Each time that we travel abroad as tourists, not to stay with family, we have to decide where to stay; Should we look for one central point from which we can go back and forth? Or perhaps we should sleep every night in a different place, and then we’ll be a bit like gypsies? As opposed to flights, where the price range is quite clear, accommodation rates vary immensely – whether you prefer an expensive hotel, a budget one, a bed and breakfast or a room at Airbnb?
Of course, the preference between hotels and other forms of accommodation is very personal, but this post focuses on hotels. Planning our trip to New York, in September, I looked at theater tickets, tours, exhibitions and hotels’ prices, and it took my breath away. Everything was extremely expensive! I think it’s expensive for American eyes too, not just us, who have to double everything four times to get our real cost. Then, I guessed that it might be the “too early booking” syndrome, that I’ve already met in the past.
The first time that I noticed it was when I was planning a visit to Washington, D.C., during Cherry’s blossom season. About six months before the trip, hotels’ prices in the city were very high. For two weeks, I stubbornly followed various hotels sites and prices remained very high. I got a bit nervous so I decided to book a hotel that did not really shine on TripAdvisor, but it had a reasonable price (not cheap, Darling). The reviews were not bad, but there was a “ghost”. One story kept recurring – at midnight there was a knock on the door and when people looked out they found no one. I thought to myself that we are heavy sleepers so it will not wake us up, but an uneasy feeling remained at the back of my head. So, I booked with the option to cancel.
About two months ahead of our planned trip date, I checked again hotel prices and to my surprise, I found that the prices had dropped dramatically. I canceled the “ghost hotel” and reserved another one in a better place at a lower price.
This experience taught me that there is a pattern in hotel prices’ “life cycle”. Really low prices show at the last-minute, and if you reserve a long time ahead of your stay prices are very high. In order to find low prices, you must have nerves of steel and a willingness to compromise. And what if prices did not fall? Will you panic? Therefore, in my opinion, it is wise to go for the “reasonable price” rather than cheapest.
Some years ago we traveled to Florida to stay with family. I did some research to find out what are Florida’s attractions and found out that there are very few attractions apart from Orlando’s parks. One of the interesting trips is to Key West, the most southern point in the US. So I thought to myself: We’re already there, won’t we touch the southernmost point? I checked, for prices’ range and discovered that it was cheap, around a hundred dollars and even less. Checking availability, I entered our planned dates and prices jumped to four hundred dollars! Experienced from our Washington adventure I continued to watch prices, waiting for them to drop.
Two months before our visit, I discovered that prices were just going up. I started worrying and searched the web to find out what was so exceptional about these dates. I learned from the search results that the peak of the annual Fantasy Festival is celebrated that weekend, so prices have skyrocketed. (To be continued)
The last word: Choosing a place to sleep is not only a personal inclination but also a matter of timing.