A lot of people have been bitten with the travel bug, and the dream is to wander and explore the world out there. But while some people can afford to live in luxury, there are many that are on a budget and just want some cheap travelling. With so much to see and do – and accommodation taking up a large part of the budget – it comes as no surprise that much time is spent scrutinising rates and websites trying to make the right decision.
Looking for a decent place to stay in a city you’ve never been to can be a daunting task. All the options get pretty overwhelming, until you’re right back where you started – without a hotel – only more confused. Here are our tips to help make that search easier, and narrow down the choices:
Google is a very vast bank of information, so just typing in “budget hotels” will give you countless results. For the best outcome, always select the websites that show you prices from different travel websites, making your choice of which hotel to book a lot easier. There are some that are known to be the best website to book hotels on, but it always helps to see all the prices available across the board, as you decide which one suits your budget best.
Even as you see the big bold numbers as the price tag, note that there may be hidden costs mentioned in small print right below it. Look for the asterix that may indicate certain conditions where hidden costs lie. This is important because we get sucked in by the big numbers on display, but when on a budget, these are the small digits that add up.
If the dates of your travel are flexible, this is a deal to make the most of. Tour companies offer cheap travel deals and vacation discounts that include the ticket price, hotel stay and more, during certain times. Availing such a package could get you a better hotel than you would have gone for on a budget, as it is all part of the deal.
When staying in a budget hotel that has little to offer, the reason is so that you can spend more time exploring the city. It is so important to have a hotel that is close to public transport or the city centre, as you do not want to spend the money you saved on accommodation commuting for an hour to get where you want to be.
When all those pictures and prices become overwhelming, you know you can count on reviews. There is no better advertisement than the folks who have actually stayed in a place and can tell you what that experience was like. While reviews can vary from good to bad, remember to keep an open mind and take an average of it. Some people might have had a good day whilst for others, it might have been a bad time. Always go with the majority vote though.
Reviews can tell you lots of things – the cleanliness of the place, the noise level, the quality of food or service, etc. Different things are important to different people and so ask yourself, “What is important to me?” If you live in the city back home, chances are the noise outside won’t bother you. If you plan to spend most of your time out of the hotel, the size of the room shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The key is to identify what you’re going to be doing and what matters, and just filter it out.
Now this is important! Believe it or not, there are some really cheap hotels out there that expect you to share your toilet space with other strangers. Shudder! No matter how many differences we have in other preferences, this one is a universal one! Good budget hotels should take care of you there.
Don’t confuse “budget” with “value” – it is better to pay slightly more and be satisfied with the amenities and services than to have a terrible holiday because you wanted to save a few bucks. Don’t book a hotel just because it is the cheapest option. As long as you can check off your must-haves with a price you’re happy with, you’re good to go.