Traveling can be a lot of fun but, at the same time, there are plenty of seemingly small expenses that can really add up. It seems that, even if I set a budget ahead of time, I still end up being surprised at how much I can spend on basics like dining and transportation during any given trip. However, as I’ve been able to travel more and learn the ropes a bit, I’ve discovered a few hotel amenities that can really help cut down on costs.
With that, here are three hotel perks you’ll definitely want to seek out if possible:
This one is pretty obvious but it’s important. While many hotels now offer at least some form of free WiFi, there are still those few that may charge you a daily or weekly fee just to access the Internet. That’s why you won’t want to take this perk for granted and ensure that your chosen hotel does indeed offer free WiFi before booking.
If you do make the mistake of booking a room without free WiFi, all hope may not be lost just yet. In some cases you may be able to join the brand’s free loyalty program in order to receive that coveted Internet access. Furthermore, under similar terms, you may also be able to get a free speed boost on your WiFi. That said, it’s usually not worth it to upgrade to the premium option on your own and just sticking to the basic free option instead.
As I write this, I’m actually sitting in the Atlanta airport, fresh from France. Over there, my wife and I stayed at a hotel that offered a kitchenette in each room. This is actually something we discovered on our last trip to Paris and choose to stay at this particular hotel once again because of how convenient this feature was. It proved just as cost effective this time around as we were frequently able to make food in the room (it helps that there was a grocery store nearby as well) and avoid eating out for every meal.
I should note that, stateside, most “residence” style hotel rooms you’ll find have a few quirks and lack some of the services you may expect from a regular hotel. For example, since you have a kitchenette, your room may not include so much as a continental breakfast. Additionally few if any of these hotels offer daily cleaning during your stay. If these are deal breakers for you, then stay away. Otherwise, we’ve found that having the ability to cook at least simple meals not only saves us money but also enables us to maintain a healthier diet than we would if we were forced to eat out the whole time.
Finally, if you don’t want or get a full kitchen, you can still keep an eye out for rooms with a minifridge and microwave. While you won’t be preparing any 5-star meals in your room, you can at least reheat your leftovers and save money as a result — not the mention that this technique is perfect for settling late-night cravings. Best of all, since these minor appliances don’t really constitute a full kitchen, you’ll likely still enjoy things like a complimentary breakfast and daily room cleaning.
If you’re staying near a tourist attraction, choosing a hotel that offers some sort of shuttle service to said attraction can be a big benefit. In addition to saving money by staying “off-property” from the attraction area, shuttles allow you to skip the taxi or Uber fees as well as avoid having to rent a car (sidenote: if you do rent a car, you’ll want to double check your hotel’s parking policies and fees). Even if you do plan on visiting other locations eventually, at least you can save a few dollars on the days you to choose to hit up the major attractions.
Equally as valuable are airport shuttles. Typically these services are only offered at hotels with some reasonable proximity to the airport but you may be surprised — especially in some foreign countries where these shuttles are a great incentive for travelers. However, when it comes to both airport shuttles and attraction shuttles, you’ll want to pay close attention to how your hotel’s service works. For example, some locations may require you to make reservations ahead of time. Moreover shuttles may not run at all hours of the day. Take it from someone who’s gotten stuck with an unexpected Uber fee to the airport because he didn’t do his homework, you’ll want to know these shuttle schedules and plan accordingly.
Having just returned from yet another trip, I can honestly say that these types of amenities have been a lifesaver while my wife and I are on the road. From mandatory free WiFi to the tasty convenience of having your own kitchenette, plus having dedicated transportation to your most-visited locations, these perks can really save you a lot of cash. So, the next time you’re booking a hotel stay domestically or overseas, take the time to look for these awesome amenities.
This article was first published on Dyer News.