'd mention five things we like about you. Drum roll please ...
Those of us who review comments before posting love those laugh-out-loud moments. Usually, your comments aren't just funny, they're spot-on too, poking fun at an industry flaw that we may not be able to change, but can at least laugh about. Here's what I mean:
On blogger Carl Unger's April Fool's Day blog post Ridiculous Fees We'd Be Scared to See, reader jasonskis joked: "Effective immediately, all U.S. airlines (except for Southwest) will institute a 'Non-cooperative fee' for the passengers that don't bring luggage on board, select a window or aisle seat, order a drink or snack, request a pillow, or use the restroom on a flight."
You Share First-Hand Experience
For St. Patrick's Day this year, I rounded up some in-office affordable Ireland favorites. From driving the Ring of Kerry to hiking the island of Inishmore, our ideas covered a fair expanse of Emerald Isle.
But then something really cool happened. Readers flooded the story with even more great ideas, turning this simple blog post into a guide to the most memorable stops in Ireland. Cyn1st wrote, "Another favorite was staying the night at Ross Castle. Big rooms but homey and the lake was beautiful at sunrise. It's also reported to be haunted. All at B&B rates!" Ronhill said "Walking in Connemara and the music in Pubs in Galway were awesome." Tom in San Diego suggested driving the Ring of Kerry counterclockwise to avoid the tour buses. And Tizzkay suggested a trip to Achill Island to see the pirate queen castle.
You Introduce Us To New Places
As a group, the editors here at SmarterTravel are a pretty well-traveled bunch. But we certainly haven't seen it all, and that's why we rely on you to introduce us to new places. Readers did just that back in March when we asked for your favorite places to stay in Europe. Reader suggestions took us off the beaten path to affordable farmhouses in the Italian countryside and old royal hunting lodges in Germany.
You Keep Us on Our Toes
The editors here at SmarterTravel try to cover topics as thoroughly as possible when we write, but occasionally we miss a thing or two. And sometimes we report on statistics that are inconsistent with what travelers are seeing on the ground. When we miss, you tell us, and we appreciate it.
For instance, the Deal Detective recently rounded up some Orlando theme park deals, but didn't mention the popular free admission on your birthday offer. Within days, reader cy had added details of the deal in the comments section (thanks cy!). And, according to industry statistics, flights aren't as crowded these days. But when we asked you, you set us straight, letting us know that flights were still crowded on popular routes.
Often, readers share insights and answer their fellow readers' queries, demonstrating both generosity and a real enthusiasm for travel. Readers are willing to take the time to offer thoughtful suggestions, and to reason through complex travel scenarios in order to find the most affordable or beneficial option.
For instance, you jumped in with great suggestions about Belize travel for reader Sara. In the story Five Easy Ways to Fly First Class ... Without Paying for It, readers offered great additional suggestions for scoring upgrades onboard. And in Tim Winship's survey about whether it was easier or more difficult to get frequent flyer awards these days, you shared stories and tips with other readers.
So thanks! We love your comments and appreciate you taking the time to make them.