Every journey starts by looking furiously online for accommodation.
Then comes the lists of things to do.
Then comes the niggling doubts that creep in…
Did I forget to do something…?
Staying and booking a hotel or motel shouldn’t involve the drama that it sometimes does. Also, getting a great deal isn’t all that hard. There are only a few things that matter, in terms of being prepared.
How do you get a great deal then, first off?
Be old fashioned and call em up
Online deals are great and there are plenty of deals to be found.
But calling up the old fashioned way is good too.
Calling up a place will get you in direct contact with the person that organises reservations. At the end of the day, these people control where and at what price your room will be during your stay.
Be friendly, and ask for any deals available. They will be willing to match or even give you better deals found online. It’s because they are willing to go a bit lower, as they won’t pay commission fees to online hotel retailers.
At the end of the day, being friendly will get you a better deal. Better yet, you can get rooms that are ‘better’. Not all rooms are the same. Some will be nosier, smaller or far away from parking.
Be specific in your questions, ‘I’d like a quiet room’. If you require special needs, make sure to call in advance and succinctly explain why you need a ground floor room, or special access. These things can slip away when you make online bookings.
Be nice and to the point, and the person that will book you in will help you out.
Beware of the fine print
Any hotel or motel will have some sort of cancellation policy. Your online dealers will have policies that reflect the motel’s policies also.
These are something you need to keep in mind when you travel. Cancellations happen all the time, but paying penalties doesn’t have to be the end picture.
If your travel arrangements are determined by the weather, or your work days shift constantly, explain it to the motel/hotel well in advance. By making sure of this, you can negotiate different policies that suite you.
You can be sure though that any accommodation business will charge you a penalty fee if you cancel last minute. If you don’t want to be left paying a penalty fee, communicate your situation in advance if possible.
Also, when cancelling online bookings made by a second party on your behalf (Expedia etc) make sure to notify both the online retailer and the hotel. If you explain well enough, hotels will let you off the hook and waive their cancellation fee, which will be communicated to your online retailer.
Plan ahead for no hassles
You may not know, but not all motels or hotels offer after hours check ins. Make sure to communicate your arrival time accurately to avoid hiccups.
Doing so will give you some leeway in how best to spend your time on your trip. Rather than rushing to check in, you can leisurely check in at your convenience.
Also most after hour check in procedures will require prepayment up front and some sort of identification, usually a credit card. Make sure you can meet their needs, and they will help you check in safely after hours.
Leave with everything
Last but not least is leaving with a bang.
Or leaving stuff behind. If you ask front desk for a spare phone charger, you would be surprised at the huge pile they have left over from guests.
Make sure to have a simple list of the important things you need to take back with you.
- Keys & wallet.
- Passport: Always check, especially if you are a foreigner travelling overseas.
- Toiletries: Make sure to check, as it’s only funny once if you leave your toothbrush behind.
- Phone charger & phone: It’s one thing to leave your charger, and another to leave your phone. Get them inside your bag together so that you always check for both.
- laundry, clothes: A lot of people simply forget their washing.
You will save time for not needing to go back and pick up items. Also, buying toothbrushes and phone chargers add up, if you keep leaving things behind.
Booking and travelling should be fun, not stress ridden. Get your details right, and you will be surprised at how easy it is to get great deals from hotels.
What do you think? How do you prepare when you travel?
Please share your tips and insight in the comments below.
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