How to Use TripAdvisor

By Kay FleuryUpdated on March 17, 2022

Tech Life Unity independently reviews everything we recommend. When you buy something after clicking on a link to another website, we may earn a commission. Learn More

Now that you know what TripAdvisor is, and how to create an account, it’s time to learn all about how to use TripAdvisor, and all the great things you can do with this website. TripAdvisor can be a great resource for learning about travel destinations and booking prices. Plus, you can read millions of reviews from people who have actually stayed in the accommodations you are interested in.

Read below to learn all about TripAdvisor.

How to book with TripAdvisor

1. Log into your account. Click Log In at the top-right of the home page. The fill out your email address and password, and click Log In.

2. From the main page, indicate your search criteria. You can choose from hotels, vacation rentals, things to do, restaurants, and flights. Then click in the highlighted box labelled “Enter destination or hotel name,” and enter the name of your destination.

Find hotels and book with TripAdvisor

Click the calendar to indicate your travel dates. Use the drop-down menus to choose the number of rooms and party size, and then click Find Hotels.

3. From the search results page, find a hotel that appeals to you. Prices for this hotel will appear on the right side of the screen. The first window shows you the best deal offered by any of TripAdvisor’s partners. The second window shows you other deals for the same price or higher from the remaining partners. Click View Deal to see the best deal, or click any of the blue links to view the other deals.

Find the best deals with TripAdvisor prices listed beside each hotel

Doing this will take you off of TripAdvisor and onto the partner website. You will then have to directly book your vacation on that website, using the system presented to you. TripAdvisor is not itself a booking website, but compiles prices from its partner websites to show you where you can get the best deal.

4. You can access your bookings through your account. Click your name, and then select Bookings from the drop-down menu.

Access your bookings through the menu

Access your TripAdvisor bookings here from this point on!

Searching for information on TripAdvisor accommodations

One of TripAdvisor’s best features is that it allows its users to access millions of reviews from travelers all over the world, in many languages. In these reviews, travelers explain their exact experience staying at accommodations you are interested in. Simply search for a hotel or resort you are thinking of staying at, and read what others have to say about it.

You can start your search on TripAdvisor for information about accommodations right from the home page. Click in the first highlighted box labelled “I’m Looking For…” and choose an option from the drop-down menu: either hotels, vacation rentals, things to do, restaurants, or flights. Then in the second highlighted box labelled “Enter a Destination,” type in the name of a destination (for example, the name of a city you are interested in). Then click the Search button.

Search for accommodations with the search bar

Scroll through the next page to view the accommodations that have been reviewed. The green circles below an accommodation’s name show you its overall rating on TripAdvisor (i.e. the more filled circles, the higher the rating). See how many reviews are available, and where the hotel is ranked in relation to other accommodations in the same city. You can also see excerpts from recent reviews, and keywords that express some of the best components of the hotel. If you use the two boxes highlighted in the top-left corner of the screenshot below to select check-in and check-out dates, you will see prices for the hotel if there is availability on the dates you have selected.

View information about each hotel you search

To view any hotel in more detail, click on the blue name of the hotel.

Click on any hotel name to view it in more detail

Once you’re on a hotel’s page, you can quickly see information about the accommodations you are interested in. At the top, see the TripAdvisor rating (green circles), and the ranking of other hotels in the area. You can also see contact information for the hotel. At the top right, you can see if the hotel has been given the “Traveler’s Choice Badge,” meaning that users really like this hotel.

In the center-left, you can see the hotel’s prices and availability for specific check-in and check-out dates. Click on the calendars to choose or change these dates. Click the yellow View Deal button to see the website that offers the best deal for this hotel. Click the blue prices underneath that to view deals on other travel websites. You can also see the star rating, and key words related to amenities the hotel offers.

A photo will appear in the center of the screen; click the arrow to cycle through photos. Or, you can click the photo icons to the right to choose a category of photos: professional, traveler, panoramic, or area map.

Scroll through the page to view aspects of the accommodations in detail, sorted by category

Scroll down and select a category to quickly view an aspect of the accommodations you are interested in. You can also click the Save icon to remember this hotel and view it again later.

Select a category to jump to information you are looking for

After clicking on any category, you can filter through your results, choosing from the options available. Click on any check box to see results that match that description. Click on keywords to see information about a specific topic. When reading reviews, for example, you can click the check boxes that say “English” and “Families” to read reviews written in English by travelers with families. As a further example, you can also click the “sunset bar” keyword to read reviews that mention that particular amenity.

Click on reviews and use filters to find reviews pertinent to you

When reading reviews, remember to read a wide range. TripAdvisor is likely to show you the most “helpful” review according to its users, but keep in mind that they could highlight a positive review in order to promote a particular venue. Sorting by date can be particularly helpful, as reading the most recent reviews (or reviews written in the month you will be traveling) will be more useful to you than reviews from five years ago.

Don’t forget to check out the Q&A category, where travelers ask and answer questions about the venue. Ask your own question to learn more about that particular hotel! The Room Tips category also pulls information from reviews about which rooms are the best to stay in! 

Saving information about your favorite TripAdvisor places

TripAdvisor allows you to save information about the accommodations you are interested in, so you can easily find them again. You can also save something for the future in case you want to go back and look at a hotel or resort and see what has changed. To do this, simply click the Save button in the top-right corner of a location or hotel’s TripAdvisor information page.

Click Save to keep properties to view later

To access these saved location, click your name at the top of any page, and select Saved Trips from the drop-down menu.

Click your menu and Saved Trips to find places you have saved on TripAdvisor

You can now go back to any locations you have saved in the past! Easily access them here from now on.

Writing a TripAdvisor review

If you’ve stayed at a hotel before, you can write your own review to help other users make good decisions about their vacations!

There are two ways to write a review on TripAdvisor. The first is to click Review on the main menu bar. You can then select a venue you have saved, or one you have recently viewed. You can also click the green Write a Review button on the page of any hotel you are viewing. In either case, make sure you are signed into your account so other users know what kind of traveler you are.

At the top of any TripAdvisor page, click the Review button, and select a hotel from the drop-down menu. Click on any of your saved hotels, or the hotels you have recently viewed (which will appear at the top). You can also click Review another Place, where you can search for a hotel you have stayed at. If you can’t find the place you would like to review, click Add a Listing to TripAdvisor.

Click to add a Review to TripAdvisor

You can also write a review from a hotel’s information page. Simply click the Review category, or scroll down to that section. Then click the green Write a Review button to be taken directly to the review writing page on TripAdvisor.

Click Write a Review to add your own review to TripAdvisor

On the review page, you will be asked to select many options. Click in any box or circle to make a selection. Click in any highlighted box and use your keyboard to type a free form answer to the questions you are asked. You can enter information including your overall rating of the property, a title for your review, what type of trip you were taking and when you travelled, and then you will have a free-form box to type whatever you like about the property.

Answer questions and write comments to review a property

After filling out all the information you can, and answering all of TripAdvisor’s questions, you can add photos if you like. Click the green Add a Photo button. You can do this for as many images as you like to help other users get a real feel for what the property looks like. Click the check box to comply with the review policies, and then click the large green Submit Your Review button. You can also click the blue Preview Your Review text next to it to see what you review will look like when it is published to the website.

Add photos to your review

Collecting TripAdvisor “Badges”

TripAdvisor allows its users to collect “Badges” as they contribute to the website. The badges appear on your profile, and show other users how seriously/often you contribute to the website, or how experienced of a traveler you are. Though these do not offer any benefit to you, they help when you read other user’s reviews, and often, other users will take your review more seriously if you have badges in a particular category.

You must create an account in order to earn badges. TripAdvisor offers the following badges:

Reviewer badges

Posted Reviews

Badge Title

1 - 2

New Reviewer

3 - 4


5 - 9

Senior Reviewer

10 - 19


20 - 49

Senior Contributor

50 +

Top Contributor

Expertise Badges

Each time you publish three reviews in a single category (such as hotels, attractions, or restaurants), you will receive an upgraded Expertise Badge for that category.

Passport Badge

Review at least two destinations to receive a TripAdvisor “Passport Badge.”

Helpful Votes Badges

TripAdvisor users can “like” posts, indicating that they were helpful. Upgrade your badge for receiving 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100 helpful votes for your posts.

Explorer Badges

You can receive an explorer badge for being the first person to post a review on a hotel, restaurant, or attraction in any language. You can receive as many Explorer Badges as you like!

Using the TripAdvisor “Travel Map”

TripAdvisor offers its users the ability to create a “travel map” showing exactly where they’ve been.

To access and update your Travel Map:

  1. Log into your TripAdvisor account.
  2. Click on your name, then click Travel Map from the drop-down menu.
  3. Enter the name of a city you’ve been to in the highlighted box, and click on the name when it pops up.
  4. Click the check mark if you’ve been there, the star if you want to go, or the heart if it’s a favorite.
Use the TripAdvisor travel map to keep track of places you’ve been

Exchanging messages with other TripAdvisor travelers

TripAdvisor allows you to send and receive messages with other users. This will help you if you wanted to speak to anyone who has visited a destination you are interested in, or if you want to know more about a review they posted. users are under no obligation to answer messages, but they can choose to help each other out in this way.

To send a message on TripAdvisor:

1. Log in to your account.

2. Access a review of anything you are interested in on the website.

3. Locate a user, and click on their name or profile picture.

4. On the pop-up menu, click Message in the bottom-left corner.

5. In the highlighted box, type your message, click the check box, and click Send message.

Click Message to send a message to other TripAdvisor users
Type your message and click Send Message

Updating your TripAdvisor profile

1. Sign into your account using your email, Facebook, or Google accounts.

Sign in to your TripAdvisor account

2. Click on your name, and click Profile. This is how you access your TripAdvisor profile, and how you can make changes to it.

Click the menu and click Profile to access your profile settings

3. On the left side of the page, click Update Your Information. This is how you access the webpage that allows you to make changes to your TripAdvisor profile.

Click update your information to change your TripAdvisor profile

4. Click in the “About Me” box and type in something about yourself. Click the boxes below that and type in or select options to update your age, gender, and location. You can add tags by clicking on them; tags are key words about you that allow users to get a feel for what kind of traveler you are. This lets them know whether you value the same things in your accommodations as they will. Adding information about yourself can help other users feel comfortable trusting any reviews you add to TripAdvisor, but any of these additions are options.

Fill out information in the About Me section that you would like other travelers to see

5. Click Save to confirm the changes. This will update your TripAdvisor profile! You can do this as often as you want.

Click Save to confirm the changes to your TripAdvisor profile

Signing out of your TripAdvisor account

To sign out of your account, click on your name from any page on the website. Then from the drop-down menu, click Sign out. You are now signed out from TripAdvisor. It’s that easy!

Click the menu and then click Sign Out

Now you know how to use TripAdvisor! Consider checking out some of our other articles with additional resources about TripAdvisor: learn how to contact TripAdvisor customer service (in our next tutorial), how to delete your account, or learn how TripAdvisor makes money.