If you want your hotel stay to be a chance to recharge your batteries rather than a nightmare, there are some mistakes you need to avoid. Doing things right will help you have a stress-free time away from home, and it doesn’t have to cost you extra. Here are some of the most common hotel mistakes people make.
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1. Not Booking at the Right Time
According to U.S. News, timing your booking is about more than just seasonality. The most popular booking times are on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and rates can be higher then. For the best deals, try to make your booking on a Sunday.
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2. Not Comparing Deals
U.S. News says that the only way to know whether you’re really getting the best deal is to compare the rates on different booking websites. Also check the amenities offered by hotels in a similar price range, as some hotels will give you more bang for your buck.
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3. Ignoring the Reviews
Most travel and booking websites feature user reviews of each hotel listed and as U.S. News says, these can give you an idea of what to expect. However, read the negative reviews and the hotel’s response to these too to warn you of any potential issues.
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4. Ignoring the Fine Print
You may be charged all kinds of extra fees that aren’t included in the room rate, from sales tax to charges for using the hotel’s amenities. U.S. News suggests that you check the fine print to avoid nasty surprises when you need to pay your bill.
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5. Not Following up on Special Requests
If you have any special requests, whether it’s for a quiet top-floor room or a baby chair, call the hotel directly after booking. As U.S. News says, you can’t assume that the hotel staff will see these requests if you’ve booked through a third party.
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6. Not Asking for an Upgrade
SmarterTravel suggests that when you check in, you politely ask if there are any room upgrades available. Often there are great rooms that haven’t been booked and the hotel may give you one of these at no extra cost.
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7. Assuming the Room is Clean
Hotels don’t always give a room a deep clean in between guests, so you might be exposed to germs from the room’s previous occupants. SmarterTravel says it’s a good idea to use disinfecting wipes to clean surfaces like light switches, toilet handles and the TV remote.
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8. Not Checking for Bed Bugs
As SmarterTravel says, even top-end hotels can have infestations of bed bugs. Before you book, check online bed bug report sites and when you get to your room, check the mattress for bugs and blood spots.
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9. Not Locking the Door
Many hotel employees have easy access to room master keys and may not always know that the room is occupied. To avoid someone unexpectedly walking in on you and for added security, SmarterTravel suggests that you use the chain or bar above the door handle to lock the door from the inside while you’re in the room.
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10. Not Using the Safe
To prevent your valuables from being stolen, place them in the safe in your room or in the hotel’s master safe. A good idea from SmarterTravel is to then put a reminder on your phone to check that you take all your belongings when you leave.
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11. Using the Mini Bar Without Thinking
Before you indulge in the goodies from the mini bar, check the prices, since these are usually very inflated. SmarterTravel warns that some hotel fridges also have sensors that pick up when you’ve moved items in the mini bar and you may be charged even when you haven’t consumed anything.
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12. Not Using the Amenities
It’s easy to miss out on all the great services that the hotel offers if you don’t know what’s included in the price. SmarterTravel suggests looking at the hotel’s website or brochures and take advantage of services like free breakfast or laundry.
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13. Not Tipping
Frommer’s suggests that you leave a tip and a note for your housekeeper every day. It’s a good idea to tip other employees such as bell boys too, since they will then be more inclined to go the extra mile for you.
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14. Not Being Polite
Hotel employees are not only motivated by tips but will also go to extra trouble for guests who are polite and show interest in them as people. If you are rude to the staff, they can actively make your life more difficult.
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15. Not Letting the Hotel Know of Problems
If you don’t tell the hotel about problems, they can’t do anything to fix it. As Frommer’s says, hotels don’t want you to rant about maintenance issues or noisy neighbours in an online review so they’ll do what they can to keep you happy. That may even include taking off some charges from your bill.
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16. Not Knowing the Evacuation Plan
Hopefully, you’ll never need to use this knowledge, but it’s always a good idea to check the evacuation map and read the emergency procedures posted on the inside of your room door. As SmarterTravel says, it’s especially important to know how to evacuate the building when it’s dark.
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17. Not Knowing the Rules
The hotel’s rules and check-out time are normally posted on the inside of the room door. Ignoring the rules or checking out after the official check-out time can lead to extra charges.
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18. Buying Toiletries
The toiletries such as soap and shampoo that come with your room are yours for the taking, at no extra charge. If you’ve forgotten items such as a comb, a razor or a toothbrush, TravelSmarter suggests that you call the front desk before rushing out to the drugstore, since the hotel may give you these things for free.
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19. Not Taking the Freebies
It’s not only travel-sized toiletries that are normally complimentary when you stay in a hotel. Other freebies that can come in handy and make nice souvenirs, according to Frommer’s, include notepads and pens and even slippers. Check first, though, because you will probably be charged for items like bathrobes.
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20. Not Doing a Final Sweep Before Checking Out
As Frommer’s says, it can be surprisingly difficult to track down belongings you’ve left behind once you’ve checked out. Before you leave the hotel, do a final sweep by checking the drawers, under the furniture and in the shower and shaking out the bedding.