The Cost of Accommodations
Is it just me or have the nightly rates of accommodations become ridiculously over priced? And what about finding said accommodations? Finding what you’re looking for in accommodations when it comes to location, quality and affordability has become more and more of a challenge. For those of us who believe planning is half the fun, booking accommodations is fast becoming a royal pain in the arse.
How Hard Can it Be?
How hard can it be to find accommodations in Stowe, Vermont, in the month of October, when all of the golden hues of fall foliage are at their radiant finest? Ha! Yeah. I know. I’m dreaming. But, it’s even harder than one might think and I speak from experience after spending the past few days pulling out my hair – not literally – trying to find accommodations that match our location wants, quality needs and real world prices. Is that too much to ask? Apparently so.
The Game of Nonrefundable
Perhaps at some point in your travels you’ve been a forced participant in the game of “nonrefundable” rates. You know of what I speak, right? You find the ideal accommodations with the ideal rate and when you click to book it you discover that fantastic too-good-to-be-true rate is nonrefundable. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to pay, in full, the cost of 3-night hotel stay 4 months in advance, only to come down with some air borne virus 2 days before I’m scheduled to leave home. I then become a forced participant in the game of nonrefundable.
I’ve mentioned before that I am not someone who can just sleep anywhere. I’m fairly picky when it comes to where I sleep and I’m completely 100% okay with that fact. I don’t like kitschy room decor (oh man did I clean house when we bought our B&B). You know, plastic floral wreaths that haven’t been dusted in 6 years? And, I don’t like sleeping in sheets that feel as if #1 they haven’t been washed in 3 months and #2 they feel as if 8,362 people have slept in them before me. ::shudder:: I should also add that our ideal accommodations must absolutely be non-smoking. And, preferably pet free because who wants to hear a dog barking at 2:00 a.m.? A reasonable cancellation policy is always a good thing as well.
Just How Many Are There?
Failing miserably, thus far, in finding just the right accommodations for our much anticipated fall foliage road trip, I started thinking about just how many search portals are actually out there because I sure as hell feel as if I’ve searched them all to no avail.
Of course I don’t know the actual number, but I can tell you that most of them are owned by only a few companies. We found this out the hard way in our lives as B&B innkeepers but that’s another story. Do you know that Expedia alone owns a whopping chunk of the travel industry?
If at all possible I like to book directly with a hotel, such as when we stay with the Hilton brand. While walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain, we used Booking.com and it was a huge help for us because so many of the small inns, casa rurals, etc., were not easy to find. At times, we find great deals with GroupOn, but they are usually time specific so booking a few months in advance doesn’t always work well. At the time of writing this post, we’d never used airbnb but I know a lot of travelers that do. We used VRBO to book an apartment in Aix en Provence last year and it was a successful stay. But, I’m usually hesitant to book accommodations that require money upfront with strict cancellation policies unless it’s a last option, or in our case booking an apartment in Europe.
So what’s a planner to do?! Keep at it of course. But, it’s okay to make yourself a margarita (or two) to ease the pain.
Unfortunately, it’s the name of the game when the accommodations you’re looking for are in a popular destination such as Stowe, Vermont in early October. And, don’t even get me started on trying to find a room larger than a closet and less than $350/night in New York City for our upcoming visit. Just 1 night New York, that’s all I’m looking for! This very conundrum is why we often travel off season. But sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet and follow the crowds because you know… there is no golden fall foliage in January.