6 Tips on Choosing the Right Hotel For You
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Choosing the Right Hotel For You
For every trip, big or small, choosing the right hotel for you can be a seriously complicated affair. Whether you’re planning a romantic European getaway, a backpacking trip across Malaysia or a simply a family trip to the beach, choosing the right hotel is an important decision.
When choosing the right hotel for your upcoming trip, there are TONS of things to consider! In reality, your choice can either make or break your vacation. This sort of pressure makes for a difficult decision, and with so many things to consider, it can sometimes be hard to even know where to begin! Since we are all too familiar with this struggle, we’ve put together a list of our top tips for choosing the right hotel for your specific needs.
In this post we will break down the criteria that we use week in and week out to pick the best accommodation, and no matter when or where your upcoming trip takes you, you’ll feel confident choosing the right hotel for YOU!
1. Find Out What’s Most Important to You!
The first step in choosing the right hotel is to figure out what you want! This is totally situational and largely depends on what sort of trip you’ll be taking. Going on a big family-wide summer vacation? You’re definitely going to need a swimming pool. That important business trip you’re planning? Probably makes sense to be close by to your client’s office. Whatever it may be, knowing your own needs makes the rest of the process loads easier.
Figuring out your personal needs is hands down the most important step in choosing the right hotel for your specific trip. For some people location is EVERYTHING, and they’re willing to spend whatever it takes to be right where they want. For others (read: us) budget is most important, so other things, like location, might be secondary. Regardless of the situation, finding out what is most important to you will help you to make a better, more informed choice in your accommodation!
2. Possibly the Most Obvious … Budget!
Since we live our lives on the road and out of our backpacks indefinitely, budget tends to be our #1 priority. However for some people, it’s a completely different story. Regardless if you’re trying to spend 20 or 2,000 dollars per night, acknowledging your respective price range is key to choosing the right hotel!
Plus, most booking sites like Booking.com offer price filters, making sorting out your options by price a total breeze! Regardless of how you choose to book your accommodation, it’s usually worth it to shop around a bit before putting down a payment. A lot of times you’ll get similar prices, but hey, sometimes you get lucky and find that crazy good deal! Speaking of deals, if you’re interested in saving $30 on your next hotel stay, check out this special deal that we’re running with Booking.com.
3. Location, Location, Location
For many people (us included), location is one of the top considerations when choosing the right hotel and for good reason! Even an amazing hotel in the wrong location can turn a great vacation in to a horrible one FAST. The best way to avoid this from happening is simply through doing a little research!
Knowing which area or neighborhood you want to stay in will not only allow you to further narrow down your search, but will also allow you to get a better idea geographically where you want to be looking! Many booking sites give an option to view hotel listings by map which can be an extremely useful tool.
Although it might be considered a little old school, we really like to plug in each hotel we are considering into Google Maps in order to get a real idea of its location and the surrounding area. We find this to be super helpful when choosing the right hotel and personally wouldn’t book any hostel or hotel without it!
4. Read the Reviews
While this step might seem self-explanatory, it could very well also be the most beneficial. Guest reviews are an amazingly useful tool and offer the opportunity to really know what you’re getting into before you even arrive! We tend to read property reviews in somewhat of a systematic manner, as we’ve found that it tends to work best for us.
First off, we will only consider properties with either 8/10 or 4/5 stars from customer ratings and a minimum of 25-50 reviews. We feel like anything lower than this is somewhat of a gamble. But, that also doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad properties; sometimes they’re just relatively new to the game, so, as with anything, use your best judgement. Next, we will be sure to look at the most recent reviews - if there aren't any reviews within the last six months, we tend to back away, but again, judgement is everything.
Then, we go through all the negative / 1 star reviews and see what they have to say. Normally this will give a pretty bad impression of a property, but we feel as though it’s a good way to get a feel for the bad things people have to say. If they’re small, insignificant complaints here and there, you’re probably fine. But if in every negative review the same issue is being mentioned (ie. rats in the room or dirty sheets), then it’s probably safe to say you can scratch that one off the list as well. This is definitely one of the most time consuming steps but absolutely the most beneficial when choosing the right hotel for you.
5. Amenities and Extras!
Again, this is another important criteria for us! Always looking to stretch our dollars as far as possible, we are ALL about the extras and amenities where we choose to stay. Free breakfast? We’re in. Complimentary airport transfer? All about it.
Noting which amenities and extras are included and which are not can be super helpful in choosing the right hotel for your upcoming trip. For instance, in many places air-conditioning comes at an extra cost, and things like WiFI and drinking water might not be included either. These are all things definitely worth looking into when choosing the right hotel for your needs.
6. Read the Fine Print
Last but certainly not least on our list of tips to choosing the right hotel is to take a look at the fine print! This might not be a deal breaker for some people, but if you need a little bit of flexibility in your schedule like we do, it can be a total lifesaver! Often times many budget properties will have a really restrictive or total lack of cancellation policy on some of their bookings, in which case it totally pays to read into the booking conditions! Even if the booking conditions are pretty straightforward, it never hurts to make sure!
By no means is this the end all, be all list for choosing the right hotel for you, but these are the steps that we take nearly every day. We hope this list proves useful to you when booking your next trip!
Yours in Adventure,
Joel & Marla
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