After carefully selecting the accommodation where you will be staying, the next thing to consider is how to choose a room when traveling. While you may be staying in your dream location, the wrong room could ruin your experience.
Does the room that you choose matter? Well, it might. It likely depends on a variety of variables.
Factors That Influence How to Choose a Room When Traveling
- Before we get into specifics, it is important to consider some general factors. How do you normally live? Are you used to being in a small city apartment or are you accustomed to a large sprawling space.
- What is your lifestyle? Are you usually modern, upscale, and fancy? Do you like these qualities when traveling too?
- What are your travel expectations for this place? Are you looking to live in the room, or just crash at the end of the day?
- What are your bottom line needs? Is a kitchen or desk a must have?
- What is your budget? Is this a splurge or are you looking to save?
Answering these basic questions first will help you narrow down your selection. The ultimate goal is to choose a room that will fulfill your needs, fit your budget, and facilitate an enjoyable trip.
While at first, you may think to yourself that it is just a room and that you do not plan on spending much time in it. However, the time you do need to be there, should be stellar, or at least pleasantly nondescript. You should not dread having to return to your room.
Questions to Ask Yourself on How to Choose a Room When Traveling
- Are you looking for quiet or do you want to be in the center of the action?
- Would you prefer a view?
- Do any of the rooms face a show or fireworks?
- Does the room offer a balcony or patio?
- Is there a fridge?
- Do you need a kitchen?
- Is there a sitting area?
- What category is the room? Is it a standard, a junior suite, a suite?
- Does the room include a butler or private staff?
- How much space do you require?
- What size is the bed and is there more than one?
- Is there a sofa? Does it pull out to a bed?
- How much luggage do you have versus room size?
- Do you want to be high up? What floor do you prefer?
- Is there an elevator or only stairs?
- Do you need a desk?
- Is there a shower, tub, or both?
- What size and quantity of beds do you need?
- Does the room category include club access or spa access?
- Will you be spending much time in your room?
- What is the purpose of your room – romance, business, a place to sleep, relaxation, etc.?
- Does the room offer a special feature like a hot tub or private pool?
- Is the room allergen free?
- Does the room have bathroom facilities ensuite?
- Is the room rate refundable?
- What is included in the room rate? Is breakfast or half board included?
- Does the facility have several buildings? Is there a main building or an annex?
- Is there a historic or older wing and a newer tower? Do you have a preference?
- Do you need a meeting space?
Verifying Your Room Type
Once you have selected your room, or at least narrowed it down to one or two, it is a good idea to verify your choice to be sure you are getting what you desire. Many hotel websites, as well as booking sites, offer customer reviews and room tips. By reading the reviews, you may get information that helps you finalize or rethink your choice.
Even if you choose to book your room using a reliable third party site, you can still visit the actual accommodation website to view their description and photo of each room. The direct site usually provides the most accurate description. Also, sometimes I find special rooms that are not listed on third party sites that I can only book directly. Often hotels are willing to work with you on pricing and deals if you decide to book through them directly.
An option I use often is calling or emailing the accommodation directly and asking them questions regarding their rooms that may not be obvious just by looking online. When we were looking to rent a historic apartment in a Tuscan Villa, there were four different ones available. I saw a photo of one that seemed to have a small outside dining table over the sunflowers, but I could not figure out which one it was. The owner emailed me back, telling me which unit she favored and why, and which had the table.
My Personal Two Cents
For me personally, I work hard and play hard. Even in my dream destination, I know that I will be spending substantial time in my room. I always have my laptop and generally make time for a few hours of work when I get up, or when I get back after touring. I also like to take a down day to enjoy the amenities of the property, sleep in, or read.
Therefore, the room features that are often important to me are quiet, a private outside space, be it a balcony or patio, where I can work or read, and a nice view. Especially if I am traveling with my husband, I like a king sized bed and a refrigerator to store local snacks. Often at day end, I enjoy wine and tapas in my private alfresco space.
I understand that for some people, my requirements would be opposite of theirs. Perhaps it is important to be right on the pool with easy access. Maybe you really will only use your room to sleep a few hours and are okay with the small room facing the street, as long as you can get a great price.
None of this is wrong or right. There is no absolute in choosing a room when traveling. As long as you have answered some of these questions and have done your research on the accommodation itself, then you generally will not be disappointed.