Planning a trip when there's hundreds of different websites available these days can be difficult and booking the hotel can be one of the most challenging hurdles. Firstly you have to think about the budget you have available, secondly the location and then you have to think about what amenities they have to offer. There are so many questions that can go through your mind before you finally take the plunge and book. I have stayed in many hotels over the past few years - many of which have been above 4* and I haven't had to pay full price. I pride myself in finding a bargain and I'm meticulous when it comes to finding the right location.
Have a budget in mind
When booking a hotel always have a budget in mind. Think of the ideal amount you would be willing/ can afford to spend a hotel and make it a challenge to find cheaper. The more savings you can make on your hotel room, the more money you will have to enjoy your holiday.
Ask yourself what you want from your holiday
Finalise your rough budget and secondly ask yourself what you want from your holiday. Is there a specific place you would like to visit or something you would really like to do? Are you mad about history or do you prefer to absorb some culture? Do you prefer hiking or do you prefer to spend time on the beach? Once you have an idea of what you want from your holiday, you can then look for a hotel in an area that offers the type of things that you enjoy doing.
Create a rough itinerary
Before I book any hotel, I write up a little itinerary of museums, beaches, restaurants or any places I would like to visit. Once I have an itinerary planned, I can then look for a hotel that is central to those places or isn't too far to travel. One of the worst things you can do is book a hotel room on the outskirts of the city because it 'seems cheap' then spend a lot of money on transport because it takes so long to get to the places that you would like to visit.
Be realistic about how much time you will actually spend at the hotel
When booking an hotel room, be realistic about how much time you will actually spend at the hotel. It's nice to have a hotel with a lot of amenities, but if you're going to be spending all your the time exploring and just nipping back to the hotel in the evening, those perks that you paid extra for can become obsolete.
Check reviews, but don't get too hung up by them
Always check reviews when you go on holiday, but don't let them influence your booking too much. There have been many times that I've gone to book a hotel and was almost put off by a few bad reviews, but when I arrived at the hotel I've had a really pleasant experience. Some of the best hotels I've stayed in have not that the best Trip Advisor reviews. Always remember that every stay is subjective and sometimes people can just be really picky. If all the reviews are bad, maybe it is best to avoid, but if it's just one or two don't let them ruin your choice if you think it is the perfect hotel choice for you.
Always look around for deals and pay close attention to cancellation policies/payment methods
When booking your hotel, make sure you shop around for deals as the first price you find may not be the lowest and always take the time to read up on cancellation policies. Booking.com is one of many great websites that allows you to cancel your hotel up to a few weeks before your holiday and not lose any money and most of the hotels on the website don't ask for payment until your departure of the hotel - great for those who are looking to save up rather than pay in advance.
What are your tips when it comes to booking hotels?