I was brought up by parents who themselves were brought up in the Second World War in the UK. This means rationing, make-do-and-mend, growing your own food and recycling just about everything. Frugal. And therefore I am too. But the cheapest isn’t always the best, especially when you’re choosing accommodation for your vacation.

Next time you’re driving, notice how many rock-bottom cheap vehicles you see. Only a few, I’ll bet. The fact is that people buy Porsches, BMWs, Lexuses (Lexi?), Mercedes and other luxury cars. Rolls Royces exist. Porsche 911s exist. Ferraris exist. Proving that we do not make purchases on price alone.

Same with food – do you always buy the very cheapest? Do you shop for clothes at places that can only be described as bargain basements? Is your TV or computer the cheapest possible bargain?

Let’s face it, we do NOT buy on price. We buy on VALUE.

And it’s the same when we are choosing vacation accommodation. Where we stay when we’re travelling is important to our overall enjoyment of the trip. This means that opting for the cheapest can often prove to be a false economy. If your accommodation is a disappointment, then it can colour your entire vacation.

It’s no coincidence that some of the most expensive hotels worldwide are also the most sought-after.

Camping, living on the land and cheap-but-cheerful hostelling all have their place. But if you’re spending money on accommodation, then the cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best value for you.

Let’s take a simple amenity – parking your car. Some hotels will charge you upwards of $20 per day to park your car – yes, $100 or more for a simple four-night/five-day stay. This makes an accommodation with free parking more attractive, even if your four-night/ five-day stay is more expensive by $15 per day – you’ve still benefitted.

So many places offer ‘free’ extras. Here are some that you might find and appreciate, depending on your requirements:

  • Arrival snacks. These can be important if you arrive at your accommodation late in the evening – they can save you having to call for an expensive delivery meal
  • Complimentary bottle of wine. So much better than that $20 bottle of plonk from room service or the minibar
  • Snuggly bathrobes – for a real touch of luxury, especially for couples. Disposable slippers, ditto
  • High-quality toiletries. These are becoming more common in self-catering accommodation
  • Free parking for your car – this can save a lot of money
  • In self-catering accommodation, breakfast foods supplied for your first morning. Free breakfasts throughout your stay can also save you a lot of money
  • Bottled water, chilled and ready to satisfy your thirst. Bottled water is expensive – if your accommodation provides you with complimentary water, that’s great
  • Fresh flowers in your room / apartment. Not a money saver but a true joy that gives you pleasure

Everyone is different. If you’re a couple that enjoys a hearty breakfast then a place that provides it inclusive of the price can save you $20 per day. If you’re accommodation has free parking that too can save you the same amount. It depends on your own personal circumstances. A well-situated-apartment or hotel can save you a lot of money in cab fares, gas prices and public transport options.

Today, all this information can be gained online. Whether you’re comparing an Airbnb rental to a luxury hotel … or a budget hostel to a camping option, the reviews and descriptions will tell you what you need to know. The internet gives us the opportunity to select exactly the right place for the perfect vacation.




JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.

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