The only wrong way to book a hotel room is to be uninformed.
When it comes to lodging options on your vacation, you have choices galore. Booking the best cheap hotel room? That depends on your definition of cheap. I am a big fan of using the word “value” for your vacation dollar spend. In other words, are you GETTING what you’re paying for? Which brings me to a few ideas/questions to consider before you book any hotel room for your next vacation.
My only assumption is you (the person/people) can’t afford to get it wrong. In my opinion, lodging should enhance or be commensurate with the rest of your other vacation elements. The same can be said for your car rental, airline trip and itinerary, etc.
When you begin your hotel search, I am assuming you already know what state, city or region you’re visiting. The first question is to consider, Vacation rental, Hotel, Motel, Campground, Air B&B or home swap. VRBO or HomeAway house thousands of vacation renal options throughout the world. Air B&B.com showcases their options. But if you’re leaning towards a hotel or motel, then check the travel aggregators such as Kayak.com or OTA’s such as Hotels.com, Priceline.com or Expedia.com.
Once you have your list of potential hotel/motel options, then consider the following:
Of course, price is a major factor for most of us. Price is pretty good barometer for the type of hotel/motel you’ll be staying in.
Is the hotel/motel close to the activities you’re interested in? Is the neighborhood safe? Is the city centre with a reasonable walking distance? Is it on the beach or across the street (or in some cases across a busy highway)? Whats the view like?
Amenities, Services & Facilities
How much time will you be sending on the property should be relative to the amenities and services you’ll require. Is the property under construction? Is it new? Has it been recently renovated? All good questions to consider?
As you continue to refine your target list, it’s time to get an opinion or two. Fist, check with your friends and family network. This is something you may have already done, if not, then now's the time. Second, check a few hotel review sites such as TripAdvisor. And when you do, look for trends in the reviews and eliminate the “glowing” reviews and a-typical negative ones. Look for the median from reviewers who have actually stayed there.
Once you refine you list even further, check with a qualified, independent travel agent, call the official tourism bureau, check with the chamber of commerce and/or the better business bureau.
When I get particularly excited about my options, I call the property directly and ask a few questions. I always inquire about the cancellation options and refund policy.
So there you go! As always, if you have tips or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below.
About The Author
Erik Hastings, a.k.a. Erik the Travel Guy is an EMMY award-winning television personality who is rapidly emerging as “America’s Travel Expert”. He is the host and managing editor of the internationally syndicated television series "Beyond Your Backyard" for public broadcasting stations (PBS) and other networks/VOD platforms. Erik leads an incredibly talented team of industry pros as the driving force of his platform. Erik understands and believes travel makes the world a better place and the industry directly supports millions of families all over the world. He wants his viewers to experience the potentially life-changing positive power of travel.
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TV Series: Beyond Your Backyard
I am on a mission to get you traveling more often. As the host of the Emmy award- winning, nationally syndicated television television for PBS and the Create channel, "Beyond Your Backyard," I travel (on average) 25 weeks per year. I am very grateful for the opportunity to meet cool people, experience new places, eat delicious food and work with the best production crew in the world. Hopefully, through this blog, you will join me on my travels and be reminded just how exciting it is to be alive!