When you are going on a family vacation, making a hotel reservation is an important part of the planning process. However, it is all too easy to end up choosing a shabby hotel that overcharges you. Use the following tips to make sure that you choose a great hotel at a good rate.
Spend some time reading online reviews of hotels left by real customers before you make a reservation. These reviews are often your best source of information, since they are written by people who have actually stayed at the hotel. Be sure to pay attention to the most recent reviews, since the hotel may have already addressed older complaints.
To save a little bit of money on the cost of your hotel room, whether you are booking over the phone or online, see if there is a discount for paying at the time of booking rather than waiting to pay at checkout. Often this can make the difference between queen and king beds, or between a room and a suite.
Before you book a hotel, look for deals online. Many times, the reservation specialist won’t tell you of discounts when you call to book your room. This is why it’s up to you to search for these discounts. Use popular websites such as Jetsetter, SniqueAway, or RueLalaTravel.
To get the best possible rate for a hotel room, book well in advance of your trip. Rates are markedly higher if you just get the room at the desk. In addition to saving you a lot of money, advance booking will also ensure you aren’t left without a room.
When traveling with small children, try to choose a hotel that caters to them. Most hotels offer cribs. Some have playgrounds and/or pools to help keep your kids entertained. Some even offer or children’s programs during the day or babysitters at night. Many hotels do not charge extra for children under a certain age to stay in the same room with their parents.
Sign up for frequent guest programs at hotels. Similar to frequent flyer programs with an airline company, hotel programs will typically give you points for each visit. Use them for discounts, entertainment tickets and other things.
Call the hotel you are planning to stay in and see if they offer any discounts. Many hotels offer discounts for senior citizens, business travelers, military personnel and government officials. Additionally, if you are a member of an automobile association, you may qualify for a reduced rate on your hotel stay.
If you are going to stay in a hotel, be sure to give them a call the day before you are due to arrive. Hotels are not responsible for calling guests to confirm their reservation; that is up to the guest. Always call the hotel to be sure your room is still reserved.
To keep your incidentals at a minimum, especially when you are staying at a hotel outside the US, ask about the cost of wireless Internet before you check in, and especially before you log in the first time. Some hotels don’t disclose the costly per-minute costs of Internet access, but they will certainly show up on the bill.
Be aware of your surroundings in a hotel to stay safe. Don’t open the door without knowing who is behind it. Use the peephole. Hotel residents are especially vulnerable to theft. Check in with the front desk if there are any deliveries to your door and keep the door locked even when inside.
Nothing can ruin a family vacation more quickly than a stay in a dirty, grimy hotel. You want your family to remember the good times about the trip, not the disgusting hotel room that you had to stay in. Remember the advice you have read here to make the right hotel reservation.