Welcome to the fifth post in my series “Top Travel Mistakes.” I previously collected information on the biggest mistakes people make when traveling and composed a list of the top 10 (plus a few bonus tips!) This series explores and expands on that list and provides more detail about how to avoid making these common errors when you travel.
# 5 Not Making the Right Accommodations
There is a lot to consider when planning a trip and one of those things is deciding what type of accommodations you want to book. Will you be looking for something all-inclusive or pay as you go? Would a rental house be more practical than a hotel? Should you rent a car or use public transportation? There is no right or wrong answer to these questions as long as you plan according to your own travel style. Where one person may prefer the comforts of an extra pillow on their bed, another may be perfectly happy sleeping in a hammock under the stars. These are all preferences, and just as each adventure will be unique, so will your accommodations. The key is figuring out what will work best for you and the type of trip you are planning.
As a travel planner and advisor, I have heard it all when it comes to how people found their accommodations. “The room was too small.” “The bus was too crowded.” “We paid for things we didn’t even use.” And even “The walls were a different color than the pictures on the website, and we didn’t like it.” I don’t want to say that people are overly picky, but rather they probably didn’t do enough research to truly understand what they were getting into before booking their accommodations. This is why it’s important to know what your travel style is, and exactly what you want out of your trip.
Let’s start by looking at your travel style.
What’s Your Travel Style?
How you prefer to travel has a huge influence on the types of places you travel to and what type of accommodations you should look into.
Just for you, my fellow adventurers, I recently broke down the 5 most common travel styles to help you see where you fit in. I will give a brief description here, but you can read all about it in detail in my Travel Styles post.
If traveling in first class, five-star resorts, and private tours are what you are looking for, you may consider yourself a Luxury Traveler. The Luxury Traveler is not afraid to spend a little extra to get exactly what they want, whether it be comfort, privacy, or special accommodations. They won’t sacrifice comfort for convenience.
Trendy Traveler (The Tourist)
To the Trendy Traveler, what they see and what they do on their trip is more important to them than how they do it. They are interested in seeing all of the popular sights and getting great pictures of them and with them.
When looking at their next vacation options, the Family Vacationer has to keep the whole crew’s needs in mind. Practicality and convenience are key when so many variables are involved in planning for the whole family, and these travelers are ready to tackle it all.
The thrill of the adventure isn’t in the stay, but in the go. This type of traveler is far less interested in where they will be sleeping for the night, and far more concerned about what each new day will bring them.
The Nomad is a traveler whose joy in life is to keep moving and take in as much of the world as they can. Jumping from place to place, mingling with locals, and taking in all the glorious sights of nature is their truly their ideal trip… and the more they can do it the better!
Accommodating Your Travel Style
It’s likely you fit into one of those categories better than the other ones, and where you fit in will have an impact on how you travel and what type of accommodations will suit you best. Here, I’ve broken down my best recommendations for each travel style based on what my clients tend to want and end up booking (and loving!)
If you are a Luxury Traveler you will likely be most interested in going the all-inclusive route, and I also always recommend looking into private travel as well. Private house rentals, 5-Star resorts, and Luxury cruises will be perfect for your home away from home.
All-inclusive is perfect for those who want to spend their time being pampered and relaxing. Flight, hotel, food, drinks, and entertainment are all paid for in advance, so once you arrive, there is very little left to have to worry about unless you leave the hotel property.
Luxury cruising is the equivalent to as all-inclusive, only, you are on a really big, really nice boat! You will also get to experience more than one destination.
Another option for the luxury traveler is Private Travel. Private Travel is an organized trip for you and a very specific group of people… and no one else. This style of travel allows you to bond with those you care about, or would like to get to know better. The best news? You can book just about anything as a private experience! You are able to book your own private plane, private houses, private yacht, private tours, and even your own private island! (It’s like a dream come true!) This is obviously the most expensive option, but the privacy and unrivaled experience makes it worth every penny!
My other favorite option for the Luxury traveler is to a book a private guided tour! (These are my absolute favorite trips to sell!) This is a step in opposite direction of all-inclusive where everything is in one place… A private tour is a fully customized itinerary just for you! You pick the location and the activities you’d most like to experience, and you will have a professional guide to curate the whole trip! This option gives you the chance to really get to explore and learn about your destination in a way that you never could on your own. If you’re up for something luxury-style, but also some adventure, this is my top recommendation!
Another recommendation for my luxury travelers is to look into a private transfer between the airport and your destination. If you are doing a cruise or staying somewhere all-inclusive, it is likely you won’t be venturing far from the resort and will not need to rent a car. Let someone else do the driving for you, especially if you’re not familiar with the driving style or laws of another country.
Trendy Travelers (Tourists)
The Trendy Traveler, or the tourist, is a little more budget conscious than the luxury traveler, but still wants to indulge in some of the perks of being on vacation. First class is an aspiration, but not a necessity, as they know they won’t be around very much to enjoy it. A nice hotel or a classic cruise is just the right balance of budget-friendly and picture-worthy. Anything beyond that is likely to be a waste of money.
Just as I recommended Guided Tours for my luxury travelers, I am also going to recommend it for my trendy travelers. One of the best things about doing a guided tour is that you are able to hit all of the hot spots on your list and have a knowledgeable tour to curate the whole thing. You will make these arrangements in advance with your travel advisor so that the whole trip is seamless! Doing group tours will also help save you some money as the cost is usually split amongst the entire group and will decrease with the more people who are in your party. So, grab your friends and family and really consider this option!
As for getting around, your transportation will depend entirely on the things you want to see and do. If you are going on a guided tour your transportation will be provided for you, however, if you are a FIT (Fully Independent Tour) traveler, you will need to decide whether to use public transportation or rent a car. Where one might be the right option for some destinations, it may not be for others.
If you’re in a city, public transportation is likely going to be able to take you anywhere you need to go. Check a local bus or subway schedule, as they often stop at the popular locations. You may want to look into getting a pass for the duration of your stay. Taxis, Lyfts, and Ubers, are also good options (though, rather pricey) so that you won’t have to battle through traffic in an area you’re unfamiliar with on your own.
On the other hand, if you are somewhere outside of a major city, a car may be a better option so that you can go where you want, when you want, and as often as you want. This is always my favorite option (if it’s practical) as it gives you the most freedom.
This particular group of travelers is most concerned with practically and convenience, as planning a trip for a group of people with all different levels of maturity is most difficult! Is it more reasonable to fly, or to make it a car trip? Will there be enough activities to keep everyone entertained? Is hiking a better experience than standing in line all day to get on a ride? I’m here to tell you- simplicity is key!
Family Vacationers know the worth of being as close to the action as possible. Usually, with a modest budget, this means staying in a standard hotel within walking distance of their main attractions. Bonus if there is a continental breakfast and a pool! Little things like that can make a huge difference! Convenience is everything!
Another great option for the Family Vacationer is renting a house, or a cabin for the week. This will give you that home-away-from-home feeling, and also a bit more privacy- which, after a long day of being in public, is sometimes the perfect way to end the day!
What is the best way to get around? If you are right at the heart of all the action, there may not be any need for transportation at all aside from getting to and from the airport. However, if that is not the case, I would recommend renting a car. If this is already a road trip, you’re already ahead of the game… But, if you are flying and will need a way to get around, renting a car will be your best option, as public transportation can be very chaotic, especially with young ones.
The adventurer is typically not impressed by fancy lodgings and catered services. In fact, they don’t usually require much more than a shower to wash the day off of them, and a place to lay down at night. For this reason, Air B&Bs are usually the best options for the Adventure Traveler, as they offer unique qualities that tend to be just the right fit.
Depending on your budget and what you are looking for, Air B&Bs offer anything from your own room, to a whole house for the length of your stay, often with all the amenities you will need. This is the option I personally use most often, and my experiences have always been good. Just make sure you read the reviews and do some research before you book so you know exactly what you’re getting.
(I once booked us a house that was only 12 miles from the airport for our last night’s stay in Costa Rica, but it turned out to be on a mountain! The ride up in the dark was worrisome, as the roads were very narrow and steep! It was a beautiful place and the view turned out to be breathtaking in the daylight, but I should have known what I was getting into! Lesson learned!)
I am also going to, once again, promote my love for guided tours as an option for the Adventurer. There are so many amazing places out there that you may not have access to as a FIT traveler, whereas with a professional guide you would. Everything from sailing the Mediterranean to sleeping on the sands in Jordan is possible with guided tours! (Seriously, I can hook you up!)
As for transportation, a rental is ideal for toting gear for general adventuring, but as for which vehicle, that is up to you and your needs. I always recommend 4WD, but you may not need it. If you’re unsure of the terrain, talk to a travel agent for suggestions.
The Nomad usually makes few or no set plans, but rather stumbles upon them. Some don’t even book a place to stay because they don’t know where they might be from one day to another.
Most Nomadic Travelers keep to a very tight budget. They are more thrilled by an organic experience than a luxurious one. Because of this, I like to suggest room sharing or even camping out. Air B&Bs, Hostels, Campsites, or even a simple hammock may be all you need to feel right at home wherever you are in the world.
Most Nomadic travelers won’t worry about transportation until they need it. If this is your style of traveling you are probably used to a lot of walking. A quick ride-share or a lift from a new friend can usually get you around when your own two legs can’t.
One thing to keep in mind is that even the most nomadic of traveler can appreciate and enjoy some of finer things in life. One can only spend so many days on the road before they begin to miss the luxuries of having solid wi-fi and their own private room. If you’re planning a longer journey in this style, allow yourself to a couple of days somewhere nice to rest your body, mind, and soul.
But, what does it all mean, Basil?
I have found that when you are planning for your adventure it’s important to budget for the kind of accommodations you will not only need but actually want. If you’re a luxury traveler, please don’t opt for a cheaper room just to try to save a few bucks. If you are unsatisfied with where you will be staying you won’t have a very good time. And on the opposite end of the scale… if you are an adventure traveler, it would be a huge waste of money to go all-inclusive, because you won’t be around to enjoy all of the perks that come with your stay. Know what you want and make it a key point of your budget and planning.
As always, if this is all too overwhelming for you, or you would like someone who is more well versed on the topic than you might be to take the wheel, work with a travel advisor! This is what we do day in and day out. We are here to make life easier for you, so that you can start looking forward to your trip right away! I would love to meet and get to know each and every one of you, so if you would like to schedule a free consultation with me, please see my info below!
Check out one of my favorite places we’ve stayed in the video below! This was an Air BNB called Casa De La Trepada in Puerto Viejo De Talamanca, Costa Rica!
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