I often have a different budget each time I travel solo, so I’ve stayed at everything from budget hotels to luxury resorts. I usually visit cities, so I like to find a hotel in the center of things. I was recently thinking about how, as a female solo traveler, my lodging needs might be different from others. For instance, when I traveled to Disney World, I thought about staying at an off-site business hotel to save money and have a respite from children at the end of the day. I wound up staying on-site for convenience, but the fact that Disney hotels are family-oriented was more of a negative to me than a positive, which I’m sure is not the norm. Anyone new to solo travel may want to consider lodging from a totally new perspective. Here are my criteria for lodging when I’m traveling solo:
1. Security/safety – Must be located in a safe neighborhood and with good security on property if needed. There better be a very good lock or deadbolt on the door. I am very keen on in-room safes. Kudos to those hotels that check room keys at the elevators (a standard practice in Las Vegas).
2. Welcoming and friendly staff – When I’m traveling with a companion, it doesn’t bother me as much if the staff are unfriendly. But for solo travel, I like to see a smiling face and have the ability to chat for a few minutes with someone, since it may be one of the few opportunities I have all day.
3. Clientele – I look for places where I’m not likely to stick out like a sore thumb for traveling alone. I try to avoid places that are predominantly filled with families with children or romantic couples. I find that business hotels are often very comfortable for me, because there are lots of other solo travelers on the premises. I’ve never actually stayed at a B&B (yet), as I’ve always thought they’d be full of couples, which would make me stick out as the “only solo”, but I’ve been reading some things lately that are making me rethink that position. It would, for instance, be nice to have a friendly innkeeper be aware of my comings and goings for safety reasons. Which leads me to…..
4. Lodging Type – I admit to a bias here, but as a woman traveling solo, I prefer to stay in hotels or other lodging where the door to my room is accessible only from the hallway, which is accessible only from a lobby. I don’t feel particularly safe staying at motels or other resorts where my room door opens to the great outdoors.
5. In-house dining – Extra points for more than one option. I consider this important for those who don’t feel comfortable traveling too far from their home base when they’re alone to get a meal, especially at night. Room service is a plus for solo travelers who don’t like to dine alone in public.
6. In-house entertainment – This category only applies to those areas where such things are prevalent, such as Las Vegas or New Orleans, where there are often on-property shows or bars with live music. Again, this is extra helpful when you don’t feel comfortable traveling alone too far from your hotel at night. You can still have some fun and hang out with other people.
So those are my criteria. What are yours?