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Tips on booking hotels

What you should know about booking a hotel

Learn all about booking a hotel for your Route 66 road trip: tips and advice for successful hotel bookings. Online booking suggestions for a happy vacation.
 

All about Booking a Hotel

Some tips on Hotel reservations

hotel room key

The worst sign for a weary traveler... No Vacancy

To Book or not to Book

Reaching a town at the end of the day, after a long, enjoyable but tiring journey along Route 66 and scrambling to find a place to sleep is not exactly fun.

Driving up and down the main street checking the hotels when all you want to do is take a shower and have dinner is not for everyone.

The solution: book some hotels in advance. The first and last days are safe options for a booking, as you know where and when you will be arriving to and leaving from your trip along Route 66.

Other safe bets are towns which may receive a lot of visitors: Booking in advance to stay close to the Grand Canyon in summer is advisable.

Motel bookings

But a flexible journey also means flexible options, and tying yourself to a timetable kills some of the fun of a free and open trip. So leave yourself some room to stop at other locations along the road.

You can check the potential places in the towns along your itinerary, where you may want to stopover during your trip. Jot them down so that if you must spend the night in one of those towns, you know you will find a nice place to stay.

Special Requests

Check if the bed is King, Queen, two singles or two doubles. Is the room non-smoking or smoking? Double check before clicking the "book" button.

hotel room key

Use the comments box to add your comments: late arrival, space for parking, very late check-in, etc.

In the unlikely event that you find two single beds when you arrive, and you booked a King-size, go to the front desk and politely request a change. Perhaps it is a good idea to phone the hotel after booking just to reconfirm your special needs, especially if they are made for medical reasons.

Where is the Hotel?

A guest was looking for a hotel in Williams Arizona, and the online booking site offered a reasonably priced hotel which once booked, turned out to be in Flagstaff, Arizona, 40 miles away (64 km)!!.

So, just check the map on the online booking site or look it up in Google Maps with the hotel's street address and make sure where the hotel is located. Is it in the downtown area that you chose? is it near the airport as expected? or is it 40 miles away?

Google Street View can give you an idea of the neighborhood too!

Check the Reviews

sample guest review

Sample review from Booking.com

You checked the hotel's photographs and the place looks fine: clean, with a large pool and enormous rooms... but are things as good as they look?

The best option is to check the reviews written by actual guests. The experiences that they share can give you a better idea of what to expect at a hotel: noisy, dirty, shabby or clean, attentive staff, great breakfast, lousy wi-fi, no parking space, horrible neighborhood, very pet friendly, etc.

hotel room key

Example of a Booking.com Property Review Score rating, averaging many guest reviews.

Of course, take the comments with a pinch of salt: some guests find all hotels horrible, others are the exact opposite. Look for reviews based on facts, not subjective opinions.

Ad, yes, remember to post your own review after visiting a hotel. TripAdvisor allows you to upload photos too.

The properties will have an aggregate rating which averages all the reviews into one Review Score. It can help you gauge hotels comparing scores against each other.

Shop and compare prices

Check the destination for hotels with prices that accommodate to your budget. The fact that a hotel advertises a "Great Price" or a "Special Discount" does not guarantee that it is cheaper than other equally good hotels.

See what is included in the pricing: free wi-fi, breakfast, parking.

The trick: compare and compare again.

Non-refundable bookings

A road trip is flexible, you may decide to stay a bit longer at one place or the unexpected happens and you cannot make it to a destination. Your reservations should also be flexible.

Some hotels offer special cheap rates but they are nonrefundable. You book and if you don't show up, you forfeit your deposit. The reason for this is that the hotel owners are willing to offer lower rates and fill a room. So it is a win-win situation: guest pays less and hotelier fills up the hotel. But, if you don't show up, you will pay for the room that you booked.

Sometimes trying to save some pennies can cost you many dollars if you try to cancel the booking.

So if you are making an online reservation, just check out the site's cancellation policy, are those low rates refundable? Do so before confirming your reservation.

That is one of the reasons we offer Booking.com, you book but don't pay unless you actually stay at the hotel.

Book your Hotel Online

The hotel booking process is actually quite simple, follow these steps and you will avoid surprises, the figure outlines the process:

Online hotel booking
The Booking Process

The Booking Process

  1. Choose your Destination. Yes, you already know you will be driving along Route 66, but in which town will you stop to spend the night?
    This can be based on nearby attractions that you want to visit the following day, or enjoy that same evening. Or because you have read about it via Search Engines, travel websites or word of mouth. The Destination is the first step.
  2. Look for a Hotel: Researching a Hotel. This is usually done via some online booking company. There are quite a few of them. On our site, we offer Booking.com.
    You can compare different hotels, see what they look like, check the pricing, and what they offer (wi-fi, pet friendly, parking, breakfast, pool, gym...), bed types, room availability and location. Browse the photographs. Make a pre-selection.
  3. Do your homework: Check the Reviews. Yes, check them and see what other guests have to say about the hotel. Booking.com rates hotels and provides the guest input online for all to read.
  4. Book. Make your reservation. Double check the date, and the location (see the tips above).
    Print your booking and take it with you on your trip. Enter the address into your GPS, it will make it easier to get to the hotel.
  5. Stay at the Hotel. Check in, enjoy your stay.
  6. Share your Experiences. Booking.com will ask you for feedback: how was your stay? what was the hotel like? Rate it, share your lodging experience. You can also do it on TripAdvisor. Warn other travelers about any problems, reward the good hotels by pointing out their highlights.

Online Booking

Online booking sites offer a selection of hotels, you can filter them by chain, type, location, price, etc. You will be able to check photos, read what is offered and of course, go over the reviews.

Online hotel booking
Screenshot of Booking.com online booking site

We are affiliated to Booking.com, a company that is the world leader in booking accommodation online. Each day, over 800,000 room nights are reserved on Booking.com.

They offer and guarantee the best prices for every type of property, from small, family-run bed and breakfasts to executive apartments and five-star luxury suites. The site Booking.com is available in more than 40 languages, and offers over 602,406 properties in 211 countries.

The site does not charge Reservation fees. You can book, and cancel your booking free of charge. No need to pay when you make your reservation. Do so when you check-out of the hotel.

Now you can check the Hotels... and pick your choice

Search box:

Sources

Image by Vítězslav Válka adapted under its CC BY-SA 3.0 CZ License.