Choosing the right hotel is one of the most important parts of your vacation. After all, it’s the place you leave from in the morning, ready to start your day, and where you return in the evening for relaxation and a good night’s sleep, so you can wake up refreshed and ready to go.
Everyone’s lodging needs are different, based on personal preference, budget, the type of vacation and the people with whom they’ll be traveling, whether it’s a trip for two, a family getaway, or even a solo adventure.
A good way to start is by listing the things that are important to you and your travel companions. Think about how much of the day you’ll be in the hotel. In a resort area, you may spend most of your time on the property. If you’re in a city where you’re going to spend the day sightseeing, you may just be back at the hotel to sleep.
Some travelers want to step out of the hotel lobby and immediately be in the thick of things, with easy access to attractions, restaurants and public transportation. They may want to immerse themselves directly into the city they are visiting. Others may prefer a quieter location, a leafy neighborhood perhaps, or maybe a smaller hotel that isn’t quite so busy and offers more of a personal touch. You may be fine with ultra-modern or want something with some history and charm. When it comes to resort areas, some travelers are happy with a basic hotel on the beach, while others revel in luxury accommodations, on-site activities, and all-inclusive lodging.
When it comes to dining, you may prefer a hotel with breakfast included and a restaurant where you can have dinner or order room service. Maybe you will just want to relax in the lounge. Or perhaps you’d rather not eat at the hotel: You might prefer to head to a coffee shop for breakfast and go to local restaurants for the rest of your meals. For travelers who want to keep to their exercise schedule, a fitness center is essential, or proximity to a nearby gym.
Travel Safety Tips
When you are traveling, whether for vacation or business, safety may not be uppermost in your mind.
But traveling usually means being in unfamiliar locations. Even if you visit regularly, you aren’t as accustomed to your destination as you are to your home town. No matter where you are going, it’s worth keeping in mind suggestions for staying safe.
No matter where you are, stay alert. Whether you’re on a busy street in the middle of the day or in a parking lot at night, always be aware of your surroundings. While you may be thinking about your next stop or the place you just visited, be careful to keep your ears and eyes open. Make sure your cellphone is charged and nearby in case you need to reach for it quickly. Even consider carrying a whistle or emergency alarm on your keychain.
Keep in touch. While your family and friends have an idea of where you’re going and what you’re doing, if you’re traveling abroad it’s always a good idea to follow the advice of the U.S. State Department and register your plans through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Enrollment will make it easier for the State Department to contact you if there’s an emergency, as well as alert you to important information about places where you’re heading. Also, make sure a family member or friend has a copy of your itinerary, in addition to your travel agent. Check in on a daily basis with them or with a coworker, even electronically.
Avoid areas that seem risky. Many of the things you can do to reduce risk are just common sense. Don’t display expensive-looking jewelry, large amounts of money, or other valuable items. Make sure your hotel has a front desk that’s staffed 24-hours a day. Electronic key cards for your room and for the elevator provide an added measure of safety, as does getting a room on an upper floor.
Safety is always more important than being polite. Whether it’s getting out of an elevator while mumbling something about forgetting your cellphone or walking away from a conversation that turns uncomfortable, do whatever it takes to remove yourself as quickly as possible from a situation that feels unsafe.
Planning beats reacting. Planning ahead, especially for places you haven’t been to before, can help make sure that your trip is smooth and safe. Speak with your travel agent to benefit from his experience with other travelers to the same destination. Making sure that their clients have a safe trip is part of their job. Travel advisors closely monitor the State Department website for travel alerts to foreign destinations. If you need to suddenly change your plans – whether it’s to change a hotel or to reschedule a missed flight, they’ve got your back.
Travel Leaders travel agents are seasoned travelers themselves with expertise from their own experiences, as well as a deep reservoir of knowledge gained from planning trips for their clients. They can help you pick a hotel or resort that suits your needs, and make sure that your trip is pleasant and safe. They also have the relationships with suppliers that will help get you added amenities to make that trip even more special. Speak to your Travel Leaders agent to find out how you can get benefits like room upgrades, complimentary breakfast and free in-room Wi-Fi. Contact Travel Leaders at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leaving you with a final thought about travel: We recently learned Parashas Vayeishev. Rashi at the beginning of the Parshah tells us that bikeish yaakov leishev b’shalvhah, Yaakov wanted to dwell in peace – he had had enough of all the travels and travails he had already experienced. Learning from what we see his priority was, does that mean that we shouldn’t be traveling? Email answers (or any travel related questions) to email@example.com – we would love to hear from you!
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.