You don’t want your great vacation memories obliterated by unexpected costs, or an experience that didn’t quite meet your standards erasing your good will. There are things you can know in advance about your accommodations. Here are 10 questions to ask when booking a hotel room.
There might be resort fees, cleaning fees, booking fees and other pesky hidden fees and taxes. Ask if the price you are quoted includes all of those. If it doesn’t, ask if you can have the added fees waived.
Many hotels leave out the little fact that when you arrive, parking will cost you $30 per night, and there is nowhere else to park for miles. Ask if parking is included. If it is not, ask if the hotel is offering any vouchers on free or discounted parking.
Sometimes when you ask if Wi-Fi is included, the representative “included” instead of “available” available, and answer “yes.” Make sure to ask if it is for free. If it is not free, ask if they can give you a voucher for complimentary Wi-Fi. Tell them you won’t book a room that doesn’t come with complimentary Wi-Fi.
As soon as you say this, the representative knows you are not willing to pay the price quoted. They’ll never say, “That’s the best we can do” if it means you walk away. There are usually promotions or special deals for Costco members, AAA members, and members of certain credit cards. Just ask.
Let them know that you know their competition can give you a better rate. They usually depend on you not having checked the competition. Even if it’s not true, you should still say the hotel across the street is offering you a better rate — the representative you’re speaking with doesn’t know what sort of personal deal you may have made.
If you’re traveling with a family and want the answer to be yes, then definitely ask this! You want to make sure there are kids’ menus, lifeguards on duty, cribs available and so on. If you want a quiet, grownup getaway, this is an important question to ask so that you avoid a resort full of screaming children.
Many hotels will say the room comes with a balcony and what they mean is a two-foot ledge that you are not allowed to step onto. It just makes the hotel look good to passers by on the street. Make sure you can actually sit on the balcony.
If it’s near the elevator, or the entrance to the pool area, you might hear a lot of commotion day and night. You also don’t want a room next to a maintenance closet where the cleaning staff could be convening and talking at all hours, or near the kitchen.
Some large resorts offer public access to their swimming pools for a fee. But if you don’t want to be fighting for lounge chairs and a few feet of personal space in the pool, make sure your hotel reserves its pool for guests only.
A hotel might list on its website that it is only two miles from dining and shopping. But sometimes, those two miles are nothing but highway, or rugged land, or tons of construction, forcing you to stay at the hotel or take cabs everywhere. Ask explicitly if it is safe and convenient to walk to shopping and dining.