Enjoying your home away from home when traveling is wonderful part of wanderlust. At a certain price bracket there are obviously premium perks, but it can be easy to feel safe, at ease, and even a little indulgent, no matter what the budget may be. From my own nights at quaint bed and breakfasts and bargain motels to five-star stays in major cities coast-to-coast, along with few years working in hospitality, I know the “inns” and outs of hotels. I’m always confident that the price was appropriate without feeling like I cut corners on my stay– here’s how.
I’m a big advocate of etiquette, and the first step to having a great stay is to practice it. I always call to double-check my reservations, ask for the clerk’s name to note it in case of any issues, and chat a little to build rapport. I start by asking if they have a moment to answer a few questions, and end with thanking that clerk for their time. Speaking of phone calls, put your phone down for the few moments you’re in the lobby checking in. These people are your peers who happen to be at work, not some peons who don’t merit eye-contact or a smile because you’re busy tweeting. There’s no need be over-the-top, but graciousness is appreciated and deserved by, you know, everyone.
Once you’re in your suite, check out the digs carefully. Don’t wait to report issues or make special requests. Whether it’s thirty bucks (one of my favorite stays in Vegas is only $28!) or three hundred, you know what you paid for, and your space and amenities should reflect that. The same goes for issues throughout your visit: Do not hesitate to report any cleanliness or security concerns, so they can be rectified for you. Too many times people come away feeling like their experience was unpleasant because they didn’t bother to speak up. Know that more economic lodging does usually include ironing boards, hair dryers, wi-fi, and other sundries, but you’ve got to ask.
At even the chintziest chain, you should be able to enhance your experience without padding the bill. Ask for extra towels when you check in, or be prepared to tip the bellhop who brings them later. It always feels luxurious to take a long, hot shower and get mummified in fluffy hotel towels. My favorite pro tip? Call for a late check out. I’ve never had a a clerk tell me I couldn’t have an extra hour or two to languish, just be sure to secure that request before the check out deadline, not at it. A little courtesy and common sense goes a long way– what’s your favorite way to score a sweet stay on the road? —Casandra Armour