How to Choose the Right Hotel

by AJ Pettersen · 16 comments

Hotel signMy wife and I are moving across the country soon, and our road trip will require a stop at a hotel. With many options at varying prices, the hotel market can be hard to navigate. Accommodations are often expensive, so it’s important to choose the right hotel that will fit your budget and your needs.

Here’s what you should consider when deciding which hotel is best for you:

The Reason for Your Stay

The occasion and purpose for your stay should factor into your decision. If you’re picking a hotel for a quick stay (as we are), there are certain amenities you won’t need. For us, the location was most important. We picked a place near the highway, so we could get there and back on the road as quickly as possible. If you’re going on a vacation and staying for a longer period of time, other factors may be more important.


My wife and I found a place with decent rooms and a continental breakfast. This way, we’ll be comfortable while we stay the night and can get a bite to eat before hitting the road. A swimming pool and fitness center weren’t at the top of our list because we’ll be staying for such a short period of time.

We will also have a dog along for our trip, so we needed a pet-friendly hotel. The one we selected allows us to have our dog in the room free of charge.

Keep in mind what your needs are in terms of your hotel. Do you want a fridge and microwave? Do you like certain channels on the television?

Booking Options

Finding the right hotel online can sometimes be daunting, as there are so many sites offering hotel booking. If you’re looking for a specific hotel, Orbitz and offer quality customer service and good prices. Priceline is a good option if you don’t care exactly what hotel you stay at; you pick a level of quality, general location, and amenities, and you can get a room at a very low price.

Sometimes searching for a specific hotel then calling the actual location is beneficial, as well.

Do you have any special techniques you use when picking out hotels?

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  • Greta James says:

    Thanks for the advice to consider what amenities we might need in a hotel before booking one. I am taking a business trip in January and I would like to find a hotel that will be comfortable during my downtime. Hopefully, I can get a hotel with a restaurant and a fitness center that I can enjoy during my stay.

  • Shammy Peterson says:

    You got my attention when you said that you should consider the purpose of your stay when choosing a hotel. I will consider this tip I am planning to find a motel where my husband and I can stay for 2-4 days in order to spend intimate and cherished moments together. Since we have fishing plan trips, we will be sure to find one that is near fishing ports. s

  • Michaela Hemsley says:

    Thanks for the tip to keep in mind what you need from a hotel. My husband and I would like to go on vacation soon. We’ll have to look into hotels that have everything we need.

  • Anna Davis says:

    I like the idea of looking for amenities like breakfast or a fitness center. My two sisters and I really want to go on a trip together in the spring. We may want to book accommodations that offer breakfast so that we don’t have to worry about that first thing in the morning.

  • John says:

    I could sleep on a clothesline if I needed to!

  • Marbella says:

    When my wife and I are traveling throughout Europe up to our old country Sweden from Spain (5000 km), we try to choose the hotel which is 10 minutes from the highway. They are usually cheaper and more family friendly.

  • Shane Todd says:

    If I have a bed to sleep on, I’m generally happy!!

  • Robert says:

    We have used the GPS to find a room when travelling. When we are ready to stop to sleep, we look through the local hotel listings on our GPS. Each listing has the address and phone number. We then call each hotel to see what is the best price they have for a room. We are not tied down to a specific location or brand hotel and have recieved some very favorable rates when comparing prices at 9 pm. The downside is that you could run into trouble if there is a convention or football game in town.

  • monkeyfurball says:

    I stay at hotels a few dozen times a year. I don’t put near as much effort into it as you did in your story. Your just wasting time.

  • Sandy says:

    If you will be staying in a city where parking is difficult, be sure to include checking on what the parking arrangements for you hotel will be. Parking can add a lot to the cost and convenience of a hotel in many urban areas.

  • Kate says:

    When I drove my truck from Atlanta to Toronto with my two cats, we stayed at Econo-Lodge because they take cats without any argument. When I travelled as a sports car racing reporter, I stayed at Courtyard by Marriott because they had desks big enough for all my stuff, and pillow top mattresses, and that great little deli section downstairs when you come in at midnight and have two hours of work to do before you can go to bed — grab something out of the cabinet, charge it please and thank you very much. Mostly other times I look for Comfort Inns.

  • Shane says:

    You make some great points sometimes people get wrapped up in the details and amenities that are not going to be used. Paying great attention to your real needs can save you money.

  • Bert says:

    Have you considered an RV? There are rental companies out there that will allow pickup and delivery at two locations, the way U-haul operates.. It has been my experience that comparing overall cost will usually favor the motorhome. You can tow the car you would have driven, so remember to deduct that fuel cost from your calculations.

  • Manya says:

    I check out the reviews of the hotels on the various sites esp. tripadvisor, etc…
    I also spread the word around and check with folks who have travelled through that path and try to get their words and experiences of stay in the hotels at those locations..

  • artesanatos says:

    I also give a lot of importance to the reviews and what are other people saying about the hotel. I do that even before i check the prices. Secondly i look for hotels that have last minute deals. I normally go for it if the reviews are good.

  • Digital Personal Finance says:

    I look at reviews online, and try to use priceline to make lowball offers. I’ve gotten some pretty good deals that way, and it’s especially good when you have a good idea of which hotels are within each star class. This way, you know what you’re bidding on, what the reviews are, and what the value is.

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