Last year I wrote an article about Why the Hotel Room Matters When Traveling on Vacation. I still strongly believe that a hotel room can make or break a vacation. I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about booking budget accommodations when traveling in Business or First Class. The question I always get is “Why are you staying at a cheap hotel?” Whenever I get that question, it seems like I’m getting scolded.
I can recount on numerous occasions where I’ve stayed at a crappy budget hotel/hostel when I arrived in style in Business/First Class. Some of the reasons why I booked these budget hotels are because:
1) 12 hour layovers – When I head into town on a 12 hour layover, I want a place to recharge my laptop/phone, take a hot shower, use the Wi-Fi, and maybe even take a quick nap. I usually don’t do the latter because I want to maximize my time in the city during the quick layover. Last year, I stayed at the Templo Mayor Hotel in Mexico City and the Residencial Londres Hotel in Santiago during my less than 12 hour layover.
2) Really late arrival times – I really dislike those 12:30am arrival times and I can recall on three separate occasions that has happened to me. I’ve had midnight arrivals in Lima, Bogota, and most recently Singapore. The only thing I’m thinking about at 12:30am is wanting a place to sleep after I arrive. I usually book a budget hotel in this case and only take a short nap. I’ll wake up at 6am and explore the city while hoping for an early check-in at a nicer full service hotel. A few years ago, I stayed at a $10 budget airport hotel in Bangkok due to a very short overnight layover. Last year, I stayed at a budget hotel in the La Candeleria neighborhood of Bogota and most recently, the Fragrance Hotel – Sunflower in Singapore.
What I look for in a budget hotel:
Location – somewhere in the city, preferably ease of access to my next hotel the morning after.
Free WiFi – Paying for WiFi can dramatically increase the price of your budget accommodation, so I always look for free WiFi.
You really can’t be picky while looking for a budget hotel/hostel because price is what ultimately matters. It’s almost always in a bad neighborhood with high crime and most likely in a red light district. Once in a while you might find a gem. Breakfast is usually included in budget hotels, but that’s not a factor when I’m booking because local food is easily found for cheap.
Is it okay to stay in budget accommodations when flying in a premium cabin?