Have you ever had a long-awaited vacation totally ruined because of the hotel you booked? Perhaps the service was lacking or the rooms weren’t as clean as they should have been. Maybe advertised amenities like complimentary continental breakfast weren’t available or it was comprised of stale breakfast rolls and cold coffee. Many complaints are centered on air conditioners that weren’t cooling the room or a lack of heat in the winter.

For whatever reason, you may not have had a good experience and that gives you all the more reason to choose this year’s hotel with more care. If you are planning your summer vacation now, pay attention to how you book your hotel. As you know, it could make the difference between an awesome vacation you’ll always remember and one you wish you could forget.

Where Do You Want to Go This Year?: The very first thing you should do is think about exactly where it is you want to go this year. Once you have a destination in mind, you can be looking at hotel availability. For example, if you want to visit Niagara Falls then you can start looking for 5 star hotels in Niagara Falls with the amenities you require.

It is always important to know whether you are going to be willing to drive any distance to the places you want to visit or if you need to be within easy walking distance. If you can’t find a hotel close enough to the attractions you want to visit, you may want to rethink your ultimate vacation destination.

What Types of Rooms Are Available?: You now have a date in mind when you intend to take your vacation and a destination as well. Now it’s time to look at how many people will be traveling in your party. Are you going solo or with your spouse? Perhaps this is a family vacation and the kids will be with you. Make sure to enquire about what kinds of rooms are available and if the hotel is kid friendly if you are bringing the entire family.

Will the dog be coming along? Pet friendly hotels are still available so make sure you ask about the cost of rooms that allow pets. Also, many hotels are now non-smoking for every room but if they have smoking rooms, make sure to state your preference early on. Nothing is worse for a non-smoker than a foul smelling suite or for a smoker who has to go off-grounds to light one up.

Off-Peak Discounts: There are some hotels that offer different rates for weekdays and others that have family discounts. Some of the better hotels may have limited availability so their rates will not reflect discounts during high seasons of the year. Typically, these are June and July during the summer months and the weeks just prior to and after the holidays in the winter months. Not all families take their vacation in the summertime because that may be their busy season as well, so it is good to ask about discounts if you can travel at off-peak times of year. You would be surprised at just how much of a price difference there is between peak and off peak seasons. If you can travel any time of year, it might be good to take advantage of reduced off-season rates.

Amenities You Require: Some amenities may be negotiable while others may be a ‘must have.’ Coffee and in-suite breakfasts are always a plus and those rooms that have a microwave and coffee pot are also in high demand. Some vacationers simply want to grab a quick bite in their room before going out for the evening or to a shopping spree where they will most likely not want to stop and dine. Other times the kids don’t want to sit down for a formal dinner so it is nice to have cooking/heating facilities in the room.

Do you want a heated pool or a restaurant on site? Perhaps you want to book a hotel that has a gift shop or souvenir shop on the premises. Do you need a handicap accessible room and handicapped bathroom? Don’t forget to ask about any special requirements you may have because this, again, can make or break your stay.

Don’t let an inadequate hotel ruin your vacation this year. Call ahead, visit websites and make absolutely sure the hotel you choose has exactly what you need at a very minimum. Once you find the right place, make your reservations as soon as possible with the requisite deposit. As the old saying goes, if you snooze you lose. This year can be the one to remember, but let’s make sure it’s for all the right reasons!