Choosing a hotel: Tips for the ideal hotel

Tips for Choosing a Hotel for Your Vacation

Choosing a hotel is something to do very carefully!  It can really make or break the comfort of your vacation.

Choosing a hotel: Europa Madrid

As they say in real estate …location, location, location!! Beware of the name….not all “Times Square” hotels are actually located in Times Square.

How to choose the perfect hotel:

 Choosing a Hotel:  Get close to the sights.

Even if that means spending a little more money to stay close to the sights it is worth it.  Time is money on a vacation. Don’t waste your time traveling to and from the sights.

Choosing a hotel: reading a map

It costs money to get from your cheap hotel to the sights. Spend that money on the hotel instead of transportation to and from that cheap hotel.

Be sure to look at a map. There are a lot of hotels named ‘Times Square” that aren’t actually IN Times Square.

Choosing a Hotel: Ask about Room Configurations.

Do you have a preference for bed types? Do you need a certain group of bed sizes? Do you need one King with two twins or will two queens do? In Italy we encountered bunk beds and the kids loved them.

Choosing a hotel: bunk beds in Italy

If your kids are big enough to be in their own room can they be down the hall from you or do they need to be in an adjoining room?

Choosing a Hotel: Look for extras.

There are probably several places to stay near the main sights. Freebies or extras  can make a big difference between them for a traveler.

**Free wifi? 

Choosing a hotel: free wifi

Be careful. Old hotels have wifi, but I have had to sit in the hallway with one arm in the air while balancing on one foot to get it.

**Free breakfast?

Hubby doesn’t like photos before caffeine. 🙂 Having breakfast included in the cost of the room saves money and time. It is also a great way to taste the local fare. A breakfast buffet lets everyone try new things without worrying about ordering an entire meal that no one really likes.

Choosing a hotel: Free breakfast

**Pool? Workout room?

Is a workout important to you? Are you hoping to stay fit while on vacation or a business trip? A workout room in the hotel makes it easy. Pools are great for kids to burn off some energy before bedtime.

Choosing a hotel: Pool

**Will they keep your bags when you arrive?

Sometimes you arrive in the morning and your room isn’t ready until much later in the day. Or perhaps you want to check out but still have several hours to enjoy before leaving. A safe spot to leave your luggage will give you peace of mind to enjoy every minute of your vacation without having to schlep the luggage with you!

**Food available?

Be sure to check out the hours. I have had candy bars out of a machine for dinner before I learned to check! In some countries, like Turkey, there are always snacks and tea in the main lobby all day long. A quick snack in the afternoon is great to keep everyone energized till dinner.

**Is there a washer/dryer available?

When you pack really light, you will have to do some laundry. Will the hotel send out your laundry for you? Will you be there on the weekend? Check the days hotel laundry is available. When in doubt you can always wash a little laundry in the sink! Read more about doing laundry on the road here.

Choosing a hotel: washing in the sink

Choosing a Hotel: Beware extra fees.

Extra fees can add up really fast. Be sure to know what you are in for before you go!

Extra fees to ask about:


taxes of all sorts

mini bar

Choosing a Hotel: Read the Reviews.

Read reviews before you book. I love Trip Advisor and always look up the hotel there to check out what recent travelers have to say. Be sure to look at the date to make sure the information is current.

Enjoy your adventure that includes the perfect lodging!

Choosing a hotel: Sumengen Hotel in Istanbul

Happy Travels!

Natalie, The Educational Tourist

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14 Responses

  1. Kaylie says:

    Great tips. I always cringe when I ask my husband how he chose the hotel “I picked the one at the top”. So many things to think about when picking a good hotel. I think you’ve got it covered well here.

  2. Ashley says:

    Fantastic post! I have gotten burned once or twice when it comes to hotels and while I habe learned from each experience, you hit on a couple things I wouldn’t have thought of.


  3. Kristi says:

    So many great tips! I’ve learned so much from your tips and great blog posts! These tips are so important. I’ve made the mistake of finding something a little cheaper further away from the sights because “it doesn’t look too far away” on the map. I always try to get as close as I can to where we want to be now! I’ve also forgotten to check if there’s a pool…an important factor for my kids!

  4. Kim says:

    Great set of tips. If they advertise free wifi and you have to sit in the hall to use it, can you ask for $ back?

    • NatalieTanner says:

      LOL! I don’t know, but it wouldn’t be worth it to me. We try to accept the good and let the bad flow past us….we did have it after all in the end.

  5. i learned the importance of hotel accessible to sights and other fun things few years ago…we booked our hotel without realizing the distance away from the main area, it was bad.

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Oh, I bet!! I learned the hard way that just because a hotel says ‘Time Square’ does not mean they are actually IN Time Square! LOL! I’ll never make THAT mistake again.

  6. jeffsabrina1995 says:

    Oh I never thought to look for extra fees And a washer/dryer is always a good idea. I’ve washed numerous panties in the bathroom sink!!

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Us, too! I just heard the CRAZIEST thing the other day on Facebook….that people boil their panties in the hotel tea kettles? Can you EVEN? LOL!!! Why didn’t they just use the sink? I don’t even WANT to know why they felt the need to boil them instead of just wash…….

  7. These are amazing tips!! Can’t wait to put them in action!

  1. September 30, 2016

    […] Bring just a few clothes and have them laundered for you at the hotel when you need. It can be awesome! You put your clothes in a bag in the morning and when you return you find them nicely folded in a basket on the bed. This photo was from Hotel Europa in Madrid.  […]

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