Choosing accomodation through a guidebook often brings bad experiences and disappointment. Many recommendations are often based on quick incomprehensive visits and can rarely be trusted. If you have internet and would like to read recommendations before booking a room, tripadvisor might be of help. But if you want to go on your own accommodation hunt for a cheap guesthouse, hostel, hotel or homestay, this is a short guide for you!
The first thing you do before entering is to see how the place is located. If there is a nightclub right downstairs, you might want to reconsider. If you live near a party district, drunk people might interrupt your sleep. Same goes for construction sites and loud traffic. It’s always great to find a place near public transport and nearby the things you want to see and do.
If you took a taxi our tuktuk and the driver brought you to a certain place that he recommends, he was probably paid to do so. Don’t let yourself be pushed into booking a room that you don’t feel comfortable with.
Once you decide to enter you’ll hopefully get a warm welcome. But no matter what smile, be polite and patient. In this way you’ll have a better chance of getting better rooms and better service.
When you ask about the price stay open minded. It might be that the last place you visited costed much less, but before you think that they are trying to rip you off, be aware that the price depends on the location and the facilities (free wifi, free use of computers, free washing, free breakfast, hot showers, cheap tours etc.). If you plan to stay several days, you can ask if there is a discount or try to haggle. They often differ between aircon and fan room, where the latter is the cheaper option.
If a room is in your price range, ask to see it. First check if the fan or aircon works. Same goes for hot water! Most importantly, the reason you’re probably here is to have a place to sleep. Check the sheets: Do they have small bloodstains? This may be a case of bedbugs! If not look at the corners of the madras just to be sure. If you find traces of bedbugs get the hell out of there and don’t bother to check other rooms.
If the bed is bug free try to sit on it to check if you can sleep well here. Now that you’ve made sure you don’t have uninvited guests in your bed, check if you see cockroaches or other animals. Also check for mosquitoes and if they have easy access to the room. Having a fan is always great to prevent moskitos on landing on you, because they are weak flyers.
If you need access to the internet, ask if you can check if the wifi connection is good enough.They might say it’s good, but insist to check it just to be sure. When you get access you might as well use this opportunity to check if the guesthouse has horrible reviews on tripadvisor.
If you arrive at a reasonable hour don’t take the first best room. Go around and check a few places out – you can save money and spare yourself from an awful night. Having a place where you can relax and feel good is really worth the extra time.
Follow your instincts. Trust your overall first impression of the place and the staff. Do they seem like honest and nice people? Do they seem like they only see you as an income and not as a person? The reception has the key to your room and might be accessing it when you are out. If the staff is rude it’s often a result of complaining guests.