What to look for while booking accommodation for your next international holiday
‘A hotel room all to myself is my idea of a good time’ – Chelsea Handler
All set to visit that exotic city on your dream holiday? Well, you’d need a place to stay at, and choosing a hotel room in a strange city can be a mind-boggling exercise.
Do I go to a hotel or Airbnb a room?
How do I compare the facilities and prices?
Does it look as good as the pictures?
So many questions, so few answers! Fortunately, based on our collective years of hotel-staying experience(!), we’ve put down a few top pointers that you must keep in mind.
Check for the best prices
While checking for room prices, you might be able to get a better deal on other aggregator sites than the hotel’s own website! That’s because these sites compare all the prices available for that hotel and show it to you. A few price-comparison sites that you can check out are:
If you’re looking for rented-out accommodations that are even budget-friendlier, don’t forget to take a look at Airbnb.
Pro Tip: There’s an off-season and an on-season. Most properties let out their rooms for dirt cheap depending on the time of the year.
Check for Cancellation Policy
Plans change, that’s just life! It’s always a good idea to check for hotel cancellation policies before you go ahead and commit to one. Some hotels are quite strict, and have a no-cancellation policy whereas some allow you to cancel upto 24 or 48 hours before check-in.
Even different ticketing websites have varying cancellation policies. Read the fine print. Or better still, call the hotel/website directly and get a confirmation of their cancellation policies.
Pro Tip: Get yourself a travel insurance policy that explicitly covers Trip Cancellation. Digit’s International Travel Insurance has an option to cover cases where you have to cancel your trip, and it includes reimbursements of accommodation booking expenses.
Check for reviews
This probably should be the first thing you do! Photos can be photoshopped, website descriptions can be poetic – but the actual property might just turn out to be the dumps!
Always a wise thing to get an opinion of real travellers who have actually stayed at the hotel. There are a lot of review sites available, TripAdvisor and Expedia being the fairly accurate ones.
While checking reviews too, make sure you read the ones posted by expert travellers (who have posted more than an average of 7 reviews earlier)
Check for family-friendliness
Safety first, always! No trip is worth life or limb. Especially if you are traveling with young kids, making sure that the accommodation is safe and friendly becomes top priority.
Check (preferably call) and find out if there are first-aid facilities, doctor-on-call, proximity to nearest medical facility and so on.
Pro Tip: A travel insurance policy such as Digit’s International Travel Insurance has an in-built coverage called Emergency Accidental Treatment and Evacuation. This takes care of medical costs/treatment expenses such as hospital room charges / OT charges etc. in case of an unfortunate accident while you’re on trip.
Check for check-in/check-out time
There’s nothing more annoying than being asked to clear a room when you least expect it. Therefore, makes a lot of sense to know beforehand what the check-out policies are.
Some follow a 24-hour schedule, whereas some allow late check-outs as well. Check-in by 2 PM and check-out by 11 AM is most common across the world.
Pro Tip: Remember, the check-in time need not always match the check-out time. Check-in usually is at a later time than the check-out time.
Check for other allied services
Unless you plan to stay put in the hotel throughout your holiday, we’re betting you also want to step out and take in the sights and sounds of the city. It’s always helpful if your accommodation also provides you with facilities that’ll make your trip smoother.
Quite a few properties assist guests with things like – shuttles to/from tourist areas, tour guides, bike and car rentals, day-trip bookings and so on. Before zeroing in on a hotel, make sure you know what additional services can be expected from your hotel.
Pro Tip: It’s a good idea to have a travel insurance policy that covers third-party liabilities. For instance, if you’re riding a rented scooter and happen to crash into an unsuspecting local(!), you’ll need someone to save you the legal trouble. Digit’s International Travel Insurance has an option to add the Personal Liability and Bail Bond, that protects against exactly that.
Check for Payment Policies
While most hotels insist on an advance payment upfront, some are okay if you pay once you’re there. Also, most hotels might require an international credit card (and not a debit card) on which they can put a hold on a certain amount until you check-out. Also, find out if they would need an ID card for processing payments.
Will insurance add an extra layer of security to my hotel stay while abroad?
No doubt! Keep in mind that you will essentially be staying in an unfamiliar building in an unfamiliar country, for an extended period of time. Possibly with young kids running around! The chances of unexpected mishaps are always there while staying at a hotel.
So it’s always a good idea to have a Travel insurance policy such as Digit’s International Travel policy. Such a policy has options to cover you and your family against various perils – right from before your journey (such as Trip Cancellation), to while you are there (such as Accidental Treatments, Personal Liability and so on).
If something bad does happen, what should I be doing?
First things first – always keep two numbers handy:
- Your hotel’s contact number
- Your insurance company’s tollfree number
If something unfortunate does happen, contact your hotel, the local police and definitely call your insurance provider.
Digit Insurance has a tollfree number (+91-7303470000), on which you just have to give a missed call, no matter where you are, and we will return your call to ask what happened & guide you through the claims process.
Here’s to a happy stay on your next international holiday!