How do you choose accomodations?

Social media is full of algorithms that have you all figured out.  You get advertisements for things you only thought about a few minutes ago.  Weird huh? Choosing your accommodations for trips is a lot like solving for the perfect equation of fun and functional. Sometimes I have the magic touch when it comes to finding just the right place to relax and unwind. Here are some things I consider when choosing a place to stay.

Which is more important to you price or location? This can change by destination of course. If I’m going to the beach, it’s definitely location, the closer the better and I’m willing to pay to be beachfront. If I have to give up a pool or even glamorous furnishings, I live by there is no such thing as an ugly beachhouse. If I’m going to the mountains location isn’t as important because I enjoy all kinds of mountain views. My decision is going to be based more on price and looking for certain amenities that make traveling easier and more enjoyable. When you are traveling with a group this includes sleeping accommodations, kitchens, free breakfast, pools, and other considerations that are important to your traveling partners. If my group is going to a theme park, I appreciate a continental breakfast available so we can be energized and out the door to take advantage of every minute of those park tickets. That is never a consideration for me at the beach because I like a kitchen for a quick lunchtime break and then back to the sunshine and waves.

Speaking of theme parks we have stayed at Orlando resorts that had fun pools and multi bedroom condos away from the parks. And off site hotels that were basically the same as the value resort level Disney hotels that included a shuttle to the parks. Mostly we stayed there because the accommodations at Disney or Universal were full or we were doing multiple destinations and had a car. It has been our experience that the extras you get by staying in the theme park resorts actually saves you time and money, at least on the days you are at Disney or Universal.

Consider your transportation. Are you driving, walking or taking public transportation? If you are driving to your destination you need to consider parking- is it hard to find or expensive? Does your hotel charge for parking? Having your own car opens up a host of locations you can stay if parking issues isn’t a consideration that might save you money.  If you are flying to a destination and will be without a car, staying closer to bus or tram stops or within walking distance to destinations will save you time and money and doesn’t tie you to rideshares that can be busy in tourist areas. I like to use Google Maps and map out hotels to travel destinations and look around on streetview.  Also keep in mind traffic and crime and your comfort level if you plan to walk.  My favorite starting point is using the map feature (Or VRBO, AirBnB if you are staying in a short term rental). Read the reviews, take note of the price and then compare with other accomodations. Here is where a travel advisor can save you time and money. Hotels will almost always be cheaper through a travel agent and even if you manage to find a deal that’s not, they can probably at least snag you an upgrade for you.  Weighing the factors and making decisions based on your group’s needs may be tricky but it can make a big difference on how much you enjoyed your trip.

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