Do you struggle when deciding which property to pick when booking hotels online? It can be tricky, considering how many hotel or accommodation options most cities have. There are so many factors to consider that it can often be overwhelming, especially if you are travelling somewhere you are unfamiliar with.
Well, in this blog post I’m going to help try to take away some of that stress by sharing some top hotel booking tips to keep in mind for your next vacation. If you take these tips into consideration, you’ll end up getting the best value for your money when booking hotels online.
Location is Key
Choosing a location on where to stay during your travels can be really tricky. More central hotels often cost more, however, you don’t really want to spend all your time travelling either. What you save on the property you may end up spending on transit. Not to mention, going back and forth to a city takes up a lot of your precious travel time.
While you don’t need to be in the middle of the action, I suggest doing some research before you book about the location you choose. Check the distance between the hotel and the attractions you want to see, and look to make sure there is a public transit station nearby.
Determine if ‘free’ Breakfast is Worth it
Free breakfast is often one of those things that everyone looks for. After all, some hotels can charge a hefty $25+ for a continental buffet! Included breakfast can be a good deal…if you’re a breakfast person. Some people just aren’t. Maybe because they like to sleep in, or maybe they just don’t like eating early. But, while everyone says that breakfast is the best meal of the day, it’s not for everyone. If you aren’t a breakfast person, don’t let the ‘free breakfast’ lure you in. You can probably find cheaper options (maybe even at the same hotel) with it not included.
On the other hand, if you are a breakfast person then free breakfast can absolutely be a deal. As I said above, some hotels charge ridiculous rates for the breakfast offerings so if you can get a free one, take advantage!
Reviews are Important
Reviews are important, and it’s always a good idea to take the time to read a few so you can get an idea of what the property is actually like. Now, remember, people are more likely to leave a bad review than a good one, and many of these you need to talk with a grain of salt. An unfriendly receptionist isn’t ideal, but it’s not going to ruin your entire stay. Things you’ll want to keep an eye out for are notes about the area, for example, does anyone say it felt unsafe? Reviews about cleanliness are also key to watch for, as well as noise level. Also, keep an eye out for repeating reviews (does only one review mention that there was no water pressure in the shower? Or do a dozen reviews comment on the same thing?) as well as the time of the review; was the review from last week? Or two years ago?
I highly recommend using booking.com to book your stays. This booking platform has thousands of accommodation options ranging from hostels to luxury resorts in cities around the world. Plus, the more you book with booking.com, the more you save once you become a genius member.
What is a Genius Member? It’s a free program with booking.com. All you have to do is create an account and book 2 stays through the platform over a period of 2 years. Once you do this, you are in and eligible to save 10% on select properties.
If you book 5 stays within two years, you’ll upgrade to Genius Level 2 which means you can save up to 15% on select properties and, depending on the property, qualify for room upgrades and free breakfast.
Since booking.com often has some of the best hotel prices anyways, why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of their loyalty program and save even more?
Check the Cancellation Policy
Hopefully, you don’t have to cancel your hotel, but you never know. Something might come up. Perhaps a flight is cancelled, maybe someone at home falls ill and you need to cancel your entire vacation, or maybe you just change your mind on the property you book. Anything can happen, which is why I like to choose properties that have a cancellation option up to a few days (or even 24 hours) before your stay.
Don’t Forget about the Amenities
Another thing to keep your eye out for is the amenities. For example, are toiletries included? If you are picky about your shampoo or body wash, then that may not matter to you. However, if you are travelling short term then knowing that you don’t need to pack those things might be a big perk. Especially if you are travelling carry-on only. Other things you may want to look out for include hotel or gym access or an on-site restaurant or bar.
Think about Getting to/from the Airport
If you are travelling by air, don’t forget to take into consideration how you are getting to/from the airport, especially with all of your luggage. Some airports offer airport transfers, either paid or free, which is a great option. Others will offer to book a driver or a taxi for you to save the hassle of having to deal with finding one once you land. However, if you are on a budget you’ll want to find somewhere you can get to relatively easily by public transit without having to worry about switching buses or metro lines too many times. That’s always extra stressful when you have your luggage with you!
Use a credit card that gives you points
Many of the best travel credit cards in Canada give you points that you can use later to redeem later for flights, hotels or any travel expense. Since hotels are usually one of your largest travel expenses, this is an easy way to earn points fast. Alternatively, you could consider using one of the best credit cards with travel insurance as they may include hotel/motel burglary insurance which you’ll hopefully never have to use.
Getting a good price on a hotel is great, but you want to make sure that you get good value for your money as well, no matter what the price. Make sure to keep these hotel booking tips in mind the next time you’re booking hotels online. Also, be sure to know the tricks on how to cancel a non-refundable hotel reservation.