So. You’ve got your upcoming trip narrowed down to a handful of hotels. Do you reward yourself with the loveliest luxury hotel you can afford, or do you quietly, triumphantly select the cheaper hotel?
The quandary itself can feel like a moral dilemma. Websites are designed, whether intentionally or not, to encourage you to buy spendier things. You, the frugal shopper, click “List by Price – Ascending” and immediately assume that the first couple of options listed are below any discerning human being’s taste level. For heaven’s sake, some of them don’t even include photos. Sound familiar? Well, stop right there and check in with what you already know: more expensive does not always mean better quality, and it certainly doesn’t always mean better value for your dollar.
Before you go shelling out for your top or mid-range options, consider why you were shopping online in the first place: to get a good deal. As for that lack of photos, there can be any number of reasons a hotel booking company doesn’t host the cheapest hotels’ photographs (“the hotel didn’t pay to have them hosted” is one of the most common), and you can certainly find photos of it on Flickr or TripAdvisor.
Even if you are looking for luxury, it’s a mistake to assume that the most expensive hotel is going to be the best experience. Here are the 10 reasons to choose the cheaper hotel:
1. You can get a better room.
Do you want the tiniest room in the fanciest hotel, or a fabulous suite in a less expensive hotel? Think about it.2. You’re not going to spend that much time there.
Depending on what kind of trip you’re taking, the hotel may just be a place to sleep. Of course you want it to be clean, but do you need twice daily turndowns and personal butler service just to store your clothes, crash there at night and shower in the morning? Consider.
3. It might be a discounted rate.
As mentioned above, you’re looking for a deal. The less expensive hotels on your list may simply be offering a discount — and normally, they’d be the very most expensive.
4. Location, location, location.
Before assuming that the most expensive hotel is the best hotel for you, look at the location. It may turn out that you wanted a beach vacation, and the more expensive hotels you were considering are located downtown in the business district. Furthermore, cool, up-and-coming neighborhoods often have up-and-coming hotels which haven’t earned the right to overcharge you yet (but one day, they will, fear not).
5. You will never use that gym and you know it.
The pricier options may also feature amenities you just don’t need, like a gym or a 24-hour concierge. If you weren’t going to use those things and they make one hotel more expensive than the other … you get the idea.
Airfare is more expensive than ever, and if you can lower the cost of your hotel, you may have a little more room in your budget to keep you off that rock-bottom, all-infant-red-eye flight.
It’s a well-known fact that the more expensive your hotel is, the more ridiculously they will charge you for coffee and a couple of eggs. Unless breakfast is included, you can pretty much assume it will cost you as much as a reasonable dinner at home at an ultra-luxe hotel. Cheaper hotels tend to have cheaper breakfasts.
8. Some places are just plain overpriced.
The most expensive hotels on your list may simply not be worth it. Big-name hotels, for example, can often charge more than a boutique hotel can, even though the boutique hotel offers more personalized service and authentic amenities and experiences. It takes a little time to investigate, but the cheapest hotel on your list may actually be the nicest.
9. Because you don’t have to spend your whole vacation budget.
And, the least expensive hotel on your short list may be the most expensive hotel on someone else’s.
10. Beer money.
Or wine money, cigar money, whatever your pleasure.
Photo by Annie Scott.