Finding a place to stay may seem easy at first, but the options you have to choose from can start to make it a little time consuming. With so many deals available on accommodation, it can be tempting to give things a quick once-over and just hit the ‘buy’ button. Before you do that, give yourself more time for some final checks, as the one thing you may miss in your haste, could impact on your trip, and maybe not for the better! Here are 10 steps to find the perfect accommodation on holiday.
- Review and rating spot check
It’s always a good idea to take the time to look at more than one review website, especially if you’re packaging up a trip yourself. It’s good to read what other solo travellers say about the place and location. Female solo travellers will let you know if they felt safe and comfortable for example. Doubling up is also good for final confirmation that the place you’ll be laying your head is up to the standard you’re looking for. In most cases the reviews sing a similar song, but it’s always good to do a review spot check.
- Traveller photos and room tips
Whenever you get the chance (this depends on the review site), make sure you take a look at any traveller photos available. TripAdvisor’s a useful place for this and it definitively can make or break your choice – hopefully make it! Not only does it show you the ‘real’ inside, but it’s also good to see how a view from the type of room you wish to book, is. You know, that “sea view” room could turn out to be hidden by trees. While photos show you one side, make sure you also take some of them with a pinch of salt and of course, some of the reviews themselves. There are people that simply like to complain – “the queue was too long at breakfast”, then you read another review applauding hotel staff for cooking their omelettes fresh every day the way they like them!
- Location confirmation
It almost sounds crazy, but there’s nothing wrong with double checking the location of a property across more than one site. I remember reading a review where a traveller said the location of the hotel he’d booked ended up being in a completely different location to where it was stated through the website he had booked. Ever since reading that, I double checked all my chosen places to be on the safe side!
- Make contact
To get an idea of how responsive the owners or staff are, as well as giving a sense of how welcoming and friendly they are, it’s definitely worth sending a message to the hotel, especially if you’re booking your stay through a third-party website. Another reason to get in contact is if you’re arriving before the set check-in time. It may be nice to let them know you plan to arrive earlier – they may be more accommodating and let you check in before time.
- Child friendly facilities
You may generally expect the majority of hotels, guesthouses and B&B’s to have facilities for children in some way, shape or form, but there are quite a few that still don’t cater fully for little ones. Depending on what you need, whether it’s a crèche, a high-chair or even a lift for pushchairs, you should check to make sure your chosen accommodation has what you require in advance.
- Shuttle service
No matter where you’re staying, it’s always a good idea to check and see if your accommodation offers an airport shuttle service. Many provide a pick-up service for guests, and most of the time this will be free – handy if you’re on a budget. You may have a minimum night stay provision. Depending on your location, some places will also do the same even if you’re arriving by ferry and pick you up at the port.
- Safety boxes and lockers
Not all hotels provide safety deposit boxes or a lockable cupboard, especially some smaller B&Bs. It’s one of the things I always check since it’s handy for keeping a few things in while you’re out sightseeing. If you’re staying at a hostel, you’ll most likely have a lockable cupboard assigned to your bunk or bed. Remember to bring your own padlock! I’ve stayed in places with and without safety boxes and it’s been fine – it’s more for added security. Just don’t do what I did and leave your passport in it! I didn’t even notice until I got to the airport and had to go all the way back. I still made flight.
Having good Wi-Fi connection is a must-have for many people – myself included. Many places offer free Wi-Fi in rooms, but double check. A few still only provide it in public areas, communal lounges or the reception. If you’re going online a lot, you’ll want a strong connection. Reviews are handy as some people mention Wi-Fi connections, especially if the signal wasn’t strong enough or it kept cutting out.
- Ironing out creases
I always check if a hotel has ironing facilities – preferably in the room. It’s not always a necessity but if you’re planning to go out and have items that crease, you’ll need it. If there’s no iron in the room I tend to ask for one when I arrive. That way I can iron and hang out those items for the rest of my trip. The other option is to buy a travel iron as they’re not very expensive.
- Location and transport
Depending on where you’re staying, make sure there’s either a bus, metro or tram stop nearby. It doesn’t have to be around the corner, but one within walking distance is useful. It’s a good idea to check on a supermarket nearby. Large hotels may have one on the premises, but if you’re in a self-catering apartment, it may come in handy.
That’s it! Some simple steps to help you find your perfect accommodation for your holiday!
Do you have any trip tips to share? Booked somewhere and it wasn’t what it seemed? Share