I finally invited my mother to travel with me, and I didn’t regret it–not even once. Well, maybe.
Just kidding, mom; I know you’re reading this. I figured, why not spend some quality bonding time with Mom? I’m capable of planning and booking a trip for both of us. It’s what I live for! Literally, all she has to do is bring her luggage. (I would even pay for everything). So, when I asked her if she wanted to travel with me, without delay, she said, “yes.”
I need six months of vacation… twice a year.unknown
From snow fall to palm trees
On December 27th, we left snowy St. Louis and arrived to a warm Savannah, Georgia by nightfall. Upon landing, the temperature was mid-60s. We found our bright blue rental car right outside the airport, so I jumped in and rolled the windows down, “ya-hooooo!”
Palm trees lined the street and highway until we reached our hotel, the Econolodge in Garden City. I couldn’t wait to unpack and lay down in what would be our home for the next week.
Dun dun dunnnn. But what happened next, I never could have expected. Good. Lord. Have. Mercy. The Econolodge was scuzzy, and for the first time in years, I chose a nasty hotel. It was nothing like the reviews said or the pictures portrayed on the website.
Travel Tip #1: don’t trust the hotel website’s photos
Why? The photos don’t capture the pungent smell of weed permanently infused in the hallway’s carpet, nor do they include shots of the beaten-in door locks; not to mention, when mom and I finally stepped inside the room, we couldn’t stop staring at the curiously dark stains scattered all over our comforter. But seriously though, I wondered, how could hotels pass off these deceivingly nice pictures of the rooms as true? Isn’t that unlawful?
Well, now I had a big mess on my hands. Mom was too upset to unpack. Once starved, we were now too concerned for our safety to think about food. I quickly developed a throbbing headache because of mom’s silence, and that’s the worst phase of her fretting. I had to do something… and quick.
I ran outside through the parking lot where I’m almost certain the hotel clerk was involved in a drug deal, so I politely waited for her to finish her shady activity with a droopy-drawered fella. Two minutes later, I checked out at the front desk.
Travel Tip #2: Pay Attention to the Volume of Online Reviews
More than anything, travels should want to get a summation of the hotel’s ranking. This could including guest satisfaction scores, volume of reviews, etc. Find 5-10 reviews on TripAdvisor and make a decision. You want to see the really high and the really low scores. Are the reviewer’s concerns legit? Are they a whiny baby (you know what I’m talking about) or is safety/cleanliness really at risk?
Hotels want reviews–and lots of them. Volume can be a good thing because it gives travelers something to chew on. I can tell you that upon checkout, I have left both rave 😀 and ripping D: reviews, depending on my experience.
Basically, we as consumers want something. We want to see some type of review. Wouldn’t it strike you as odd if there were no reviews on a property? Can you say, “sketch!”
Our Solution: The Iris Garden hotel
Back to our story
A couple hours passed, and I finally decided on a hotel with more positive reviews: The Iris Garden hotel. Clean, refreshing, and modern. But most importantly, Mom felt better, safer, and happier. We called it a night after we unpacked at our new hotel. It was shortly after midnight, but who cared? We finally had solid accommodation, which is the foundation to any stay–no matter where you are.
Plain and simple: Read the reviews
So you don’t have beaten-in hotel room doors. So you don’t end up with greasy stains on the bed comforter. So you don’t have permeating weed odor. So you don’t have drug deals in the parking lot. So you don’t have a mother who is in stage three of panic: silence. Do yourself a favor; learn from my mistakes and read the reviews.