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What to Do When the Accommodation You Booked Is Not Where You Want to Stay

Updated on April 10, 2018
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Mary loves to travel and shares her discoveries about the places she found fascinating.

The Accommodation You Booked

You arrived at your destination hotel and you open the door on what you booked. Not the one in the picture below. You were looking at this place with its space and brightness, but the cheap monkey bit your elbow and ... you took a cheaper option. Unhappily, you made a bad now what?

The Accommodation You Wished You Had

Sheraton Hotel in Dubrovnik
Sheraton Hotel in Dubrovnik | Source

Why Did You Book an Accommodation You Don't Like?

I hate to tell you this, but in spite of all your research, you sometimes arrive at your accommodation and you ask yourself, "Why did I book this?"

I believe you when you say that you spent hours looking for a place to stay. I know, too, that you read countless reviews before you made your choice. I am aware that you put the filters that are non-negotiable for you. So, how did you end up here?

Sometimes, it is not your fault. You did everything patiently and settled on a place you know you'll enjoy, one where you can go out of your door and immediately walk to the beach where fishermen bring in their catch and you can have a stroll in the beach with the one you love and enjoy watching the sunset. Even though it was a tad expensive, you wanted to give yourselves a treat. But, something happened.

The Beachfront Destination We Booked

Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia | Source

What Happened to the Dream Accommodation We Booked

Here is what happened. We were driving from Madrid to Porto and looking forward to that dream place we booked. This is our first time in Porto and we were really excited. As we approached Porto, we heard a ping alerting us to a message on our phone.

We pulled over at the next stop and looked at the message. It told us that the place we booked in Orbitz for Porto was already booked but the staff forgot to remove it from the site. We were upset as we had a clear confirmation of our booking.

They offered another option which we said we would consider as it had been a long days drive. This was our first time in Porto and did not know what to expect. We arranged to meet the staff but we were not happy campers. The place was super clean and it was alright. It was in an apartment building about 15 minutes from the beach and with no restaurant or grocery store or any attraction you could walk to. We thought we were in Porto but we were not. We kept putting Porto in the GPS and could not get a match until a lady by the roadside told us to put Vila Nova de Gaia, the neighbouring town.

We were told this was much cheaper, but cheap only works if your basic quality needs are met We were looking to stay in a place right on the beach where we could watch the fishermen in the morning preparing their nets, talk with them a bit, and walk in the shore. Maybe, also watch them come back to bring in their catch. It wasn’t summer but it wasn’t that cold either so this was possible, thus, the reason for our booking the first place. Anyway, what do you do?

Not in this Center of Town

Accommodation in the Center
Accommodation in the Center | Source

Other Times When What You Booked Was a Disappointment

Here's another scenario for you. You arrive at the place. It is beautiful but there is construction on all sides and the noise and dust are just beyond what you can tolerate.

Another time, you saw when you booked the hotel that there was parking and there really was. When you arrived, you saw the gate to the parking a few feet to your right but because of the one-way traffic, you can't turn right. You have to turn left and go around narrow streets until 45 minutes after and having asked 5 people, you found the gate. The joy of driving and being in the centre of the city.

Or, the time when you booked a place as it is "an easy walk to the attractions". The easy walk is for 20-year-old sprinters and not seniors with canes. It was one of the hotels highly ranked in the listing for that city but you found out it was not within the city but in the suburb. Well, still part of the city.

Another time, we did not have much time to book a place. We tend to wander across the countryside without a plan, and sometimes we get a huge surprise. We were driving and saw a decent place where we wanted to stay. It was exciting and beautiful so we went to the usual platform. We booked the one that had 9.9 rating as we were caught in the usual ploy that there is only one room left and half the world was looking at it right now.So. we booked it, relying on the rating.

We looked at it the following day, from the outside just to check. It was quite old but what do you expect in an old city and the view was magnificent. We arrived the next day and saw the stairs we have to climb to the top. The room was on the 3rd floor (Level 4) and there was no lift. The stairs were steep and narrow so, what do you do. We actually crawled up the last flight!

In another hotel, it said clearly that there was parking available to guests and I just presumed it was free. No, it was a paid for parking close by and that’s 25 Euros per day. With parking and highway charges, you can rack up your holiday costs far beyond your planned budget.

You can add to this dirty carpets, smelly rooms, and bedbugs. I am sure you have your own stories and no matter how much care you put into your booking sometimes you will be disappointed.

Easy Walk to the Town Center

Location of Accommodation
Location of Accommodation | Source

Travel Accommodation Preference

Which of these travel accommodation do you prefer?

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Advantages of Your Accommodation

Accommodation Choice
Accommodation Choice | Source

What to Do When You Don't Like Your Booked Accommodation

Here are some suggestions:

  • Shorten your stay.

Take it for one or 2 days. That will give you enough time to look around and find other places if your first choice was a tad weak. This is, of course, only possible when it is not the peak season and when you have a car. Or, if you’re staying in the place longer.

If you don’t have a car, take the room for one night and go back again to the booking platforms and look for another accommodation. Better to have another adventure than to mope in the place you really don’t like. Search not just in that particular area. There are neighbouring places which are just as good. Ask around. There are always people who like to help. Look for real estate offices in the area. They often have options for you.

  • Make do and enjoy your stay.

We did with the apartment in Porto where we have to walk up to the 3rd floor. We only booked 3 nights so we knew we could make do. We arrived (crawled) at the top and the view was amazing. The place was well decorated, super clean, and everything in it was top notch although narrow. But the place was right where the action is. Once you’re down, it is very easy to go around to the many interesting places. Even when it rained, we still could watch the action from our top floor and a bit of planning meant we could do one up and down each day.

There are always advantages to whatever place you end up in. What matters is your attitude. You can make yourself miserable or you can look at the pleasant things and enjoy it.

  • Leave early and forget about the money paid

We did this once.It was in Taormina. It was not the place’s fault. It was ours. We were with family and we thought that a place on the beach in Sicily would be fun for a few days in-between history and sightseeing. It was February. Nothing much was opened on the beach when we arrived and when we saw the town, we looked at each other and thought why were we there in that isolated place. Well, we immediately changed that after one night.

We went off, booked in another place which we found online and turned out to be really magnificent. This is when we discovered Syracusa.

We can’t really explain why we missed this in our planning. But when you are not familiar with a place, you miss out a few things. In fact, it had so much to offer that some family members went back there another time.

When you move on, surprises come your way and often they are much more pleasant. You know what? We can't remember what we paid but we certainly remember Syracusa. In fact, our daughter went back there and stayed in the same hotel and revelled in the mammoth history of that very walkable city

  • Chat about an upgrade.

Sometimes, you like the place but the room is too small. This happens when we choose the cheapest room advertised in that hotel. When you see a bargain in some of those 5-star hotels, it is so tempting to book it only to find out, it is one of their smaller rooms and you find it hard to move around. Well, chat with the reception. If you stay longer and the hotel is not really full, you have a good chance of getting an upgrade.

Avoid full tourist season. When the hotel has flexibility, you can benefit.

Your Accommodation is Part of Your Travel Adventure

Choosing Where to Stay
Choosing Where to Stay | Source

How You Book Your Accommodation

What is your topmost criteria when you book your accommodation?

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Laugh and Think about Why You're Traveling

Travel is an adventure but cleanliness should not be. Smelly room, smelly sheets, some days you are the pigeon, sometimes you are the statue.

Laugh and think about why you’re travelling. You want some adventure, don’t you? All you do in your room is sleep so don’t let that become the deciding factor in your enjoyment.

If you’re not happy, your host is probably not happy either. She/He knows that a bad review is going to hurt her business and so she wants to sort out any problems. If you’re not comfortable, don’t get angry. Keep calm and leave lots of room for compromise. A big smile is going to work much better than an angry voice especially as there may be language complications. The host knows you do not need to get angry to get even!

© 2018 Mary Norton


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