Booking accommodation in a foreign place may seem like an overwhelming task. You will be asking yourself lots and lots of questions. Where should I stay? Should I stay close to major tourist attractions? Should I stay in a branded hotel, a boutique hotel, an apartment or a hostel? What’s the best way to book my accommodation? How do I know this place is okay?
I have been told I have an uncanny knack for picking great accomodation and sometimes I surprise myself with fabulous choices. Unbeknown to others, what might seem an uncanny knack is actually an ability to know what I want and how to research on the internet. Here are my top 8 tips for choosing where to stay on your adventure:
Choose the type of experience you want to have. This might be a typical tourist experience, an off the beaten track experience, or like me a ‘living like a local’ experience. You’ll find a typical tourist experience at a branded hotel. Sometimes you’ll find great deals in this type of accommodation but be aware of the ‘added extras’ for example wifi, breakfast and laundry ( stay at a branded hotel in Lyon once cost me an extra $143 Euro for them to do a load of laundry for me).
The boutique hotel is a great way to go if you like a hotel that’s a little different. These smaller hotels have a warm and friendly atmosphere and can give you a great off the beaten track experience.
My favourite by far is the short stay apartment. You can live like a local, cook your own food and yes do your laundry. There is nothing better than picking up some fresh food at the local market. There is nothing like the sights, taste and smells of local fresh produce. And of course you don’t have to breakfast with others and you can save some money for some special treats.
Lovely fresh food from the local shops in Paris
The type of experience you want to have will of course depend on your destination.
Research your destination and write down the top things you would like to do. This will help you to find accommodation in the area you would like to stay. You might like to be within walking distance or close to local transport.
Check out accomodation deals on the internet, but don’t book them straight away. Make sure you check out where the accomodation is on the linked maps. Can I get around in this locale?
Check out other people’s reviews of the accomodation. If they are overwhelmingly negative, move on. If they are things like “the room or the lift was small” remember your destination, not everywhere in the world has large rooms and sometimes you are lucky to have a lift. Cosy accommodation is a treat for solo women travellers. Besides you will be out an about most of the time.
Research restaurants, shops and local places close to where the accommodation is situated. Knowing that you are close to a local shop or supermarket means you won’t be caught out.
Make sure you have travel insurance before you book your accommodation. You never know. (Travel insurance is a must do! In some countries an unexpected trip to the hospital can cost you your house)
Make sure you read the fine print. What penalties are there for cancelling my booking? Are there time limits to cancelling my booking? What is the refund process? Can I get my money back if I pay now and have to cancel? Can I change the dates without penalty?
Beware the cheap deal! You may not get a refund if you have to cancel.
Book through a reliable website.
Now you are ready to book your accommodation. Just do it!!!
My Favourites Places
On my travels I have found some fantastic places to stay. Here are a few of my favourite boutique stays so far:
Relais Hotel Vieux Paris
The Relais Hotel Vieux is a fabulous little boutique hotel situated on Rue Git le Coeur (where lays my heart) the Latin Quarter in Paris. It’s close to the action but situated in a quiet street around the corner from shops and the supermarket. You can walk just about anywhere in Paris from this wonderful location. The owner and staff are so friendly and helpful. The hotel dates from the 15th century and was once the home of artists.
Relais Hotel du Vieux Paris, 06. Saint-Germain-des-Pres, Paris, France
Petite Auberge San Francisco
The Petite Auberge is a lovely quant little boutique hotel in San Francisco. A great place to meet other people at the free happy hour each evening. San Francisco is hilly so be prepared to work off those extra holiday pounds walking up the hill.. but this little place is well worth the climb. Petite Auberge, Lower Nob Hill, San Francisco, United States
Hotel Monaco Portland Oregon
The Hotel Monaco is a wonderful boutique stay in downtown Portland. The decor is beautiful and the staff is friendly and helpful. This is one of those places to stay if you feel like some luxury in your life. They welcome dogs but you can book a room that hasn’t been occupied by someone’s canine friend.
Hotels in Portland
Place 24 Suites and Wellness Rome Italy
Place 24 Suites and Wellness is a wonderful small, quiet boutique hotel in Rome. The staff are fabulous (I arrived into Rome very late at night and Dario stayed late to welcome me). There is a wonderful spa and sauna in the hotel, where you can spend some alone time. Breakfast was a great value addition. Situated close to the Piazza Del Popolo, you can walk to all the major attractions. Just a tip, you can get a 1 Euro coffee at the coffee shops just around the corner (food and coffee around the tourist haunts are very very very expensive).
Place 24 Suites & Wellness, Flaminio, Rome, Italy
(No sponsorship or payment received from the hotels listed)