After spending a recent afternoon walking around the various “countries” of Disney’s EPCOT, my husband and I found ourselves making plans for a European vacation next summer. Of course, we’re still in the very early stages of “where do you want to go?”, which comes right before “how much is this all going to cost us?” – but still, it’s been fun to start thinking and talking about what we want out of our vacation.
One of the first things we discussed was what kind of hotels we would want to stay in. Would we spend money on luxury hotels that offered their own vacation experience, or would we opt for staying in a budget hotel and use the money we saved to do more and buy more in the cities we were visiting?
For my husband and I, the answer is always the same: go cheap on the hotel.
When we visit a new place, we’re interested in spending our time and money exploring that place, not the hotel. We’re much more excited about getting a feel for the local culture and character than we are about a really great pool or lush lobby. The hotels we stay in serve as a place to store our belongings, change clothes, and get some sleep after everything has closed down for the night.
If we made a list of “what we look for in a hotel” in order of importance, it would like this:
- Location – close to local sights and public transportation routes
- Price – the cheaper the better
- Everything else – including cleanliness, service, comfort of the bed and size of the bathroom.
We spent our honeymoon in a Chicago hotel room that was so small you had to push in chairs and make sure all doors were shut in order to get from the bed to the bathroom – but we were right on Michigan Avenue and only paid about $60 per night.
For other travelers, the hotel itself is a valued experience. We live in Orlando and have known several people who have spent thousands of dollars for the opportunity to lounge beside a great pool under the Florida sun. I have a friend who will only stay in suites when he travels because he likes to spend a lot of his travel time relaxing in the room, and a spacious, luxurious suite makes him feel more comfortable.
What about you?
How important are your hotel accommodations when you travel? Do you view the hotel as a necessary evil of traveling and limit the amount of money you’ll designate for lodging, or do you relish the opportunity to stay in a fine resort with nicer sheets than you have at home?
Photo by Tomas Fano on Flickr