Choosing accommodation has its thing, at least if we want to do it in the most efficient or convenient way for our travel plans.
There are numerous factors that can complicate the task, such as the budget we have or the low availability if we travel in high season; and factors that, although a priori they are not limiting, they are important to amortize to the maximum our trip, to be comfortable or to avoid complications.
After many years reserving accommodation in countless countries and for trips of all kinds I have learned, sometimes for good and sometimes for bad, what are the tricks or strategies that should be put into practice to choose properly and I wanted to share them here so that you can also take advantage of them.
Keys to choose accommodation properly
Check the veracity of the accommodation we are going to reserve
Nobody likes to sell something that is not what is promised, even less if that can ruin the holidays, suppose a greater economic expense or cause discomfort for a few days in which we are supposed to enjoy.
Unfortunately not all accommodations are sold as they are, and therefore it can happen that we hire one thing and we find another very different when you arrive at our hotel, hostel or holiday apartment.
To avoid those unpleasant surprises and not take away any disappointment, one of the key strategies is corroborate the veracity of what a lodging says that it will offer us during our stay.
In platforms like Booking.com o Airbnb the rating or evaluation system of the users is an invaluable resource to save us dislikes. Therefore, you should never stop consulting them.
Check what those who have already stayed in the accommodation that you are interested in say and you can see if it really offers what it promises.
Of course, and to be fair, keep in mind that each person is "of his father and his mother"And there are travelers who can also become very unfair with accommodations or hosts (in the case of Airbnb).
Therefore, do not focus on a single negative comment (nor on an exaggeratedly wonderful one, since it could be a self-aggrandizement); best read as many comments or evaluations as possible and so you can get a general and more realistic idea of the veracity and quality of the accommodation in question.
If you are not happy, look for opinions from travelers on external platforms
Although the comments or reviews of users on platforms such as Booking or Airbnb are quite reliable (since you can not leave an opinion without previously booking), if there is something that does not give you good thorn, you are not sure if that accommodation is true or you simply want to read more opinions, you can resort to external platforms like Tripadvisor, travel blogs or forums.
These types of websites can also be useful if there is no opinion on the accommodation reservation platform, something that can happen if, for example, the accommodation is new on that platform and you have not received any reservation or feedback till the date.
Travel blogs, forums and websites like Tripadvisor can serve you, as well as to corroborate the truth of an accommodation, for get more specific information or more concrete for your travel plans.
For example, imagine that you are planning to take your car or rent one but you want to know if it is possible or if it is difficult to park in the area where the accommodation is located. This type of information can be found frequently in those places where other travelers share personal experiences, rather than in the descriptions of the hotels and user ratings on internal reservation platforms.
Also, if you do not find the answers you need, you can always write to the author of the blog or leave your question on Tripadvisor or in the forum you want, and maybe another traveler will provide you with the specific information you need.
Have a global vision of the location of the accommodation + your plans + connections with transports
Although in the accommodation reservation platform put "central", 300 meters from the main tourist attractions or bus station in the area; is not sufficient.
I do not mean that it is not true, only that those characteristics, however convenient they may seem, do not fit with your travel plans or that they are not optimal for your particular case.
Therefore, when checking the location and communication with public transport of a lodging, the most convenient is have more or less clear what we want to see and how much and how we are going to move during our trip.
Also, I suggest you corroborate distances with Google Maps, since sometimes many accommodations "are too positive" with respect to distances or times. That is, sometimes when they say only 200 meters or 5 minutes walk, in reality there are usually a few meters and / or a few minutes more.
If you have the address of the hotel, hostel or apartment (in the case of Airbnb you will not know it until you make the reservation, but in Booking you can see the directions specific at any time), simply put it on Google Maps as a starting point and generate a route to the point that interests you (museum, metro stop, etc.).
So you will get not only the distance but the time it will take you to travel depending on whether you are walking, driving, etc.
As for connections with public transport you can use the official website of the transport in question to see the different lines, routes, schedules and frequency of passage.
However, not all the means of transport websites are clear or updated; in some cases even, depending on the country, if they are not translated, they will not be "within our reach" (although we can always use an online translator).
An alternative is to resort to travel blogs, where you will often find posts that explain step by step how to go from one point to another or general information about transportation in a destination that the blogger has visited; and often you will have clearer or more detailed information.
You can also use Google Maps to see the public transport options that you have, but it does not work as well or is not as complete or clear in all cases.
For example, to see the route and possible transportation changes you have to make, as well as travel times, in Madrid, it works phenomenally. However, depending on the destination, you may not be offered information about public transport or it may be limited.
In those cases, to move around international destinations, I recommend you take a look at the Web Rome2rio. It works much better when it comes to obtaining information about transport connections abroad and it will serve you both to see how to move around the city and to plan trips from it.
In addition, it is also more useful than Google Maps if you want to perform a comparison or have a global vision of all the possibilities, since when doing a search the web returns all the existing options to realize the route that interests you (trains, metro, on foot, in Uber, etc.), comparing the cost of each one and the times Travel.
The price is more than a figure
Many times, when choosing accommodation, we look only at the price; especially if we travel on a budget and we want to minimize expenses as much as possible.
However, and although you want to spend the least better, it is convenient toer beyond the number that tells us the price and compare several accommodations that have approximate prices.
I say this because, sometimes, for a difference of 3, 5 or 10 €, accommodation may offer us much more than the cheapest option.
And it's not just about making the most of our money, but sometimes that small price difference at the end it can mean a saving in travel expenses.
For example, imagine an accommodation € 5 more expensive than the cheapest option. The cheapest accommodation has no parking, while the other has free parking for guests. If you are going to travel by car and then it turns out that you are not allowed to park in the cheap hotel area, you will probably have to pay for a private parking, and in the end you may end up spending much more than that difference of € 5 between one accommodation and another .
So my advice is that you always compare several accommodations of approximate price paying attention to what is included in the amount we are going to pay to see which one suits us the most based on our specific plans and needs.
Additional services or extra accommodation
In addition to checking in detail what we get and what not for the price we are going to pay, it is also convenient that when you compare several accommodations you take a look at the added or extra services offered by the different options you are considering.
Although they are paid, we may be interested in having certain services available (such as laundry, parking, entertainment, meals in the accommodation, etc.).
Therefore, to properly choose your hotel, hostel or holiday apartment, and regardless of whether the night of accommodation is worth the same or not, do not stop check and compare what each of them offers as extra services or optional and if they can bring you some benefit or advantage.
Before making your reservation, check the specific characteristics of the room
Of course, it is always a good idea to review the specific characteristics of the room that we are going to reserve, since in many cases hotels use generic images of their bedrooms. they do not reflect the differences between the different types of rooms what are you offering.
If the price varies between the different types of bedrooms it is easier to realize these differences, but sometimes even if the rooms are not identical, the price is the same and it is easier to overlook this check.
For example, if you are going to stay in a hostel, both to compare several accommodation options and to book a specific room, it is convenient take into account the number of beds and the square meters.
On the one hand, the number of beds will influence the movement of people in the room. In general, more people more noise, more entrances and exits during the night, more disorder, etc.
On the other hand, seeing together the number of beds and the square meters of the bedroom will give us an idea of how tight we will be in her.
In the event that you are going to reserve a private room, you are also interested in seeing the concrete square meters, since, depending on the angle, in one picture the room may seem larger than it actually is (and there are rooms there really lowercase!).
The type of bed or beds, if it includes towels and sheets, if heated … are details that can determine your final decision and that, although it may not seem like it, can make the difference between choosing the most convenient accommodation or not.
And you, what other key aspects to take into account when choosing accommodation would you add to this post?