Smart travelers know how to navigate through all the pitfalls of a journey. From planning to surviving life on the road, there are clever tricks and tips that guarantee you have a trip as smooth as possible.
A sleazy hotel room or a pricey meal can ruin your vacation. When choosing where to stay, it is always a good idea to go for a place that makes you feel at home. To find the right one for you, here are our top lodging tips.
1. Lodging tip n. 1: new is always best
Do you look into renovation dates of the places you choose? If you can, you should. Sometimes, hotels hide behind their brands and discounts to lure customers. But often, you will find an economic stay in better shape than an upscale option. A good lodging tip is to avoid places that haven’t seen a lifting in more than 5 years.
2. Look into peer reviews
Who cares about hotel stars and diamonds anymore! The reflex when looking for a place to stay is to ask other travelers and look into reviews. This lodging tip suggests to look into online forums for advice. Try Trip Advisor, Oyster, or hotel.com. A quick internet search will reveal a wealth of options and relevant information.
3. Blind bidding websites
Here is a well-kept secret that makes a great lodging tip: search for secret hotels. Here is how it works. Some websites show you attractive lodging fares without revealing the name of the hotels. Priceline, Travelocity, or Hotwire have experimented with this model. If you had as well, please share your experience with us in the comment box below. If you don’t care about brands as much as landing half-priced fares, this is a lodging tip to put in practice.
4. Join the loyalty program
Join the hotel loyalty club. If the hotel you choose is part of a chain, chances are they have a loyalty program. Join the club, even if you only plan to stay the night. The cost of subscription is often just the time you put into filling the forms. The perks of being a hotel club member? Free breakfast, deals, clothes pressing, and much more. Also, you are sure to have a special treatment by the hotel personnel if they see you as a “loyal” customer.
5. Don’t hesitate to negotiate
Hotel managers care about their occupancy rates and their booking performance. You care about the cost of your stay. There is a lot of room for a win-win compromise. The trick, however, is to do the negotiation, in person, at the front desk, not over the phone.
6. Do not commit too early
Beware of those bargains that need you to book way too early, often, without cancellation or date change options. They lure you with interesting discounts, appealing to the budget traveler in you.
It is OK to book early. The lodging tip is to book where you can always shift dates or cancel. Most hotels let you do so up to 24 hours before check-in. Check out this simple trick for canceling any hotel booking at any time.
7. Don’t overlook alternatives
Hotels are great but they are not your only option. In fact, more travelers favor vacation rentals, bed-and-breakfasts, home swaps, etc. The final lodging tip is to broaden your search and cast a wide net to find the best stay option. For instance, if you haven’t tried couch surfing, maybe you should. For something more eccentric like a cave, a jail or a tree house, try Unusual Hotels of the World.
How do you like these lodging tips? Do you have your own to add to it? Have you ever tried booking with Priceline or stayed at a “secret hotel”? Tell us all about it in the comment section below.