3 Important Things to Do Before You Book Your Accommodation
Four years ago, I went on my first trip to Europe during which I visited Rome, Paris & Barcelona. I was traveling with a friend who wasn't interested in trying out hostels so we decided to stay in hotels, which we selected based on their prices (cheap!). This worked out ok for Paris and Barcelona. However, for our Rome trip, the daily 40-minute bus ride from the hotel into the city to visit key attractions was not something we were expecting!
Reflecting on my Rome trip, I realized that time is just as valuable as money! It's all about finding the balance between having an affordable stay and taking advantage of every opportunity so that you can maximize your vacation time.
If you want to achieve this vacation sweet spot, here are 3 key things you need to do before you book your accommodations:
1. Have an idea of the activities you'd like to do.
Having an idea of what you want to do during your vacation is a key part of determining where you will stay. If all your desired "things to do" are concentrated in one area, you should consider booking an accommodation that is not on the opposite end of town.
2. Identify the distance between your accommodation, key attractions and public transit.
This is a biggie and something I clearly didn't do when I planned my Rome trip. When I travel, I tend to ball on a budget and try to avoid unnecessary expensive taxi rides (especially in cities with solid transit systems). Once you get an idea of what you want to do, identify the distance between your accommodation, your key attractions and public transit.
Something to think about:
What is the maximum amount of time you want to spend in transit (bus, train, etc.)? I typically aim for up to a 20 minute commute (this includes the time it takes to get to the public transit from my accommodation).
My go-to resources for identifying places to stay are Air BnB & Trip Advisor.
Even if you don't decide to book an accommodation through Air BnB, you can still use its location feature to identify neighborhoods to stay. When you select a place, navigate to the Location tab to get a geographic sense of where the neighborhood is relative to attractions and public transit.
Trip Advisor's Location tab offers another way to help guide your decision by looking at top-rated nearby attractions and restaurants!
3. Read reviews
The last thing you want to do before booking your accommodation is to read recent guest reviews. Pictures and descriptions provided by the business can be misleading, but guest reviews and pictures can provide you with a realistic idea of what to expect during your stay. Trip Advisor has over 435 million travel reviews. Trip Advisor reviews follow a badge system where you can identify the knowledge and expertise of the reviewer. In a world of unmonitored comments, Trip Advisor's comprehensive system helps me trust the reviews shared on their site.
Now that you've thought about what you want to do during your vacation, identified neighborhoods that are close to those activities and public transit, and read guest reviews, you are all set to book!
What are some other key things you consider before you book your accommodations? I would love to hear about them in the comments section!
Also, if you found this helpful, you will love my FREE ebook! It's a step-by-step guide to planning your dream vacation from start to finish. Grab it here! If you are already on my email list, check your email - your goodie should already be there.