How do you pick a B&B or a hostel? With places like VRBO, HostelWorld, Booking.com and AirBnB competing for your Reservation dollars – finding the best place to spend your holiday bucks is getting more and more complicated.
My solution – 6 basic rules!
These rules may seem simple, obvious even – but I’ve traveled around the world on them – in places were I don’t speak the language, don’t have a tour guide, don’t know a soul. And have had great success in picking places to stay that worked out perfectly – my one oops – I forgot my rule #2. Serves me right I think. So read and remember.
Rule #1 – Location. No matter how good the B&B is – if it isn’t where you want to be, it’s useless. I loved the Agit in Seoul, South Korea – but if you need to stay in Prescott, Ontario – the Agit is not going to do it.
Rule #2 – Reviews matter. Seriously. It is really important to check the reviews – you’ll get some bad ones – it happens, but if there are lots of reviews, and they are mostly positive, it’s a good sign. Actually – it’s a great sign. I’ve never been disappointed in a place with great reviews – nope, it’s the ones with NO reviews that tend to scare me away.
Rule #3 – Know what is important to you. If the review says – great place to party – and you don’t party – stay away. It will be noisy – and you’ll be disappointed. On the other hand – if you are looking to met people, a place that is quiet and calm is probably not going to work out.
Rule #4 – Check prices. B&Bs, hostels, and hotels will list on lots of different web sites – booking.com, expedia.com, tripadvisor.com, hostelworld.com – the list goes on and on. So if you find one that seems right – take a minute to check other sites. The websites would rather you didn’t do that – and they try to rush you (5 people looking at this B&B right now) – but take your time. I’ve avoided some really bad decisions by just being a little slow.
Rule #5 – Know your price range. I travel ‘cheap’, I travel ‘upscale’ – and it’s really critical to remember what you can and cannot afford. I’ve never been happy with a choice when I forget to be sure it’s a price I’m comfortable paying. Forget this – and you too will be sorry!
Rule #6 – Correspond directly with your host. Ask a simple question (Do they have cats, is the bed King-sized, how do I get to you from the airport) – getting an answer will tell you two very important things – a) They can figure out how to communicate in English – even if it means getting help from their grand-kids, and b) They are real. Never underestimate the importance of real. When you get where you are going – you are going to want to figure out where to eat, how to get from here to there, how to get fresh towels. If there’s a host – and they respond by email, odds are they will respond to you face to face even better.
So them’s the rules – simple right?. But they work for me – and I’ll bet they will work for you!