A budget accommodation limits comfort level, but the hotel should not deny the basics. Ask the following questions before booking a room in a budget hotel. Then decide, are you ready for tradeoff and which kind of tradeoff?
1. What is the size of room? Does room has windows?
The size of room reveals lots of useful information about the facilities and the look (cramped or spacious). The space limits the number and size of the facilities. Smaller rooms feature tiny bathrooms in which elbows touch the walls while using the commode and shower. Many a time smaller rooms do not have windows at all. The rooms without windows are devoid of natural elements, straining the brain and body, and increasing insecurity.
2. Does room feature an attached bathroom?
All budget hotels do not feature attached bathrooms. Especially, in hostels and dormitories, you share bathrooms in the common area. Even in some cases, toilets and bathing rooms are separate. Cleanliness, privacy and security are at stake in common bathrooms.
3. Where does the room face?
Road-facing rooms are not only noisy but also prevent you from keeping the windows open. Book rooms facing away from the road.
4. When was the hotel renovated?
Appearance of the room depends on answer of the question. For instance, you can surely get an okay looking room, especially without signs of mold and dampness, in recently renovated hotels. But the rooms in old hotels that are not renovated in the recent past may not be well maintained. You should ask this question in case of lesser known individual budget hotels.
5. How is layout of facilities?
The hotel may offer all the basics but the layout may make the facilities useless. For example, a state-of-the-art television installed on the wall near the ceiling causes lots of strain on the eyes and neck.
6. What is the status of electricity?
The budget hotels may offer limited power, especially during off season. For instance, once we stayed in a popular budget hotel in Igtpuri (Maharashtra, India) during off season. Power cuts were regular in the destination. But the hotel did not turn on generator, as we were the only guest in the hotel. Operating the generator was not profitable. We therefore had tough time.
7. Which kind of water supply system is installed in the hotel?
Generally, the hotels supply water round the clock. However, some hotels may provide water for limited hours only. Even if water supply is 24 hours, some hotels may not supply hot water for the same duration. Do check about hot water supply while booking a budget room for a cold destination and / or for winter holiday.
8. Does hotel feature a restaurant?
All budget hotels do not serve food and drinks. However, some hotels not featuring restaurants may offer free or paid food delivery service. A budget hotel that (1) does not have a restaurant and (2) is located away from main city / town, which is not well connected, may cause inconvenience, especially during dinner time. You may save money on room but spend more on transport for meals and sightseeing.
9. Does hotel accept plastic money?
Many budget hotels cannot afford credit card facilities, as the hotel too is operating on budget like you are traveling on budget. Check in advance and carry enough cash, especially for remote locations where automated teller machines (ATMs) are virtually non-existent.
10. How far is the hotel from main destination?
If the budget hotel is situated far away from principal attractions you want to visit, the traveling expenses will go up. Do a bit of math before booking?
- Add up total tariff of budget hotel room located away from the attractions and the traveling expenses (BHRc).
- Calculate total tariff of mid-end hotel room located near the attractions, say within walking distance of the attractions (MHRc).
- Compare BHRc and MHRc.
(a) If BHRc is more than MHRc, book the mid-end hotel room.
(b) If BHRc is less than MHRc, book the budget hotel room.
(c) If BHRc equals MHRc, book the mid-end hotel room and enjoy more in less.
11. How many types of rooms are available in the hotel?
This information is very useful if the hotel asks full tariff in advance. After checking in, if you do not like the cheapest room that you booked, you may shift to an upper level room with better facilities and ambience in the same hotel without losing the advance.
12. Does hotel feature a hot spot for internet connectivity?
Now-a-days internet connectivity is a necessity. However, all budget hotels do not provide the facility. Some hotels may feature a dedicated desk for internet. You may surf the WWW free or for a nominal usage fee.
If you carry a tablet / laptop / ultrabook with internet, check which on the go internet service provider offers services for the destination. For instance, in India, Tata, BSNL and Reliance provide on the go internet but all networks are not accessible across the country.
13. Which mobile phone network works well?
Although mobile phones are ubiquitous today, yet each mobile network either covers limited area, especially in rural and / or remote regions, or is unavailable in the destination. Find which mobile phone network covers the destination.
14. Does hotel allow self-laundry?
Some of you may find it funny. However, in our opinion, all budget hotels should allow self-laundry because budget travelers do not have budget for expensive laundry service. Another reason to include the question is that we once stayed at Shimla Youth Hostel that did not allow self-laundry. In fact, the hostel fines guests caught washing clothes.
The questions may irritate the staff in some hotels, but you should try to find the answers to maximize convenience and comfort.