AAA Travel: Tips on Finding the Best Place to Stay on Your Next Vacation

Overall value is top priority for most travelers when selecting a hotel

PORTLAND, Ore. – Selecting a hotel can be a daunting task. On vacation your hotel is your home away from home. The right hotel enhances your vacation experience, while the wrong choice can lead to unexpected expenses, inconvenience and frustration. The first step to selecting the perfect hotel for your next trip is determining what is most important to you and your travel companions.

“Every traveler and every trip is just as varied as the lodging options available,” says Doreen Loofburrow, Vice President of Travel at AAA Oregon/Idaho. “With the holidays coming up, hotels are top of mind for many travelers. Whether you are looking for a weekend getaway, an oceanfront room at a luxury resort or a hotel with activities for kids, a little research goes a long way in successful vacation planning. Many travelers will spend hours trying to book the perfect flights, but they often don’t spend as much time searching for the right hotels. And what you see depicted online may not be an accurate representation of the property you’re considering.”

AAA provides travelers with travel booking services and all the travel information needed to make informed decisions. A reservation through AAA can be made using the AAA mobile app (AAA.com/mobile), online at AAA.com, by calling a AAA Travel Agent or by stopping by one of the more than 1,000 branch locations across the U.S. and Canada.

Look Beyond the Price Per Night for Best Value

Whether travelers are looking for a budget motel or luxury resort, they want to be sure they are getting the best property within their budget. In a recent AAA survey, 85 percent of respondents cite overall value for money as the top consideration for choosing a hotel. Value is an important consideration for all income levels. Eighty-seven percent of respondents with annual household incomes above $100,000 and 84 percent of respondents with annual household incomes below $35,000 selected overall value as a priority, illustrating that no matter the cost or level of the hotel selected, value is key.

AAA Travel also recommends travelers look beyond the price. At AAA.com travelers can examine prices and compare hotels of similar Diamond Ratings. Be sure to investigate fees that are not included in the price such as resort fees or parking charges. Check what facilities are available at the property such as a pool, arcade or children’s programs that could save money on entertainment expenses. Be sure to take advantage of any discounts available to you such as AAA discounts available to members at partner hotels.

While expanding the geographic search for a hotel can lower a hotel bill, convenience to attractions or activities is important to 73 percent of respondents when selecting a hotel. AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner, which is available free at AAA.com, allows travelers to search and book hotels near points of interest.

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch Unless it is Stated

Added benefits such as free breakfast (63 percent) and free hi-speed Wi-Fi (51 percent) also rank as very high considerations when choosing a hotel. Free Wi-Fi is even more important to younger travelers with 71 percent of respondents age 18-34 saying free, high-speed Wi-Fi is a top consideration when choosing a hotel.

Having to pay for Wi-Fi access for a family can add a substantial cost when everyone brings along laptops, tablets and smartphones, while a free breakfast for every travel companion can lower overall vacation costs. Be sure to check what extra value your hotel choice offers.

Travelers Going Green

Nearly half (48 percent) of women and 18-34 year-olds surveyed say they seek environmentally-friendly programs when selecting a hotel. AAA provides travel planning information to travelers who wish to consider sustainability programs when making travel plans. Currently an ECO icon marks approximately 3,000 eligible lodging listings in the TourBook® guides, TripTik® Travel Planner and on AAA.com.

Research Reward Programs and Pet Policies

Frequent travel programs or points are important to more than one-third (35 percent) of all respondents. Other considerations for selecting a hotel involve the personal needs of travelers including whether the hotel is pet-friendly (29 percent), does it have a spa (23 percent) or does it have a children’s programs (23 percent).

Nearly half (47 percent) of all people with children under age 13 consider a children’s program when booking a hotel.

Showing your loyalty can result in extra savings or free nights on future trips. Consider signing up for a hotel’s reward program from your first stay. Even if you do not plan on staying long enough to earn a free room, some chains offer benefits to participants in loyalty programs right away. Keep your loyalty numbers organized and use them every time you book. Some loyalty programs with AAA partner hotels offer additional benefits to AAA members – be sure to check for details at AAA.com/Travel.

For those travelers who like to bring Fluffy or Fido on the family vacation, Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook is a great resource. Available in print and digital versions, The AAA PetBook is updated annually and features more than 14,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and campgrounds that are pet friendly. Also, this on-the-road guide offers the locations of dog parks and emergency vet clinics, as well as other pet travel advice.

Travelers with pets in tow check should check with the hotel in advance of their stay to confirm pet policies and the cost related to bring your best friend along. Price can vary greatly and some hotels charge a pet fee by the night or one fee for the entire stay. Also ask if there are size or breed limitations and the rules for leaving your pet alone in the room. The AAA PetBook also includes tips for bringing your pet on vacation. For more information visit http://www.AAA.com/PetBook.

“The results of the survey show that Americans expect value and also desire convenience. The assistance of a qualified travel advisor, such as a AAA Travel Agents can help consumers plan the perfect getaway that meets their needs without the hours and frustration involved when you plan your entire trip yourself, adds Loofburrow. For more information, visit www.AAA.com/Travel.

Call 1-800-222-1768 or visit your local AAA office to speak to a AAA Travel Agent today and we can start planning your next cruise vacation!