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Relaxing in a hotel

5 hacks to book a great hotel for your trip

Some people book a hotel because they just want a bed to sleep in before moving on to the next place. Others spend days researching for the perfect accommodation on booking sites. No matter what your preferences are, here are 5 hacks to check before choosing the best hotel for your next vacation.

1. Check the reviews on TripAdvisor 

TripAdvisor is a great resource to find the best activities and hotels in every city you can imagine. You just need to open the website, select “hotel” or even the city you are traveling to and voilá,  you can find reviews from travelers all around the world. Sometimes the negative reviews include small things that will not impact your decision, however, when people are mad they can reveal anything crucial to change your mind. 

You probably know some hotels are paying to be first to show up in the viewers research (the sponsored ones) but in general, the reviews are authentic. Some details you can check on TripAdvisor are: 

  1. The number of reviews. The best ones can help you to decide soon, the terrible ones can help you to change your mind faster. Be careful with hotels with no reviews or just a few of them.
  2. The classification of your favorite hotel between other hotels in a particular city. If the hotel is the #14 from 15 hotels in a particular city, for instance, you have better options to choose from.
  3. Check the photos. While most hotels use professional pictures on Tripadvisor, or many other hotel review sites, such as Expedia,, Trivago, Google and Facebook reviews. You can usually trust the photos from travelers, which give a more accurate idea of how things look without photoshop or any other editing software.
  4. Be careful with blogs or social media recommendations, where the hotels can be sponsoring someone to write good reviews.
  5. Check the responses from the hotel owners or managers. If the owners don’t care about their customers, maybe you can avoid being a customer.
  6. Look out for suspicious usernames such as Amy9876543, as these have almost certainly come from a bot-farm.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”.

– Marcel Proust.

2. Check the hotel website 

If the hotel doesn’t have a website, social media accounts, or even if they have one but everything looks messy, that’s a red flag right there! Should you trust them? If their booking system is bad or you can not trust the page to add your payment info, maybe you should shop around.

On the other hand, if you are planning your vacation through a booking website, you need to know that the agencies, bloggers, travel operators, are middlemen, which means they receive a commission for each booking. Of course, this is not wrong, but the hotels are likely to offer some benefits for everyone booking directly. Special packages, upgrades, free breakfast, points, 20% off, no cancellation fees, sometimes the deals are much better when you book directly with the hotel since owners are trying to avoid extra fees.

Relaxing in a hotel

3. Check the fine print

Sometimes the costs are too good to be true, right? Before you book, be sure to read the fine print and check for anything that looks suspicious or could be an extra cost for you.  Let’s say you are on a road trip, the hotel includes parking? Or it’s $50 more per night? If you plan to work from the hotel, the wi-fi is included? Or do you need to pay per hour to work from your room? The airline ticket is cheap but you should pay extra for luggage? Most companies know how to show lower prices and convince you to buy, but it’s always important to check for the final price and read the fine print. Some classic hidden fees to look out for include:

  • Resort fee
  • Destination fee
  • Additional person fee
  • Early check-in or late check-out fee
  • Wi-Fi fee
  • Parking fee
  • Cleaning fee (common in AirBnb or vacation houses)

If the fees start to add up, it might be worth choosing a different hotel.

4. Check the location

Stunning hotel but prices too good to be true? Be carefull! If the average price for a room in your new destination is $500 and you saw the perfect hotel for $200, that’s a red flag, correct? Some hotels and resorts can be pricey because they provide quality services. It just makes sense! But be wary of fancy hotels with cheap prices or new properties without much information. Most of the time cheaper hotels are close to the airport or in a close city but far from the main attractions you want to visit. What about the time in the traffic or the extra money to get an Uber? Make sure to check the address on Google Maps and look for other travelers’ opinions to avoid disappointment. If it sounds suspicious, do not pay in advance or use any alternative platform to make your reservation. 

5. Check the type of rooms

Sometimes the deals are great, but more than sleeping in a good bed, all you need is a room with a great view. Make sure to check the different types of rooms the hotel offers and book your favorite one. In addition, check if there is any package you can take advantage of and always let them know if you are celebrating something special. Sometimes you will pay a little bit more to stay in a better unit, you can get an upgrade or even receive some perks because the hotel wants to make your stay more enjoyable in case you are celebrating. 

Hopefully with these simple hacks, you will find your dream hotel and enjoy an amazing vacation!

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