Hotel, hostel, apartment – where you’ll be staying during your travels in most cases, unless you’re an avid backpacker who’s used to not paying for accommodation and is willing to live anywhere.
It may seem that there aren’t many pitfalls here, especially when you’re traveling more than you’re at home. Despite the apparent simplicity, many mistakes are made, and you have to pay for these mistakes – with money, spoiled mood, and sometimes even the accommodation itself.
Here are the top-10 most common mistakes when choosing accommodation for your journey.
Choosing a Hotel Solely Based on Price
If the price is your top priority when choosing a hotel, go ahead and filter by the cheapest options and book it. However, keep in mind that cheap accommodation is often cheap for a reason. It might be far from your points of interest, costing you more in transportation. The windows might face a local dump, construction site, or an unsafe neighborhood.
Read reviews, preferably from multiple sources. For example, if I recommend accommodation options in Bangkok, go to Booking.com and read reviews there – compare them with mine.
Tip! Don’t go for the absolute cheapest hotel! Check reviews and location.
Neglecting Resort Fees
Often, the low price of accommodation doesn’t include resort fees. This means the price you see prominently displayed is followed by a list of hotel amenities and, at the very bottom, the resort fee. It can be as high as 20 or 40 Euros per night, especially when booking in the USA.
Tip! Find out about hidden resort fees BEFORE booking.
Parking Not Included
If you’re traveling by car, having parking included can be a huge convenience. In many city centers, finding parking can be a nightmare. Some hotels may have parking, but it comes with an extra fee.
Parking costs can range from 15 to 60 Euros per day.
Tip! Make sure your accommodation offers parking included in the stay.
Wrong Cancellation Policy
Non-refundable rates might save you a few Euros per night, but it’s better to choose a rate with free cancellation. In case your plans change, the hotel will refund your money.
Cancellation policies can vary, such as 24 hours or a week in advance. Always consider the hotel’s time zone and compare it to yours, as “24 hours” might mean 12-14 hours.
Tip! Assess the cancellation policy before booking. Consider the time zone.
Booking with a Debit Card
Only book hotels or other accommodations with a credit card. Credit cards offer purchase protection, making it easier to get your money back if something goes wrong. You also have the option to pay off your credit card balance during the grace period to avoid interest.
Additionally, credit cards often offer loyalty programs, miles for flights, and cashback for purchases. Sometimes, the hotel will block a certain amount on your card, and it’s better if it’s done against your credit limit.
Credit cards provide more convenience when planning your travels.
Tip! Use a credit card for better protection and the possibility of cashback.
Attempting to book accommodation at the last minute often means you’ll have limited and expensive options. Your choices will be significantly restricted, and you may have to compromise not only on cost but also on location.
Tip! Start planning your trip in advance to avoid limited options and high prices.
Incorrect Dates and Locations
It may sound strange, but many people make mistakes in booking dates, cities, or even countries. Given the multitude of accommodations with similar names, you might end up booking something entirely different from what you intended.
Mixing up dates is even easier, especially when crossing time zones.
Tip! Be attentive when searching for and booking accommodations. Double-check all information before clicking the “book” button. Pay attention to the hotel’s time zone and compare it to your own.
Overlooking Important Amenities
If you need a pool, a kitchen, a balcony, or a terrace in your hotel, make sure to check if these amenities are available when booking. Don’t rely solely on website images; read the specific room description for the one you’re booking. Different room categories may have different amenities.
In other words, not every room will have a balcony or terrace, and not every hotel will have a pool or sauna. The same applies to airport transfers; not all hotels offer this service.
Tip! Evaluate your needs and make sure the accommodation description includes everything you expect.
Not Requesting an Upgrade
Why not give it a shot? Try asking for an upgrade when booking. Often, hotels are willing to offer upgrades at no additional cost. Even a small improvement can significantly enhance your comfort and enjoyment during your vacation.
Of course, don’t expect to get a penthouse if you booked the most budget-standard room, but you might get a room with a balcony or a more spacious one.
Tip! Call the hotel in advance and ask for a possible room upgrade.
Reconsidering Loyalty Programs
Many hotels offer loyalty programs that can tie you to a specific brand. Before agreeing to such programs, evaluate the benefits you’ll receive and compare them to any additional expenses you might incur by choosing that hotel.
Tip! Don’t overpay for loyalty status. Think about the cost versus the benefits.
By avoiding these common booking mistakes, you can make your travel experiences more enjoyable and hassle-free.