We share 11 Things to AVOID When Booking a Hotel for our next Vacation or Business Trip!
How do you decide what things to avoid when booking a hotel?
Are you the type to head straight to Priceline, Trivago or Booking.com for that bargain and nothing else! We all have different criteria for choosing a hotel, some of us also consider different seasons!
In today’s post we are going to share with you what criteria, things to avoid before booking that hotel!
Let us tell you a short story, when we lived in Africa, we simply wanted a hotel with a pool and didn’t think much about what season it is.
Now living in Europe, we very much care about where we are heading to, the hotel amenities and specially if we will be warm enough…Most people don’t consider this until you book into a freezer (hotel with poor heating,) in the middle of winter.
We already shared what Criteria to CHOOSE THE BEST Hotel for Your Next Trip! We encourage you to check it out as it compliments this post very well!
In this article we are looking at a different angle….
With that said, there are some things to avoid when booking a hotel. These things should be a staple on your list of what to look out for. Doesn’t matter whether you are heading to the hot sand dunes of Morocco, or to the Tip of the Alps.
Make sure to tick off these items on your list when it comes to booking the perfect accommodation for your trip be it leisure or business. Specially more so if the trip is a life time bucket list vacation!
Taking these into consideration, could hugely improve your travel experience, ensuring a great trip and review as well for the hotel/resort! So before you book your next vacation or business trip, read this post. Feel free to share with your mates..So lets get started.
11 Things to Avoid Before Booking your Hotel – Double check!
#1. Get the Location right.
Well we aren’t saying avoid some destinations. We are saying be very clear on where the hotel is located. Is it near a noisy highway, factory or Train line, noisy busy airport etc? Are the surroundings good for a family vacation or trip? Some hotels show the surrounding amenities and attractions rather than the accommodation itself and what they offer.
That should be a red flag and one of the things to avoid when booking a hotel stay! Don’t fall for the surrounding, make sure the images on the site reflect the real deal. TripAdvisor usually has the most recent images form recent travellers. If the hotel doesn’t feature on TripAdvisor…try and find visitor Reviews online. Mind you it could be a brand new little gem or part of a big brand! You decide 🙂
We highly advise that you plan your trip better by doing some research on the neighbourhood of any Hotel, whether it’s in the tourist district or off the beaten track! This is pretty essential when you are traveling to an unfamiliar destination. Doing this will ensure you head to a place that’s isn’t as strange and get your trip off on the right leg! 🙂
#2. Avoid a Hotel without essential amenities
How do we mean? Well we once booked a hotel in Blackpool for a weekend R & R and boy did we wish we were in our own home! What mistake did we make?
We didn’t check the Hotel age/location and most important amenities. We only looked at the price and Brand name!
While we got the Honeymoon suite as we were celebrating out wedding anniversary, along with a bottle of Moet…yummy! We were freezing our tootsies off. The suite had a huge marble jacuzzi bath that could easily fit 4 people.
This suite was gigantic, we joked that it was bigger than the whole of our downstairs area at home. The bed was ginormous, we could sleep either side of it and not touch, but trust me we needed our body warmth. It was like sleeping in a fridge. So while it looked Instagram-awesome and had a view of the black sea to die for, we did spend more time away from the site just to stay warm. We also had head colds as a gift to take home with us on that weekender! So the reason we are sharing this is to warn you to understand that not all that glitters is gold. Always make sure the hotel has proper
- Air conditioning for hot weather Or
- Very well heated rooms or alternative heating in colder seasons or locations
These are essential amenities in the above situations! Do check!
#3. Avoid booking a Hotel without an Airport shuttle!
Seriously before we became part of a travel community where our airport transfers are part of the deal, we had a couple of incidents. We had to lug our massive suitcases through an unfamiliar underground and train system and almost missed our flight once flying from Barcelona.
It wasn’t the best ending to an otherwise amazing holiday. Suffice to say we were stressed, and grumpy by the time we got on the flight by the whiskers of our teeth!
On the other end of the scale we had an amazing Limo pick up to our Rome Zero6 Guest House from Roma Fiumicino airport. On departure, we were dropped off in a cool Mercedes Benz with air-conditioning and even offered a glass of wine to cool off from the hot roman heat. How cool is that…
Most people consider these luxuries. We are here to tell you; you deserve such little extras and more as normal benefits.
Today most reputable hotels offer a form of airport pick up and drop off. This is even more essential if you are travelling with small children or elderly people who aren’t as mobile! Check these things out before you book a hotel!Today most reputable hotels offer a form of airport pick up and drop off. #choosetherighthotel Click To Tweet
#4. Is parking an Extra – Or at Separate location & a premium?
If you are heading for a road trip or taking a vacation with a self-drive rental, then this is for you. You definitely need to check both availability of parking in addition to the cost per day! And don’t forget distance from hotel front door.
We once parked almost a half mile from the hotel because we didn’t call to confirm this simple fact. And we arrived in the middle of the night since we left Liverpool after 8pm. It wasn’t fun walking while calling the hotel to guide us to the front door, which we finally arrived at after a 10 min walk in the cold. Fortunately, it was Christmas lights in Blackpool so it was a busy night!
Bad news, the parking wasn’t free we found out at the end of our stay! Even though they stated “Complimentary parking,” on the hotel website, they charged us an extra £15 for the 3 days parking!
So remember that even if the hotel offers parking, it may come with a price tag, anywhere from £5 to £10/day. A sneaky extra travel cost.
If a hotel doesn’t have its own parking, the price can be even higher! Also you worry about your vehicle safety and whether you’ll find a spot!? They are never guaranteed! So make sure to confirm with a phone call what you will be getting or paying for extra before you set off! Or Avoid that hotel if you can!
#5. Avoid Hotels that charge for WiFi
I work online, as a Home based business entrepreneur and blogger, I need Wi-Fi daily. It is thus an essential part of our hotel must haves. So if a hotel doesn’t match up hat its one for the things to avoid when booking a hotel in our book. Also we make sure that the Wi-Fi is FREE all over the hotel.
You don’t want to be stuck in the hotel lobby to access the internet. Or in a cubby-hole where they offer complimentary internet access for guests! If it is boiling hot, you are gonna roast. If its winter, that room may not be well heated either…! 🙁
One of the things we found as a bit of a let-down at the Arizona Hilton Resort was; internet access was limited. Guests had to ask for a code to access the internet in a small room off the lobby corridor. Unless you paid an extra $19/day!
Again for some Reward Club memberships you get access to Wi-Fi free in some hotels, like Holiday Inns. Otherwise you could get a hefty extra bill for use of internet at the end of your stay.
Travellers need to also make sure that the Wi-Fi isn’t charged PER GADGET! If you are a family of 4 each with your smart phone that bill could be eye watering! How do you know this? By checking the next tip…
#6. Avoid the Ostrich Syndrome – Check the Fine Print!
It is the only way to know the terms and conditions. They could catch you out so to avoid some things when booking a hotel is to check the small print thoroughly. Yes, they expect you to avoid this bit in your excitement. Or you are too busy planning for your business trip to check.
Don’t be that person caught out with a bill worth an extra £100+ just because you failed to, Check the small print. It could be anything…
#7. Don’t take your Room with a View as a given!
How can you do that? By taking the photos you see online as the gospel truth! Yes, sadly some people take liberties with Photoshop. As a consumer you must absolutely check out reviews of that hotel and even make that call to confirm.
If you are spending £100+ on a room or even a stay, then you deserve to find out what views to expect in reality. Or you could end up with a damp wall or bin shed as your view for 7+ days, as opposed to that pool or ocean view. Some rooms don’t even have windows, so check!
This is more important if you are booking a hotel from a site that only tells you where you will stay after payment…There are a few well known hotels sites! Not advisable is you have special needs!
If the above is the case, you must call the hotel directly and ask them about the rooms, access, views, and whatever your needs are. This will help you decide to stick with it or if UK based invoke your Consumer rights to 14 days cooling period!
A quick call to the hotel will help you avoid heartache and ruined holiday or trip and will settle your mind. Take this opportunity to inquire about things like internet access, mobility access, parking fees, do they allow pets, airport transfers, proximity to attractions, meals included etc.
#8. Didn’t you Budget for Resort/City fees or Taxes?
One of the things to avoid when booking a hotel is deliberate amnesia or lack of research on your destination!
We were shocked when we first visited USA, when we went to pay for our bill at an amazing Florida Dunes Golf Resort. We saw “Resort Fees” and we went…what for? Well the staff at the desk informed us that they were standard and we should check the resort website. Also most American sites don’t add VAT or taxes to the quoted price. That’s added at the end when you are paying up! Not so much a sneaky vacation cost, as a buyer beware thing!
If you are visiting Europe today, almost every tourist destination charges a city tax! When we first visited Rome, all those years back we didn’t have to pay it. Today it’s a given. Budget for it! About 3 – 7 Euros per day Rome city tax depending on the star rating of your hotel!
When you make that phone call suggested above, DO ASK about any extra charges like taxes, processing fees, (some websites and hotels charge this), resort fee, housekeeping, spa fees etc. Some hotels add them to all guests bills unless you know your rights and ensure you prove you didn’t use the amenity.
While some are mandatory like, taxes, resort and processing fees, others can be opted out of! Choose your luxury and know what to pay for from the get go before you book your hotel.
#9. Avoid Booking a Hotel Before You Compare Various Sites offers!
We have done it before, we booked a Premier Inn for a quick weekend getaway in London, then checked our email for confirmation and found a whopping 70% off a specific Hilton Hotel for the same weekend. We could have enjoyed Hilton Hospitality as HH members for half what we paid for the premier inn at half board to boot.
You should have seen our faces… 🙁 Worse still, the Premier Inn offer was a non-refundable last minute deal!
So when it comes to booking hotels, flights, cruise, you name it, always research a bit more and compare offer details and prices to your heart’s content before committing your credit card!
It was also a lesson in checking the small print and always checking for a deal that doesn’t tie you in; i.e. non-refundable rates! You end up losing more if you take such a deal. When you could have paid say £10 more and been able to cancel on your credit card and get the better deal! Baaah!
#10. Don’t Be too early or too late!
While there is a best time/day to book an airline ticket, there is no clear best time to book a hotel room!
We are the type to book early get things ready, enjoy the countdown…But this can have its setbacks, and sometimes has cost us more. Well until we got to be part of a concept and travel app that guarantees a refund in case there is a Hotel or Flight Price drop…Sweet.
RECOMMENDED: The Travel App to trump them all
On the other end of the scale are those that wait till the last minute to book their Christmas Vacation accommodation or summer get away etc. Chances of finding a great deal for any decent hotel for such a person are slim! So what does one do?
Well we did share a cool tool called Tingo in our post on choosing the best hotel for your vacation!
You see hotel rates depend on numerous factors: couple of them being Season, and of course destination! After a few trials and errors, we have found that checking hotel rates at least 6-8 weeks before travel is a better option. If/when the rates start climbing, it’s time to book your hotel! Then forget about it…don’t keep checking. Unless you used Tingo…
Or you are a user of our Travel App. While both offer a refund for price drops , hotel T&Cs apply on Tingo, it is a Given for our travel app.
How does this work? This club offers a price guarantee that if you book a trip via the app and you find it cheaper elsewhere, you will be Refunded 100% the Full Fee and Sent on the Trip FREE!
And the same applies to flights, only more automatic if the price drops before you travel you are refunded the difference automatically.
Tingo does also claim to automatically monitor your hotel and rebook you at the new lower rate if prices drop.
If you are heading to a popular tourist magnet, then waiting till 20-30 days before travel is a major mistake! You will pay premium for your hotel and most major attractions!
#11 Avoid Hotels in Dark lonely stretches or Alleys
Thing is how much do you rate your personal safety? Travellers are actively encouraged to get off the tourist beaten track for attractions and food. But we truly prefer to stay where the crowds are for accommodation! In Europe this may not be such a major worry, but in some parts of USA…close to attractions may be a 10-20 min drive away!
So come-on #pkjulesworld, how can one tell the hotel location before booking?
Well good old Google maps and the 3D view. Don’t ever book a hotel before you confirm its location and check out surroundings via the above awesome resource. Take a virtual tour of the surrounding areas, this is how you can tell whether that sea view actually exists or it is a clever camera ploy. 🙂
Yes, some people book without knowing location let alone which hotel to get a bargain. We did it the once…Never again!
In conclusion, we could go on but you get the picture…Frankly, if it’s just for 1-2 nights, we all can live with a basic hotel room, no views and simple life as long as the room is a good size, it is clean, definitely quiet, and has a good warm bed with clean linen! And the hotel is also in a safe location esp. if one travels solo.
It must also be 5-10 mins away from public transport, must offer Wi-Fi and breakfast. For longer stays…we go thru the above list thoroughly! We check out reviews, we look at Destination safety and security ratings and do everything in our power not to fall prey to tourist scams in some hotspots!
So what do you look for in a hotel? What in your view are the things to avoid when booking a hotel for your vacation accommodation? Share your insights below!
MORE RESOURCES FOR YOU:
- Your Ultimate SMART TRAVEL GUIDE – Get it here
- Ultimate Packing Guide For Any Conceivable Trip – Grab Yours Now
- How to Travel at Wholesale Rates and Earn Free Vacations – Learn More
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Julie Syl & Pauli Kalungi
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