April 09, 2013

Home away from Home {Travel tuesday}

Aveiro, Portugal
The most asked travel question I get asked is, "Can you recommend a place to stay?". Very reasonable question considering the amount of travel I do as a flight attendant. Problem is, flight attendants while working stay where their company places them. So, we always stay at the same crew hotels (with changes occasionally) and on occasion I have actually stayed for leisure at the same hotels as we tend to get great crew rates.

Miami, Florida
Although I can advise you on where to have the best coffee, best beauty stores, and best shopping areas unfortunately lodging is not my expertise. My husband would also add that I am the pickiest person when it comes to choosing a hotel. Basically, half the month I live in hotels for work therefore when choosing a leisure hotel I try to choose hotels that are a little bit boutique or wouldn't exactly fit the stereotypical chain hotel setting. Unless, of course no deal is to be had the hotels that offer crew rates are my second choices.
Hong Kong, crew hotel
Where does my research start when choosing hotels:

  1. LOCATION: a centrally located hotel near attractions is always a good idea if it's your first time. However, be prepared to pay top dollar. Also, factor in transportation. If you're not map smart or not too keen on taking public transit being centrally located might be better for you.
  2. VALUE: what is your travel budget? Depending on your trip style i.e beach, city, etc...also dictates what amenities you are looking for in a holiday property. Do you want; all-inclusive, breakfast included, free wifi, airport shuttle, etc...factor in all your needs. Accommodations can be expensive; determine if you will be spending more time at a resort style hotel or city style setting whereas all you basically need is a clean room and bathroom.
  3. REVIEWS: pictures can be deceiving! Have you ever arrived at a hotel and realized the online images don't match the real deal? Or bad customer service outweighed even the most luxurious hotels? Is the hotel in a busy area, near nightclubs? Guaranteed reviews will bring up the worst and best experiences.
  4. POLICIES: read the fine print! Cancellation policy, checking out fees attached after the fact,additional hidden fees. And always check your credit card after checking out for these additional fees. Room service charges even though nothing was used from the mini-bar.

Also, take into consideration SEASON! Off season can be a great way to discover a new location if you don't like crowds and much cheaper.
Favourites travel resources:

  • hotels: booking.com 95% of my travel accommodations have been booked with booking.com. They always have the best deals!
  • apartment rentals: airnb.com for those that want a more authentic home feel of a location.
  • reviews: word-of-mouth & tripadvisor.ca
Which sites are your go-to travel resources?

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