A friend recently inspired me to write about this topic. She came to me, concern in her eyes and worry in her voice, and asked, “How do you pick a good place to stay? How do you know it’s going to be any good?”
Don’t get me wrong, choosing a hotel is stressful even to a seasoned traveler like myself, but I’d never really thought to blog about it because it depends so much on personal budget, brand loyalty (or not) and preference. But my friend was asking out of a place of bad past experiences and a bit of childhood trauma. So, because I created this blog to be helpful, I realized I was way past due for this post! Here are my tried and true tips for choosing the best accommodation for you, anywhere in the world!
Consider where the things you want to see are located.
Choosing a hotel, motel, b&b, Air BnB, vacation rental, etc., is all about real estate: Location, location, location! Look at a map to see where all the things you want to do are located. Trip Advisor’s map function makes this very easy! Try to stay nearby, ideally within walking distance if possible.
Even if you’ll have a vehicle to use, parking may be an issue, or traffic may be a nightmare. Don’t stay at an accommodation 45 minutes outside the city if you’ll only be commuting downtown every day (during rush hour). Choose your activities first, then choose an accommodation that fits within those parameters.
More here: How to Plan a Trip: Step by Step
Why is it priced they way it is?
Is this a bad area, making it super cheap? Or is it inexpensive because it’s just dated? Is it much more expensive than other hotels in the area because it has a lot of amenities (that you may have no time or interest to use) or because it’s in the absolute prime location? Price is the first factor most people think of when choosing a hotel or other accommodation, but it’s not the most important. Why the hotel is priced is much more important for safety and sanitation reasons!
Read next: Legendary Hotels of the World
Are there food options nearby?
Trust me, there is almost nothing worse than getting to your accommodation after a long day of travel, and realizing there is no food around. Are there restaurants within walking or short driving distance? Is there one in the hotel? If not a restaurant, then is there a grocery store nearby? Definitely look at this when choosing your accommodation, and check each restaurant’s hours, whether that’s the hotel restaurant or one down the street.
Also helpful: The Pros and Cons of Staying in a Hotel
Take reviews with a grain of salt; you never know when someone’s just had a bad day, or has a bad attitude about life in general. But if there are a ton of bad reviews, pay attention to that. If there are mostly positive reviews, take that as a good sign! Photos are another good indicator of quality. Photos on a hotel website will be the best of the best, and perhaps a little bit “doctored.” But photos from real travelers on a review website will often reveal the honest truth!
Just as importantly, when was the most recent review posted? Has it been a few years? The hotel might be closed!
Keep reading: Why Hotels.com is Better than Brand Loyalty
Want more? Get more tips and posts like this on my dedicated Accommodations Page!
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