Faremax Top Logo
Faremax Side Logo

Choosing the Right Hotel

It’s never very easy to make a safe selection of hotels from a distance of several hundred or thousand miles. Unless your buying a package vacation you’ll have the task of finding your own accommodation - and doing so can be fraught with problems. Here are some tips for finding a great place to stay:

  • Don’t rely simply on website photos and descriptions to give you a good impression of the hotel. The notion that ‘the camera never lies’ is entirely false. Clearly the owner of the hotel or whichever agency the owner has hired to promote the place are only going to publish photos of the very best bits, carefully short from flattering angles. If they show you a photo of a view from one of their rooms, they’re going to pick a room that looks out over the sea - not one that enjoys uninterrupted vistas of the dumpsters. Likewise, examine website photos closely for manipulation. A common trick – even among respectable hotels – is to ‘stretch’ room images to make them look larger. You can spot this if you look carefully – scour the image for a power point or an alarm clock, or something else with a distinctive shape. If it looks weird, the image has been manipulated to make the room look larger. Also bear in mind that it is standard practice to take room images from one corner to maximize the amount of space visible. If in doubt, check the room measurement – email the management of the hotel if you need to.
  • Try to get some independent verification of the quality of the hotel you’re interested in. Clearly, the best type of testimonial comes from someone you know, or friends of friends who have visited the place. If you don’t know anyone who has been to the area you’re planning to visit, have a search around the web for the hotel’s name and location – you might pick up some interesting information.
  • If you’re heading to a popular resort find out which hotels the large and respectable vacation companies use for their clients. If you’re really unsure, book a room in a chain. Holiday Inns and Hiltons may not have an especially local flavor, but they maintain the same standards of quality the world over.
  • Don’t be afraid to politely pester the management with questions via email. If they really value your custom they won’t mind replying!

Of course, you don’t have to stay in a hotel. There are other options:

  • Bed and Breakfast accommodation can represent great value for money. Many B&Bs also offer evening meals, though you may not get the choice of dishes you might find in a big hotel restaurant. The two big advantages of B&Bs are price and homeliness. They tend to be cheap and they don’t operate in chains – each one is run by someone who has a very direct financial interest in you having a satisfactory stay. Of course, quality varies, but in Europe and the States you usually get what you pay for in these establishments. If you’re web searching, bear in mind that in continental Europe (not the UK) they’re called “pensions”.
  • Holiday homes and cottages. There is an almost infinite range of stand-alone holiday homes in all major western countries – everything from tiny flats in central Rome to sprawling hunting lodges in the highlands of Scotland. Because you have to cater for yourself, a little more work is involved – however, the flip side of that is that if you have kids who are picky eaters you can give them food you know they’ll eat every night. In terms of pricing, a holiday home tends to work out a little more expensive than a comparable hotel once you’ve thrown in the cost of food – but many people find the small extra expense is worth it for the huge amount of independence that having your own ‘home from home’ offers.
  • Camping and trailers. If you’re an experienced camper, great. If not, don’t worry: you don’t have to rough it! Many popular tourist areas the world over offer accommodation in this category, whether it’s a luxury safari camp on the African savannah or a static trailer/caravan on the New Zealand coast, there’s a huge amount of variety. If you enjoy touring with the family it’s possible to hire fully fitted motorhomes in many parts of the world, usually from hire companies close to major airports.

The basic advice when finding somewhere to stay is simple: do your homework. If you use a little common sense, ask the right questions and approach the whole thing with a positive attitude you’re very unlikely to have major problems. Of course, don’t forget to take out travel insurance just in case things don’t turn out quite as you’d hoped – better safe than sorry!

© 2001-2012 Faremax, Inc.  All rights reserved.
faremax.com and its contents are trademarks and/or service marks of Faremax, Inc.
Use of this Website constitutes acceptance of the User Agreement and Privacy Policy