How to choose the perfect hotel
Accommodation is one of the most important things to consider when planning a trip. Along with flights, accommodation will influence a lot your travel budget. Aside from the economic aspect, there are several things that you need to choose carefully in order to find the perfect hotel for you. Over the course of the years we have been travelling together, we have stayed in quite a few hotels. Some of them were pretty, others not so much, and we have learned that hotels can influence our experience a lot, but not always in a good way.
Knowing this, you need to research within the budget you have and you will need to pay attention to the following things in order to find the best hotel for you:
Location is very important when choosing accommodation. The first thing you have to check is how long it takes to get from the accommodation to the city centre walking or by public transportation. Also you will have to check the metro or bus schedules and the ticket prices. Usually the cheapest hotels are located in places further away from the city centre or tourist attractions. In small cities or towns this is not a problem, but in big cities you will probably have to use public transportation and you will end up spending time and money. If the price you will have to pay for public transportation to get from the accommodation to the city centre, multiplied by the number of days you are going to spend in the city, adds up more than the difference between an accommodation that’s far from the city center and a centric accommodation, it isn’t worth it! If you find very cheap accommodation on the outside of a city and you have enough time, it may be worth taking public transportation (as long as tickets are cheap).
2. Feedback and ratings from customers who have already stayed at the hotel
We usually book with Booking, but on any hotel search engine we can find the ratings that customers assign to the hotel, comments and opinions of those who have already stayed there.
On Booking’s website, next to any of the hotels offered, there is an overall rating that is usually between 6 and 9.5 (we have also seen lower ratings, but not so many). This rating is based on the scores that customers have given to several aspects of the accommodation such as location, hygiene, staff, comfort, quality-price ratio, wifi, facilities and services.
Each one of these aspects is important. As we mentioned in the previous point, location is essential. Cleanliness is also very important, because we all like to stay in well-kept and clean places. There are countries where cleanliness doesn’t have the same standards as in Europe, but we already know that beforehand. For the rest of the countries, we try to guide ourselves by the comments. We pay less attention to the other aspects, but this also depends on the individual needs. You can see the ratings for each of the mentioned things by clicking on the overall rating.
We never book accommodation with no comments (just in case) and we always try to book accommodation with a 7+ rating. This of course is personal preference. It doesn’t have to mean that hotels with a rating under 6 are bad, but that you probably have to give up some of the comforts. If you can find a better one for the same price, why not?
We recommend that you leave a comment at the end of your stay in the hotel, so that you can also help other travelers who are looking for the perfect accommodation.
If you want to know which are the other search engines that we use to book accommodation and some tricks on how to get the best out of them, we invite you to read our Travel Tools page.
Having breakfast included in the price is very important!
Besides being the most important meal of the day and that we need a number of nutrients to start our day, having breakfast included in the hotel price is great when we travel on a budget. There are times when we have a good breakfast at the hotel and at lunchtime we only have a snack. This way we save one meal a day. It also depends on how the breakfast is. There are hotels that serve you breakfast worthy of kings and others that serve you very little food and sometimes poor quality. To find out what we can expect from breakfast, we recommend you read carefully the comments of other customers. If most of them say the hotel serve an excellent breakfast, that’s our place.
On Booking’s website, along with the description of the accommodation you will find some information about the breakfast, but the best thing to do is to read the comments because there you can find very detailed information about the food they serve.
Another thing to keep in mind is the time when they start serving breakfast. We booked a hotel with breakfast included for 10 days (in Bali) and we only enjoyed it once because they started serving it at 9:00 and we would get up at 6:00 in order to start our day as soon as possible. Obviously we didn’t know that beforehand, but we have learned our lesson and now we check the comments to see if anyone has mentioned it.
If you’re going on vacation and your intention is to disconnect from your mobile or just upload a couple of stories on Instagram, the speed of the connection may not be important to you. But if you’re a digital nomad or you need to work online while you’re staying in a hotel, the best thing to do is to look at the rating that other travelers have given to the Wi-Fi. You can also look through the comments, because people usually review the speed of the connection.
Finally (and this as a personal preference), after having found several accommodations in the area in which we are interested, with prices and characteristics that we are looking for, what we usually do is to look closely at all the pictures in order to see which one we think is prettier. Since there is usually more than one option, why not choose the prettiest one and feel comfortable?
These are our tips to consider when booking a hotel and we hope that they will be helpful. Remember: you should never book the first hotel you see. This process requires a bit of time and reading a lot of comments in order to find the perfect accommodation. After all, we need to be comfortable in a place to rest well.