When we’re about to search for cheap lodging abroad, articles about unsafe and creepy hotels would usually appear on our search engines along with booking websites. As such, affordable hotels suffered a bad reputation, as if they’re a haven to crooks targeting travelers. While criminals may prefer cheaper neighborhoods because of their less stringent security, not all cheap hotels attract them.
So, if you’re tired of articles warning you of hotel red flags, have a refresher and look for these green flags instead:
1. Location Transparency
A cheap or affordable accommodation property discloses its full address on its website and hotel booking sites. You can locate it on a map, and taxi drivers are likely familiar with it, as well as with the vicinity. In addition, the hotel shows photos of its facade, curb, and landmarks. It is their way of proving that they’re situated in the address they disclosed.
2. Number of Stars
Generally speaking, the more stars there are, the safer and better the service of the hotel is. But isn’t that a little biased? Five- and seven-star hotels are luxurious, no doubt, but sometimes, the most stunning accommodations, such as bed-and-breakfasts, Airbnb’s, or log cabins, offer a more luxurious and unique experience. And those types of accommodations don’t have stars at all. So if you don’t mind staying in a “starless” hotel, focus on their star ratings instead.
3. The Staff Keeps Their Customer Information Confidential
Hotel staff are prohibited from revealing a customer’s name, room number, and other information related to their stay. When they assign you a room and give you your keys, they shouldn’t announce your room number out loud. If another customer happens to hear your room number and you feel that your security has been compromised, the staff should be willing to assign you a new room.
4. They Have a Business Card
If you’re traveling to a country or city for the first time, you could get lost finding your way back to the hotel after your explorations. Your hotel should have a business card that shows its complete address. Ask for at least two, so that you can keep one in your room, and another on your person. The business card would help taxi drivers bring you back to your hotel.
5. The Doors and Their Locks are Functioning
If you’re given actual keys instead of a key card, double-check if it really locks your door, and opens it without problems. The door should have a working deadbolt too. Bonus points if there’s a door wedger as well so that you can secure the door even further while you sleep or use the bathroom.
6. They Got the Bed Size Right
Note that the names of bed sizes in the U.S. and the UK. are different. In the U.S., a king-size bed is 193 cm wide and 203 cm long. They also have a California-king-size bed, which is 183 cm wide and 213 cm long. Their queen-size bed measures 152 cm wide and 203 cm long.
In the U.K., a king-size bed isn’t as big, only 150 cm wide and 200 cm long. They don’t have a queen-size bed, but they do have a super king-size bed, which measures 180 cm wide and 200 cm long.
You may also encounter “twin” and “double” beds. A twin mattress is basically a single bed, or a bed meant for only one sleeper. A double bed, meanwhile, is somewhere between a twin and a queen.
7. Clean Mattresses
The mattress should be spotlessly clean, its sheets crisp. Many cheap hotels have worn-down beds with poor-quality bedding, so ensure that your accommodation has the opposite. Sit or feel around the mattress to check if isn’t lumpy or sagging. It shouldn’t also feel too stiff that it’ll hurt your back.
8. The Concierge is Helpful
If you’re an experienced traveler, you can probably navigate an unfamiliar territory without the concierge’s help. But sometimes, emergencies do happen. Maybe you got injured or food poisoned, and you need an ambulance as soon as possible. In that scenario, the hotel’s concierge should be able to help you.
9. The Food Has Good Reviews
Another common problem in cheap hotels is the food. If the hotel building and interiors are worn down and untidy, chances are its kitchens are unsanitary, too. But if your hotel has a good design and clean interiors, its restaurant and kitchens are most likely in great conditions as well. To be sure that you’d be eating clean and safe food, check out the hotel’s reviews.
10. The Staff are Following Health Protocols
Even if the public has started getting immunized from COVID-19, the health protocols will still be in place. Every hotel staff must keep their masks on, practice social distancing, and disinfect all surfaces and rooms. They should also call out the customers who are disobeying the protocols. If they allow maskless customers to check-in, they’re putting their other customers at risk.
If the cheap hotel of your choice has all these green flags, you’ve found a gem. Make your stay prove that price doesn’t equate to quality and luxury.