Let's face it, for a family to take a vacation together there are a lot of things to plan and put into place. A little bit of initial prepping and planning can help make your family vacation one filled with happy memories. Choosing the best hotel for your vacation can be one of the biggest decisions, which is why I'm sharing some of my favorite, helpful tips for how to decide where to stay.
Location, Location, Location
This old real estate saying applies to hotels as well. Finding a hotel that is central to your main touring area can save you a lot of hassle and stress. Of course, you'll probably have plans to visit a variety of locations around a town, but that's where a little research goes a long way. Use an online map to determine how long of a walk or drive it is from a certain hotel to your destinations. You might even want to print off an area map and use some dots to help locate where you want to visit, and where your hotel options are located.
Once you know where your primary attractions are located, it makes it much easier to use a travel search engine or hotel website to view the hotel options on a map. You'll have narrowed in on an area you want to be and the hotels near there will be shown. This can save you time and stress if you're nearer to your destinations, plus if an attraction is further away you'll be prepared for that and can ask the hotel staff at check in what an average travel time is for that destination based on traffic.
Fun for All
Amenities are one of my primary focuses when choosing a hotel. Don't be fooled by just looking at star levels when booking. I recommend deciding before you start researching what some of your high priorities are for a hotel. You might even do this together as a family. Do you want a pool, water slide, golf course, free breakfast, free parking, free wifi? All of these things might matter, but you need to prioritize them in a list.
Now armed with your list of what you want most in your vacation hotel, you can start to research. You'll quickly dial into properties that are located near where you want to be, and that meet, possibly, at least, some of the amenities at the top of your priority list.
This is a huge one for families. King beds are perfect for the romantic getaway, or a co-sleeping family, but you might prefer instead two queen beds, or perhaps even a suite. When researching hotels be sure to evaluate what room types they have available.
This can be a tricky issue if you're booking through a third party site that doesn't specify a room type. Often they'll assign you a "Run of the House" room type which means upon check-in, or when they assign rooms earlier, you'll be given whatever room they have available. You can always try to make requests, but don't expect a certain room type unless you book that type.
This one can go along with the amenities list, but as you're choosing a hotel for your vacation be sure to note any possible "hidden" fees. These normally are stated on a hotel website, but you might not know about them when booking.
Often these fees are classified as a "resort fee" or "daily use fee" and are said to help cover fitness centers, newspapers, and other miscellaneous amenities. Many times you can feel like you're scoring a deal on a great hotel, only to see they charge a $12-$25 / night resort fee. This doesn't necessarily remove a hotel from your list, however, it's important to take note if you're basing your choice on cost.
Cost & Rewards
Most people immediately consider the price of a hotel as one of the deciding factors in choosing where to spend their vacation money. But I want to add a little bit onto that calculation, rewards.
Do you have a branded credit card for a hotel or even an airline? Often these cards will offer you bonus points when booking at a specific hotel chain with your card. You can also look on the hotel brand's website for any special offers. Some chains run deals like stay two nights get one free. When you start adding up points and rewards, you might be earning an award that will overall reduce the cost by providing future travel credit.
Now you should have some great tips that will help you tackle one of the bigger choices families have to make when planning a vacation, where to stay.
I'd love to know your tips on choosing the best hotel or getting travel deals, comment below and share!
Meet Kimberly of Stuffed Suitcase. She is a mom and wife who loves to travel with her family. Research and planning for vacations is a definite hobby for her. Pop over to her site for tips on making amazing family memories on the road. You’ll see her sharing peeks of her family life and tips to help you enjoy your family time more.
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