With campus tours and college visits upon you, there are sure to be several nights spent in hotels. Travel has changed so much over the years and hotels, in general, are well run and efficient, but sometimes there is a glitch in the system. Know your rights so you can sleep soundly.
1. Request the room you want.
When you check-in at a hotel, your room is typically assigned automatically by a computer which makes tracking efficient for housekeeping and maintenance. If you like staying near a stairway instead of the elevators, speak up before a room is assigned. Request a room above the 2nd floor (since lower floors are easier targets for theft) and below the 6th or 7th floor (to make exiting easier in case of fire).
2. Be aware of your surroundings.
If you get off of the elevator and some of the hallway lights are out or if anything seems amiss, return immediately to the front desk and either request a different room or ask that a staff person accompany you to your room.
3. Don’t sacrifice your health.
If you arrive in your non-smoking room and there is an overpowering smell of smoke, don’t “buck it up”. Return to the front desk and explain that someone has been smoking in the room or perhaps bedding from another room was mistakenly put in yours. Mistakes happen and the housekeeping staff may not notice the odor.
4. Do a quick “sanitary check”.
Before you unpack, do a quick sanitary check of the bathroom (at the very least, check to see that the toilet bowl and sink are clean). Pull back the bedspread and inspect the sheets to see if they are clean and fresh.
5. What’s outside the window?
Again, before you unpack, take a quick look out the window. If your window overlooks the garbage dumpsters, you can pretty much guarantee that they will be emptied very loudly at 4am. Likewise, if you are planning to get to sleep early and your window overlooks the outdoor party area, you might consider requesting a change. Give the hotel staff as much notice as possible should you need to request a new room.
Unfortunately, hotels do sometimes overbook and they will “walk” you. This simply means they have made arrangements for you to stay in a similar hotel in the same town. It’s legal and not uncommon. Push back gently (and politely) to ask if there are any other options. (Sometimes being a AAA member or certain credit card holder is an advantage.) You’ll get much further being polite than trying to argue.
7. Looking for a place to eat?
Ask the staff. Hospitality workers tend to enjoy sharing ideas about their town and they might steer you to a great out-of-the-way place. If you are staying in a college town, try to eat near campus so your teen can get a good idea of life off-campus, too.
College Visit Tour Tip: Use our college search tool to find hotels closest to campus. Search by college name or state to get started.