Traveling and hotels go hand in hand, with travelers of all types, from business people to weary road trippers, staying at accommodations on their journeys. From bare bones hotels to ritzy 5-star resorts, there are all sorts of options for lodging while traveling.
One major difference between motels and hotels is location; hotels can be found in a wide range of places, while the majority of motels are located only along highways and freeways. Hotels are often found near airports, downtown areas and metropolitan cities, as well as tourist destinations. They are also usually more walkable than motels, with most offering a variety of transportation connections for getting around town.
Another factor in hotel selection is amenities; while a hotel may not offer as many as a full-service apartment, it should have all the basics for the traveler to make their stay comfortable and convenient. This includes a clean, functional bathroom with towels and linens, toiletries (soap, shampoo, body lotion), bathrobes and slippers; a TV, DVD player or stereo system; and Internet access. In addition, some hotels provide other services for guests such as a hairdresser or massage/therapy room; in some cases the fees charged for these items are a part of the room rate.
A hotel’s pricing is typically higher than that of a motel, especially if it has more stars or is a luxury property. However, there are ways to save money on a hotel by comparing prices and perks offered by different properties. Also, consider bundling accommodation with other components of your trip, such as transportation or parking.
The best way to find a good deal on a hotel is by booking far in advance. Most experts suggest about a month in advance as the optimal time to book. If you can’t book that far in advance, you should keep close tabs on the rates for your desired dates of travel and be ready to pounce when prices drop or availability increases.
If you don’t want to be tied down to a specific hotel, try connecting with hospitality-minded folks on the social networking website Couchsurfing; this can be a great way to meet locals and score free stays in anything from sofas to rooms to entire homes or condos. If you choose this route, it is important to carefully screen hosts and check reviews for safety and cleanliness.
Hostels are another option for budget-conscious travelers; they can vary a lot in size, with smaller “mom-and-pop” hostels as well as huge resort-style hostels. The atmosphere can be quite variable as well, from quiet digital nomads keeping to themselves to rowdy parties. Hostels don’t offer kitchens, like hotels do, but they can be an excellent choice for the budget-conscious traveler who wants to cook their own meals to cut costs.