Planning for the holidays can be very exciting. Now is the time to design your perfect getaway with your loved ones, or maybe even a solo trip. You may be looking to sail the seas or do some adventure hiking in mountains. Maybe you are looking for much-needed break and relaxation on a sandy beach. Wherever your destination, you will need a place to lay your head at night.
Looking for accommodations outside your home country can feel a little intimidating, especially if there is a language barrier. Each country’s idea of accommodations may be different, so it is good to know what to look for when booking hotels abroad. Here are some things to keep in mind before you book the right accommodation for your trip.
Pay attention to star ratings
Star ratings are not just some decorative banner on a webpage below the name of a hotel. They really mean something. Star ratings should not be ignored. Star ratings are supposed to be objective, so you know whether or not a place is truly worth it. Typically a hotel’s amenities determine its star rating. If you are trying to decide between picking a 4-star hotel or a 5-star hotel, the difference may be in the amenities.
Though you should pay attention to star ratings, you should remember to take it with a grain of salt as there is not a standard rating system. This means that the value of a particular star rating could vary from country to country. The bottom line is, the star-rating is a good start when searching for worthwhile accommodation.
Keep your budget in mind
Ok, now you have a good idea about star-ratings that does not mean, you have to spend thousands of dollars just to stay somewhere of quality. You can still stay at a quality place but at a more reasonable price. That is why you need to have a budget in mind. You should also look at the bigger picture as some things are worth paying the extra money for.
For example, if you shop the internet and are having a tough time deciding to spend more money on a hotel that is closer to all the attractions you want to see as opposed to going with a cheaper room that is farther away, it may be best to pay the extra money. You may spend more money upfront, but it will even out once you consider the cost of transportation.
Consider how much room space you need
Room sizes vary from country to country. Hotels in some countries are in renovated or historic buildings, so the room sizes do not leave much to work with. These are typically in great buildings, in great locations, but they are typically smaller rooms than hotels. Not every hotel in a different country will be small though, just be prepared to pay a premium price for the extra space.
Knowing how much space you need is important because it will help you determine your budget, how much you should pack and ultimately where you decide to stay during your holiday vacation.
Bathrooms are slightly different
Bathrooms abroad can differ from your home country. Some bathrooms are really small, with no bathtub and shower combination. You can expect either the shower to be really small or the bathtub will have a handheld showerhead you can use on yourself. Some bathrooms abroad come with a bidet in addition to the toilet. You may not find any washcloths, hand towels or body towels offered. Your bed linens are also not washed on a daily basis.
Central air conditioning may be different too
Hotels abroad may not have air conditioning or they choose to keep it off until the heat becomes too unbearable. When they do turn on, they may not get the job done. Prepare for this and pack some air conditioning of your own. If you are traveling abroad during their hotter months, take a little, battery-powered fan with you. This small fan can stop your hotel room from feeling stuffy because of the lack of air conditioning. Conversely, if reach your destination in the colder months you can expect your hotel room to have a radiator. Just keep in mind that those can be very drying to the skin.
Internet and television are not a given
You should not expect to have wifi and a TV in your hotel room when you travel abroad. Hotels in your home country may offer you a room with a TV and the ability to connect to the internet, but that is not a given in every hotel outside of your home country. Some hotels do not come with a TV in their rooms. While they may have wifi, it may come as an added cost.
If your hotel room does come with a TV, keep in mind that the channels offered may be different. You likely will not have access to any of your satellite channels, but you may be able to watch local channels in the language of the country you are visiting.
Standard amenities are not so standard abroad
What you may consider standard may not be standard in another country. Those standard things could include little soaps, miniature shampoos, a hairdryer, a shower cap and little lotion bottles just to name a few. That is not to say hotels abroad never offer these things as there are some hotels that do. You just want to manage your expectations when it comes to getting those amenities.
Getting to your room may be a challenge
If you are the type of person that packs heavy, you should reconsider especially if you are traveling to another country. Elevators may be customary in hotels in your home country, but some hotels in other parts of the world are housed in older buildings in which elevators were not incorporated when it was built. You may have to hull your bags up a flight of stairs or two to get to your room.
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