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Q: How do we know if a resort is being described honestly in a brochure?

Michele says...
You don't. Reputable companies do make an effort to check out resorts, but there's no guarantee. The star system is just a guideline since a third party doesn’t determine the star ratings. There's even a hotel in Dubai that claims to be a 7-star property because they can get away with it. The onus is on you to do your research. Check for recent resort reviews on tripadvisor.com, and ask friends or your travel agent about their experiences. Call the resort, too, and ask questions: Have rooms been updated? Is there construction going on? Check the destination's official tourism site to see expected weather conditions for the time of year you're going because, in brochure land, the skies are perpetually blue. And that’s not always the case in real life.

A travel writer extraordinaire, Michele Sponagle has visited more than 40 countries around the world. Click here to send her your questions.