15 things I learned about hotels and Airbnbs after traveling the world for a year
- I spent a year traveling the world as Business Insider's international correspondent.
- In that time, I stayed in nearly 100 hotels and Airbnbs that ran the range from ultra-budget to mid-tier to luxury.
- Some of the most important things I've learned include checking the electric kettle when you enter a hotel room, always asking for late check-out, and cross-checking prices between Booking.com and Airbnb.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Over the last year, I've spent 300 days or more on the road. That's a lot of nights in hotels, Airbnbs, guesthouses, and everything in between.
Still, every time I walk into a hotel room or an Airbnb in a strange city, I get excited. I love the feeling of trying to turn a strange city into home, even for a few days.
That being said, I've definitely made a couple mistakes along the way. In February, I assumed a luxury hotel I was staying in had a noon checkout, like nearly every other hotel I've stayed at in the world. I was wrong. In Tanzania, the standard checkout is 10 a.m.
Here are the hotel and Airbnb lessons I've learned and the tips I've picked up after a year of traveling around the world.
1. It's not just you: The community and the listings on Airbnb are changing, for better or worse.
2. If you want to know how clean a hotel room is, check the electric kettle.
3. When booking hotels, guesthouses, or apartments, check prices across Airbnb, Booking, and Expedia. They usually have the same listings at different prices.
4. If all you care about is staying in a fancy hotel for a good price, Dubai is a pretty good option.
5. If you are going to splurge for a fancy hotel, it's worth double-checking that it has a spa.
6. To keep the air in your room from getting too dry, wet a towel and hang it by the heater.
7. Carry a doorstop — and use it in any situation that makes you feel unsafe.
8. Carry photocopies of your passport.
9. Don't trust the hotel safe: Get a lockable suitcase.
10. Check out times vary from country to country.
11. Don't be afraid to ask for late checkout.
12. The best lodging option — Airbnb, hotel, guesthouse, or some other option — will be different in each destination.
13. The thing that sets elite hotels apart isn't the "pillow menus" or gold-covered walls: It's the service.
14. There's an easy way to steam out wrinkles in your dress shirts and blazers, even if you don't have access to a dry cleaner.
15. The most important part of any hotel is its location.
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