When traveling, you want to have a great experience that doesn’t blow your budget. This means choosing the right hotel and accommodations, flying coach rather than first class, and using frequent flyer miles or other rewards for airline tickets and hotels.
There are many different types of hotels, from the iconic grand hotels to the quirky and cool-minded boutiques, picturesque inns that seem out of a storybook to all-inclusive resorts. There are also hostels and Airbnb experiences that are a good alternative to hotels for travelers on a budget.
Guidebooks are a logical starting point for finding hotels in places you plan to visit, but the number of choices and details can be overwhelming. The Internet offers a more targeted approach, with search engines that allow you to filter by star rating, location and accommodation type. You can even look at photos of rooms to get a feel for whether they are what you want.
When choosing a hotel, make sure it’s in the right neighborhood for your needs. If you want to spend a lot of time out and about, it makes sense to be close to the things you’re interested in. A central location may also be important for getting to the airport and train or bus station, and for accessing transportation to other destinations.
A hotel’s amenities are another important consideration. Some of these are included in the room rate, while others are additional charges or gratuities. You should check carefully to see what is and isn’t included in the quoted price, and ask questions about any unclear items.
Some hotels charge a “resort fee” or “amenity fee,” a per-night add-on that includes a variety of services and benefits, including use of the hotel’s pool, fitness center, etc. These fees are not included in the basic room rate, so it’s important to read the fine print and ask about them before booking.
If you have kids, be sure to consider a hotel’s family-friendliness. This will include things like cribs, play areas and family-friendly restaurants. It will also include any discounted children’s meals and babysitting options. Other factors to consider are noise level and parking availability.
Some travel experts recommend booking a hotel as close to the dates you intend to stay as possible, since rates can be much lower at that time. The reason is that hotels are worried about not being able to fill their empty rooms, so they cut rates to attract business. They are hoping to recoup some of their investment and still have some money left over after paying their staff, cleaning and securing the rooms. This is especially true of last-minute deals. These are often advertised in travel newsletters and websites, on social media, and through hotel apps and loyalty programs. These apps can help you keep track of prices for specific dates, destinations or hotels, and some will even alert you to the best deals that come up. They can save you a lot of time when searching for hotels!