If you’re doing a lot of traveling and spending a lot of time sleeping somewhere new every few nights then you probably know how important it is when it comes to how to choose the right hotel.
With so many different online search engines and hotel booking websites available these days it can actually be quite tricky finding somewhere suitable and affordable to spend the night that comes with everything you want.
For many people, it’s the nightly cost of accommodation that is usually the biggest expense apart from airline or transportation tickets so knowing how to choose the right place to stay can have a huge impact on whether or not your trip turns out great and affordable or results in you not having a good time abroad and going over budget.
Today, I want to go over some tips and other things for you to remember when you’re looking for a hotel to spend the night wherever it is you’re traveling.
You’ll be able to apply these tips to almost anywhere in the world and hopefully they’ll help you find suitable accommodation that matches your budget and all of your preferences as well.
How to Choose the Right Hotel When You’re Traveling
Start With a Simple Search Using Your Travel Dates
The first thing you should do when you’re looking for a hotel is to use an online hotel booking search engine, add your travel dates and then click search.
The two hotel booking sites that I’ve had the most luck with are:
Apart from that there are plenty of options available so just head to your favorite one and you can move forward from there.
After you click search you’re going to want to take a look at all of the results and sort them either by price, review or distance from city center.
I like to look for hotels based on these three main criteria and so far I’ve had a pretty good success rate in finding suitable hotels to stay at overnight.
Once you’ve applied the filters just take a look at what’s available and make a mental note of any ideal locations and how much it’s going to cost you for a hotel during your travel dates.
From here you can start to narrow down your choices until there are a handful of different hotels that have caught your eye and then you can start looking into the following tips and questions.
Choose a Good Location
Once you have sorted by price and you have gotten rid of any of the hotels that don’t have good reviews you can then start checking out the location of any of the options that you find suitable.
If you’re traveling by car then you might want something closer to the edge of town that’s easier to get to and if you’re traveling by train, bus, or arriving by the airport then you’re going to want to look for something in the city centre so that you’re within walking distance of all of the main landmarks and other things to see.
It’s a good idea to mark down anywhere of interest that you want to check out or mark down somewhere that you have to be and try to look for a hotel that’s close to these areas.
If you’re on a road trip or you’re driving to your destination then you’re going to want to check to see if there is parking available at your hotel, how much it costs and whether it’s secure or not.
Many hotels in the United States offer free parking and in Europe this is still available but it’s not as common so be sure to check out the hotel website or call ahead to see how much you might have to pay for parking.
You should also check to see where parking is and whether or not it’s in a secure location.
It’s always better to park somewhere close to the hotel that has a some amount of security rather than parking somewhere far away where you’re not able to keep an eye on your car and where there isn’t any security at all.
After you have found a suitable location you should read some reviews before you finalize the booking process.
I recommend taking a look at the newest reviews and paying attention to any of the less favourable ones to see what people complained about and whether or not their complaints are warranted.
There are definitely some travellers that are going to nitpick over the smallest things and it’s quite easy to tell if there are any serious issues with the hotel or if someone is just not happy with something that isn’t a problem at all.
If most of the reviews seem positive but there was one or two things that you’re not too sure about don’t hesitate at all to email the hotel and ask them about what was mentioned in the review to get a better idea of their side of the story and to see if any of your concerns as well.
Always make sure to keep an eye out to see whether or not there are any additional costs after you’ve booked a hotel.
Some of the more popular additional costs include things like:
- Internet access
- Shuttle services
It’s not often that you’ll get blindsided by any extra fees or costs but it’s always a good idea to keep your eyes open and make an effort to make sure that you’re not having to pay more or spend more than you’re comfortable with.
Speaking of breakfast, there are quite a few hotels that offer a complimentary breakfast and if yours doesn’t then it’s really not worth paying for it unless you’re traveling for business or unless there are any other suitable places to eat nearby.
I recommend looking for hotels that offer free breakfast because this makes it a lot easier to start your day when you don’t have to worry about finding something to eat early in the morning and if the hotel does happen to charge extra for breakfast then it’s up to you to decide whether or not it’s worth it.
Finally, one of the last things that you want to keep an eye out for when you are looking for a hotel to spend the night are the on-site facilities.
Somewhere that offers more facilities and things to do on site is going to cost you more than somewhere that doesn’t have much to offer but it depends on your preferences when it comes to what you’re looking for during your nightly accommodation.
Some facilities that might be included are:
- Swimming pool
- Balcony or rooftop access
- Restaurant or bar
- Valet or shuttle service
Again, most of these will be based on your personal preferences and you can look for specific hotels that will have these facilities or service is available but generally when it comes to choosing the right hotel all you really need is a comfortable bed and the rest is just icing on the cake.
Consider Your Alternative
Without a doubt, one of the best alternatives to staying in a hotel is to use AirBnb instead and book an entire apartment all to yourself.
The benefit of using AirBnb is that it’s typically cheaper and you can find apartments that have a full kitchen and other amenities that make an overnight stay much more comfortable.
The drawback to using it is that you’ll miss out on all of the different features and level of service that you would receive at a hotel.
If you’re only traveling for a short period of time, they 1 or 2 days, then I would recommend looking into spending the night at a hotel.
On the other hand, if you’re going to be traveling for 3 or more days I would recommend looking into booking your own AirBnb apartment for the duration of your stay.