You’re looking at a potential hotel, and the reviews swear it’s a 5-star place with Heated pool, Pillow menu, Excellent room service, Free parking garage and 24-hour fitness center.
Those are all great amenities, sure, but there’s one problem — you don’t need any of them.
So how do you find a hotel that fits your needs, whatever they may be? Try these tips to narrow down your next lodging facility using factors that are helpful to you.
1. Start With Your Budget
Before you look at any lodging accommodations, set the filters to include only those within your budget.
Finding the ideal hotel with every possible amenity you could need is exciting. Realizing that same place is way out of your price range, take that happy balloon you were just handed and put a pin in it.
Rather than drooling over hotels that are well over your per diem or bank account, know your budget. Use a search engine filter that maxes your visible hotel results at slightly below that number since you’ll have to cover taxes and fees in the final cost.
2. Look Outside the Basic Hotels
Are you flexible about the types of lodging you’ll use? If so, look outside the normal hotel options. There are hotels, motels, Airbnb and VRBOs, boutique hotels, and much more.
Be sure you understand what you’re getting into before you book. For instance, motels may be cheaper, but they lack certain amenities found in hotels (read more in this article by Hotel Engine).
Boutique hotels are usually pricier, focusing on personal touches, authenticity, and character. They’re in prime locations, often in urban shopping districts. If you’ll be staying a while, a boutique room gives you the convenience of nearby restaurants and stores.
Airbnbs and VRBOs, on the other hand, are rarely in prime business districts or shopping areas. They’re frequently homes and apartments in residential blocks, and you get limited amenities.
Use those definitions to decide what lodging you prefer, then compare the prices and amenities within each category.
3. Expand Your Search Radius
Do you have your own transportation? If so, consider expanding your search radius outside of the heart of the city you’re heading to.
When you book a hotel, you pay for the accommodations and the location. If you want better lodging at a more affordable rate, you might be able to find it off the beaten path.
A chain hotel in the heart of the big city is going to look the same as its counterpart in a less populated area but will cost significantly more. It may be more cost-effective to book a rideshare, use a subway, or drive yourself to your daily destinations rather than stay in prime areas.
4. Plan Your Stay Around Your Meals
Aside from sleeping, what’s the one thing you’ll do every day regardless of where you’re staying? Yes, you need your “three meals,” so why not plan them into your hotel choice?
Think about your preferred trip-eating style. You’ll likely fall into one of these categories:
- You stock up on groceries and eat your meals in your room.
- You grab whatever’s nearby, convenient, and cheap.
- You eat at restaurants or order your meals delivered to your room (either through room service or a delivery service).
Now, let’s look at the kind of hotel you need for each of these styles.
If you prefer to handle your meals yourself, you’ll want lodging that has an in-room kitchen. For hotels, these would be advertised as suites, or you could choose an Airbnb-style accommodation. Unless you plan on bringing all your groceries with you, look for a place to stay near a convenience or grocery store.
When your schedule and lifestyle depend on finding food quickly and affordably, your best lodging is a hotel in a prime location. If it advertises on-site dining and a convenience shop, that’s even better.
For those who have more relaxed schedules and budgets, you have a wider variety of lodging choices. Look for hotels that have partnered with DoorDash and other delivery services, and you won’t have to pay delivery fees. Or, if you’d rather dine out, use a Google search to see which restaurants are within walking distance of the hotels you’re considering. If your favorites are on that list, it’s a winning hotel.
Finding a hotel within your budget is only one piece of this important puzzle. If you’ll be staying there for more than a day or two, you’ll want to check out the amenities offered and find a place that can work with your meal preferences.
With these four simple tips, your next lodging experience will be an enjoyable one.
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