Certain free amenities can be a perk of your hotel stay. But some such amenities can be more valuable than others. Sure, many hotels these days provide free items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, a sewing kit, shower cap, and more; however, such items could only add a dollar or two in value to your stay.
Having worked in the hotel industry for the first portion of my career, I became familiar with some of the more valuable amenities. And now, as a family man and father of two, I can use my experience within the industry to seek out hotels that can add the most value to our stay.
Finding hotels with complimentary meals can make for huge savings, especially for families like ours. Not only can free breakfasts or snacks at cocktail hour feed the family for free, but things like bottled water, juice, sodas, apples, bananas, pre-packaged cereals, cookies, crackers, yogurts, and similar items can make for take-along snacks when we’re on the road or to stick in mommy’s purse when we’re out and about and the kids’ bellies are rumbling. Such items can cut tens of dollars a day off our travel or vacation costs.
When I was a youngster, our family used to get together for an annual visit at the Brown County Inn in Nashville, Indiana. I enjoyed this particular spot because it had many of the amenities that a kid loves – a heated indoor pool, miniature golf, table tennis, shuffleboard, and tennis and basketball courts. Equipment for most such activities was without rental charge, which meant that entertainment was largely free for the family. The great part is that my own kids have now partaken in the same such events at this location (our son loved the mini-golf), and we had a great weekend getaway largely for the cost of the hotel room, the fuel to get there, and food costs.
Parking at hotel properties can get pricey, especially over a lengthier stay. While suburban or rural locations might offer free parking, if you’re planning to stay in an urban or downtown location, you could find parking is much more expensive than you’d expected.
In major metropolitan areas, parking can sometimes range between $20 and $40 a night, which could leave the parking costs alone for a weeklong stay running into the hundreds of dollars. Taking a moment to determine the parking situation and costs before you book with a particular hotel – whether by checking online or contacting the property directly – could help you find a location where free or discounted parking is offered.
So while it might be worth spending a little extra money to escape the normal trappings of everyday life, certain hotel amenities can make such trips more affordable and more pleasurable without spending as much as you might think.
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The author is not a licensed financial or travel industry professional. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.