Getting ready to book a hotel for your next family vacation? Avoid these common mistakes—provided by parents who’ve personally learned from them—before, during, and after your stay.
1. “Don’t expect upgrades if you book through a third-party site. I had a hotel manager specifically tell me they couldn’t offer any upgrades when a reservation is made through a third-party site. You should always book through the hotel site if you expect upgrades, perks, etc.” – Karon Clark Warren, ThisGirlTravels.com
2. “Never tip on the last day only. I think it’s very important that kids know other people’s work goes into their fun stay, so we leave a note and cash daily now. We once did it only on the last day, then ran into our favorite housekeeper on the way out and learned it was her day to clean a different set of rooms. We were crushed.” – Kyle McCarthy, Family Travel Forum
3. “Don’t skip the reward sign up program. It’s free, and usually grants you things like free Wi-Fi, etc.” – Lesli Peterson, Family Travel 411
4. “Don’t try to sleep with the whole family in one hotel room, especially if traveling with tweens or teens. Splurge on the suite, connecting rooms or vacation home instead. I keep having to learn this one over and over. You save up for this fabulous vacation but then it’s ruined by a lack of sleep. Better to pay extra or go for a shorter stay than feel exhausted and cranky throughout the trip.” – Colleen Lanin, TravelMamas.com
5. “Don’t assume your room is guaranteed. If you will be checking in late, call to confirm your room and tell them (roughly) when you will arrive, especially if you are traveling during busy school break weeks. And call if you are delayed and arriving later than planned. I’ve had so many parents tell me stories of arriving at a hotel late in the day to find their room has been given away.” – Eileen Gunn, Families Go
6. “Don’t overlook free meals. Try to book hotels that include breakfast. The convenience and savings can be huge! Some loyalty reward levels include breakfasts at certain properties. It also often pays to upgrade to an Executive Lounge floor for the many extras that are included, most significantly appetizers, drinks, snacks and even high tea!” – Lisa Nass Grabelle, Hilton Mom Voyage
7. “Don’t be afraid to ask for a late checkout if you think you’ll need it. It’s usually no sweat for the hotel and can make your last day much less stressful.” – Vero Autphenne, PaxTravelDesign.com