Costs add up faster than you might think when you travel, but certain hotel amenities can help you stay within your budget and make your stay even more enjoyable.
From toiletries to complimentary shuttle services, here are the amenities you should look for when booking a hotel that can help make your money go further.
Colleen Carswell, hotel solutions strategist at Carswell Enterprise, has spent over a decade working in hotels from cruise ships and luxury resorts to city hotels and conference centers. One hotel amenity that can put plenty of extra money back into your wallet is a room with a kitchen or kitchen amenities.
Suites that offer a full-size kitchen may include anything from a stove to a microwave to a full-size refrigerator. However, Carswell said many hotel rooms with full-size kitchens may have a higher nightly rate, so it’s important to compare costs with these in mind to see if it’s really saving you money or not.
If a hotel room doesn’t already have these amenities in their rooms, many hotels have options for guests to rent them for a nominal daily fee.
“If you’re shopping around online and find a hotel you really like that doesn’t offer a fridge or microwave in the rooms, call and ask about other options they may provide,” said Carswell. “Even if you pay $10 to $20 a day to rent these amenities, that’s still way less than dining out for three meals a day.”
Joyce De Smet, co-CEO and sustainability expert of Ecotel Consultancy, recommends looking for hotels that offer toiletries during your stay. These include shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and hand soap.
“Toiletries should always be available for guests, preferably with an ecolabel and in dispensers that get refilled,” said De Smet.
Personal Care Items
Many hotels will offer guests a personal care kit. These include, but are not limited to, items like bamboo toothbrushes, combs, shower caps and razors and shaving cream. Hair dryers may also be available in the bathrooms of certain hotels.
If you’re uncertain as to what your hotel offers, call ahead before booking and inquire into personal care items you may need during your stay.
Coffee and Tea Kits
Regular coffee and tea drinkers can save money spent on their morning lattes or tea by using coffee and tea kits available in their hotel rooms.
Many hotel rooms will include a coffee maker, instant coffee packets or pods and tea bags, creamer and sugar packets. If you need additional coffee for your in-room coffee pot, you can ask the front desk staff or housekeeping for more coffee or creamer containers.
If your hotel offers a free daily breakfast, Carswell recommends making the most of it.
Complimentary breakfast saves both time and money, especially for families staying at hotels. You can also take a few nonperishable items, like containers of instant oatmeal or granola bars, back to your room with you to enjoy later in the day or while out and about.
“It’s not uncommon for hotel parking in big cities to cost $30 to $70 per night,” said Carswell. “Not looking at those hidden fees when booking — like parking and resort fees — can result in a big blow to the budget.”
Look for hotels that offer free parking to guests. Some hotels near airports may offer free or reduced rate extended stay parking for guests that stay at their hotel before their flight. This can help guests save even more on the cost of parking in an airport parking garage.
Keri Baugh, owner and travel writer at Bon Voyage With Kids, recommends staying in hotels that offer on-site laundry facilities especially if you are traveling with children or as a family.
“Laundry is another huge help with costs because whether it is free laundry or a laundry room for which you pay a dollar or so per load, this means we bring fewer clothes,” said Baugh. “Fewer clothes mean fewer suitcases. That means we don’t pay for an extra bag, we can rent a smaller car and this saves us money.”
Complimentary Shuttle Service
Rather than spend money on a rental car, taxi or rideshare, look into staying at hotels that offer complimentary shuttle services to get to and from the airport.
Shuttles may also be available to take guests to major local attractions in the area, like theme parks. If you’re not sure what your hotel offers, call ahead to find out. As an added pro tip, make sure you keep some cash on hand to tip your shuttle driver at the end of the ride.
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