Booking travel is your first taste at experiencing your vacation destination. This is the time when you’re looking into what you’re going to do, and how you’re going to get around. You’re also making the all important decision about where you’re going to stay. Hotel selection can be overwhelming, particularly if you’ve never been to your destination before. You’re going to need to do a little research to find the best place. Here are some tips for choosing a hotel in an unfamiliar location.
What Can You Afford?
While we’d all love to stay at the Ritz, it’s not in most of our price range. So where to lay your head? First, determine what you want to spend. Some neighborhoods tend to be more expensive than others, and that’s usually a good indicator as to what hotels generally cost. That said, sometimes you can get a rare deal at a high-end hotel, so the first thing to do is set a budget.
What Do You Want To Do?
If everything you’re interested in is on one side of town, then it makes sense to stay in that area, unless of course it’s out of your price range. Do you plan to wander around to all kinds of places? Then the location doesn’t matter very much where you stay, since there’s no need for a nearby home base.
Learn Your Neighborhoods
Knowing what you want to do is helpful, but sometimes it’s nice to stay in an area with a particular vibe. Do you prefer clean and classy, or hip and cool, or down to earth, or historic? Quiet or in the thick of it all? There are a number of criteria that only you can determine, so learn what the neighborhoods of the city, and then figure out which best suits you.
When you find a hotel, don’t book right away, but go to travel sites to see what the reviewers say. Most hotels send links to guests after they check out, so it’s a good idea to see what the popular opinion states. You should try to find a pattern, not listen to only one review, as some people are harder to please than others. If 10 people talk about the roach infestation from last month, then maybe you don’t want to stay there. If others talk about how helpful the staff is, then that sounds like a good bet.
You definitely need to make sure the place works, logistically. If you’re renting a car but there’s no place to park, that could be a problem. Or, if you’re relying on public transportation but you need to walk a mile, that’s a potential red flag – think about if it rains or snows. Even walkers could get burned. Maybe you like to stay near a café or a restaurant, or you need to be able to get out to another town easily and need access to a highway. Whatever it is, make sure that all the things you need are easy.
Do you have excellent hotel experiences to share? What’s your favorite hotel?