Travels with Bob

Seek Value over Price

Most people I know are seeking the best (lowest) price when planning leisure travel. Be careful though and fully understand what you are actually booking. The best value is not always the lowest price.

Nighttime London

Nighttime London

A hotel in your destination city, for example, may offer three or more price points for their “standard” room. Selecting the least expensive is the logical choice made by most people. Yet, you may arrive at the check-in desk only to learn that the hotel is sold out and they don’t have a room for you. If you are lucky, you will get “walked” to a comparable property at the same price but maybe not (some properties will and others don’t). Had you selected a higher price point for the standard room, the hotel likely would have held a room with your name on it.

Suppose you do get a room. You can bet it will be among those rooms in the nosiest locations, possibly even above the back alley dumpsters emptied daily between 5 and 6 am.

Be willing to pay more for a hotel room in the heart of a major city, especially when you have limited time to spare. You might save $50 to $100 a night selecting a hotel near the airport or in a suburban location. What you save, however, will likely be offset by the cost of commuting to landmarks of interest and the loss of precious time experiencing much more of everything the city offers.

You also should consider any amenities included with a higher room price. For instance, a complimentary breakfast for two can be worth $40 to $50 in a major European city. Early check-in and spa credits are other amenities important to some travelers.

Value is obviously in the mind of the individual. Yet, it usually pays to be a smart traveler by seeking the best value in line with your budget and travel objectives.