Are you planning to go away for a few days? Perhaps for the weekend, a city trip or a holiday? People always ask me how I find my hotels. Part of the fun of traveling is being able to stay in the best, most fantastic, unique, most beautiful hotels around the world. But how do you find the perfect hotel? Not everyone seems to succeed. Therefore, I gladly give you these tips to help you to quickly and easily find the perfect hotel for your trip.
Tip 1: Explore and inform yourself
First, explore what’s available in the place where you plan to go. Large cities have a wide offer in hotels, smaller cities have a rather limited offer in hotel rooms. What’s available?
Also, when you go to a European or North American country, the prices for a night at a hotel can be more expensive than in more affordable countries. This only means that within your budget you can afford more luxury (a.k.a. more star hotel) in an affordable country, and perhaps should consider less luxury and comfort if prices are too high (as in for example in London or Amsterdam).
Which are you options?
You can check your options on large booking websites. I personally love using Booking.com, but FlyGRN Hotels is also a nice one. It compares even more hotels and for every 100 euro it plants a tree (also check out their Search Engine Tips). It’s my favourite. I don’t necessarily book a hotel room through Booking.com, but do explore the possibilities I have. In Booking.com your can clearly search for a lot of characteristics, like:
- Price range;
- Customer rating, which is very trustworthy at Booking.com;
- The area where you want to stay, or not;
- Number of stars of the hotel;
- Include breakfast;
- Is it eco-friendly?
This way, the hotel that fits your liking always shows up. Unless it’s not available during the days you wish to stay there.
If hotel prices are above your budget, try Hostelworld.com to find a perfect hostel. Hostels aren’t necessarily dirty or cheap anymore and also have private rooms with private bathrooms available. Hostelworld.com has more great hostels available than Booking.com, for better prices.
Tip 2: What is the purpose of your trip?
Think carefully about the purpose of your trip. Do you want to escape crowds? Do you want to explore a city? Are you coming for business or pleasure? Which areas do you prefer? Trendy areas or central areas?
Do you want to visit a particular location, like a theme park, a concert, a conference or museum? Then consider to find a hotel at walking distance from this location. It will safe you a lot of time.
Do keep in mind that city centres are not a nice place to stay in every part of the world. Choose to stay in an area that you like and where you plan to spend most time. This will safe money and time on traveling.
Travel blogs and websites can help you to determine the right location for your stay.
Tip 3: Ask for experiences
Ask others around you for their experiences. You can ask your friends on Facebook or Twitter, but also colleagues and others you know. They can give you great tips on what to do, what to avoid and where to stay. You often end up in nice places. Their experiences will help you to plan the best trip.
You can also consult travel blogs and travel programs on television for some great tips.
Tip 4: Do you need a credit card, visa or another currency?
Be well informed before you go on a trip. Do you need to bring a credit card? Will your card be accepted? Is it advisable to change some money into the local currency to bring in cash? Do you need a visa for this country?
Tip 5: Avoid big attractions and busy streets
As romantic as it sounds, you do not want to sleep in a hotel at 200 meters from the Eiffel Tower. It will be very crowded with a lot of noise, but you also pay the highest price for this location. Consider to book a hotel that’s located a few minutes from important locations, in order to be near but not too near.
Also: Is the area of the hotel a safe area to walk at night?
Tip 6: Breakfast included or not?
I always book a breakfast during my stays. I enjoy a good breakfast at the hotel, instead of searching for the right place or ending up with a crappy breakfast. I don’t like to wander around a city with an empty stomach. If you include the breakfast in your booking, it’s mostly cheaper than booking it upon arrival.
Do pay attention to the price of the breakfast. Sometimes a breakfast outside is a fraction of an overpriced breakfast at the hotel.
Tip 7: Check transport to the hotel
How is the transport organized in the area/city where you go to? Is public transport safe or are taxies affordable? How should you go from the airport to the hotel? Inform yourself or send your hotel an email to ask them for advise.
The transport to the hotel is mostly not difficult, but you should inform yourself about the best option for you. Check other websites for tips
Tip 8: Read the reviews
What is the experience of others? Don’t be fooled by only negative reviews, but read several reviews to get a clear picture. Some people are born to complain. What does the average review say? What are the bad points in the reviews and does this matter to you?
If a bad part of the hotel is noise, cleanness, quality of the wifi, helpful staff, quality of breakfast or daily cleaning service, does this matter to you or not? These are aspects to consider before booking to prevent surprises.
Tip 9: Compare prices
Booking.com has certain prices. Sometimes this is a great price, especially for last-minute bookings. You can compare prices between booking websites, like Expedia, Trivago, Hotels.com, Hostelworld.com en Booking.com.
However, the website of the hotel itself generally ALWAYS has the best price. Especially small hotels generally make most money form direct bookings, as these don’t include (high) fees for booking website. Consider to book directly at the hotel for the best price and the most support for small businesses.
Tip 10: Don’t forget the conditions
Generally, the conditions aren’t very important. Unless of course they are. Some information is mentioned in the booking conditions at the bottom of the booking page. For example: are taxes included or not (very important), the ways to pay the hotel bill, etcetera. Don’t allow nasty surprises.
Enjoy your stay!