At some point in all of our lives, we find ourselves planning out a trip.
Whether it’s for business or pleasure or just to get away from home, most of us will plan trips many times during out lifetimes. With all the options that are available today, it can get rather confusing.
Between picking out a place to stay from the airline you will fly on to the connections made during your flights, there is a lot to think about and a ton of choices you will be able to make.
With that in mind, here are some simple steps to help you choose the right accommodations for you.
- One of the first things you need to think about is the purpose of your trip. Obviously if you are traveling for business, you will have far different needs than if you planning out the ultimate vacation for you and your family. Maybe you are combining business and pleasure and you want to make sure that you take in some sites or try some activities while you are there. Having a goal for your trip will make it much easier to figure out where you want to stay and why. It can also save you a lot of time and money because you may be able to find a venue that caters to all of your needs rather than just being convenient for one or two things. For example, if you are traveling for a business meeting but want to get in a round of golf after the business is done, you may be able to find a resort that is both close to your meeting place and that also has a golf course. Know your goals ahead of time and you will get more enjoyment out of your trip.
- Know how much time you have for your trip. Obviously the amount of time you wish to spend away from home will dictate how many nights you book at a hotel etc. But if you are on a limited time frame, you may need to pick different flights with different connections. If you have to be somewhere at a certain time, you certainly don’t want to get stuck at an airport with a long layover just to save a buck or two. At the same time, if you are only in town for a couple of days, you may pick a more expensive hotel in a better area since you will only be staying a short period of time.
- Budget, budget, budget. Everything costs money and staying within your budget is important. Do you want to spend more on a faster flight with less lengthy layovers? Do you want to splurge on a nicer hotel? Take into account any activities that you plan to do while there and what they cost. Make sure and budget for transportation costs as well. Whether you rent a car, take a cab, or use Uber, everything will have a different cost and will affect your budget. Stick with your budget or you can soon find things get out of hand with the money you ‘wanted’ to spend and the money you actually end up spending.
- Know your options. Even if you are using a travel site such as Expedia or Kayak you will be able to choose from a wide range of accommodations. Hotels are obviously the choice with the widest variety, but you may also want to consider a hostel as they can be much more affordable. In many cases you may want to look into renting an apartment or villa rather than a hotel room. These types of places offer much more privacy, but obviously less convenience such as room service or dry cleaning. Another option to take a look at that has grown in popularity over the last few decades is Bed and Breakfasts. These can be found in a wide variety of areas and are generally cheaper than hotels. You can get a little more personal service with a B&B and save some money at the save time. If you are traveling out of the country or are really on a budget, you may also want to consider a campground or camping area.
- Take the time to do your research. One of the best things about the internet is that you can very quickly gather a large amount of information on pretty much any place you care to visit. There is no need to guess which hotel is the best one in the area or which one offers the best value for your money. You can quickly and easily research, using travel related sites or simply things like Google Reviews. In no time at all it is relatively easy to get a very accurate picture of any place that you want to stay and to figure out if it is the best fit for you and your needs. Most people post reviews these days after taking a trip, so take the time to listen to what they had to say, not only for the bad things, but for the good as well. Chances are if a person had a great experience at a certain hotel you will too.
- Once you have followed all the above steps, take a minute to review all the information you have accumulated. As stated, you can end up with a plethora of information in a relatively short time, so take a look back through it and make sure the accommodation matches what you have in mind and covers all of your needs. Once you are sure you have the right place, book it!
Lastly, take a moment to record your experiences once you get to your destination so that you can leave can leave a review for someone else.
No matter if your experience was good or bad or simply indifferent, take a minute to post about it online so that you can help out somebody else down the road.