Last week I wrote an article about how to get the best deal for the plane tickets, you can find it here, this week I want to tell you how you can maximize your budget and when traveling without having to sacrifice the experience.
I will assume that you already have purchased the ticket to get to your new destination so what is felt is to get accommodation, a list of things to do, tickets for the entries, meals, and shopping. Let’s divide and conquer them and talk about accommodation.
For safety I don’t have to make a case, none likes to sleep in fear or to have to get home before dark. Stay away from the areas that are not safe, trust me everyone knows a tourist or a traveler when they see it. Take no risks.
One of the first lessons that I learned was to never get a hotel room or a rented apartment far away from the place you want to be. What you think you saved for the room will cost you a lot more when it comes to money spent on commuting, lost time and having to depend on public transport, considering you are not having a car at your disposal, but even in that case, you will spend time on finding a parking space and you will pay extra for parking or to enter the city center.
When it comes accommodation the first things I like to consider are location and safety, the rest will follow these. I am willing to sacrifice a fancy room in favor of a great location, for Barcelona I preferred a shared apartment from Airbnb that was on Las Rambla, then a hotel room outside the city.
Before you start with the investigation think of your budget, how much is too much for you and what will make you comfortable. Make sure you first look at the lower range of your budget and only when you realize you cannot settle for anything from there increase the price. There is no reason why you should look at a 1000$ per night hotel if you only want to spend 50$. Yes, the fancy and expensive ones look better, but you need to know your boundaries and stick to them.
4. Search in incognito mode
A lot of sellers and aggregators use your cookies and search history to send adds, but not only those, some might even raise the prices of the rooms knowing the period when you are looking for one, also they will suggest the ones that pay them more. So make sure you start with a clean session in an incognito window, test the ground and only when you are 100% sure about the purchasing, log in. You will avoid a lot of spam this way, trust me.
5. Comparing prices
Before purchasing always compare the prices, sometimes Booking will give you the best deals other times Airbnb will, on my trip to Thailand I booked a hotel in Krabi and Phi Phi Island from Booking and an apartment from Airbnb in Bangkok.
The great thing about the do-it-yourself vacation is that you get to do your investigation and pick the place you want at the best price there is. It’s important to do your investigation and compare as many sources as possible, for the same accommodation you can get many prices, you need to pick the best one since you don’t want to pay a big commission to the seller.
6. Purchase only from safe sellers
Do-it-yourself vacations are a new trend right now and so is internet scamming, so be very careful with the place you add your card number to. You might not only lose the money you spent on the hotel but also everything that is on your account, so stay clear of the shady websites, if an offer is too good to be true, it probably isn’t. If you see the hotel with a difference of a few dollars, then it’s OK, if you see a difference of a few hundred dollars, stay away from it.
7. Meals included or not
The advantage of a hotel is that you can also get breakfast from them and with that, you will not only get a meal, but an hour to get up and you will no longer sleep until noon. I am not a big fan of all-inclusive or having the meals included since I am not the type of person to stay in the hotel all day, but if you like to have the meals secured, you might want to go for that.
Read the reviews, but try not to read that much into it, clearly you want to stay away from the poor rated ones, but sometimes the reviews are confusing, some say it was great other than it was awful, I will to go with the in-between, just to get an idea about the place and look at the photos, there is a whole industry when it comes to paying people to rate a place, so I keep an open mind about that.
9. Types of rooms
Depending on the type of trip you are having you need to think about what fits your needs, if you are going for relaxation on the beach, then you will want a hotel where you will want the roomed cleaned, a nice restaurant and bar to chill, maybe a pool where you can grab a frappe and sun-bay. If you are in a city break you will want a place to crash after a long day walking and visiting. Same for a spa vacation when you want your hotel to be more of a resort where you can spend almost all your time, or a romantic trip when you want to stay close to the Eiffel Tower maybe even seeing it from your window.
Don’t forget to look at the facilities of the room, even if you don’t care much about anything other than the bed, trust me you will want to have a WiFi connection especially in the countries where 1Mb on internet costs 5$, so have a look upon the list, who knows maybe you will have an extra massage included.
Nothing great comes from making no effort, this means you will need to invest time in planning and researching in order to get that amazing or comfortable place for your trip. Those are the 10 rules that I follow when it comes to getting it, they might look like an overhead but trust me, in time they are paying off. Happy traveling everyone!