Booking a hotel is like finding the perfect home, or at least it should be that way. When you’re away from home, you yearn for the feeling of home — cozy, familiar, personal, and calming. Going on a vacation or a holiday does not mean you have to give up this one thing that puts your heart at peace.

This is why you should totally up your booking game. At a glance, hotels offer the same things and conveniences. But upon closer inspection, they don’t. What people look for when booking hotels vary from a comfy bed to a relaxing vibe, cozy shower to good food. Everyone has their non-negotiables as factors to consider when choosing a hotel. It’s nice to have this list so that you are certain that you’ll get your money’s worth and really enjoy your vacation.

Let these non-negotiables help you find a good hotel for your next vacation.

Perfection in location

hotel non-negotiable things location

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Whether you are going on a city tour or spending a weekend at the beach, location is always of prime importance. If you’re going on a business trip in the city, for example, check whether public transportation is easily accessible and whether spots of interests are within just a few kilometers.

On the beach, do you prefer a beachfront hotel or one that is more secluded and peaceful? Either way, you have to make sure the hotel meets your criteria.

Cleanliness is next to godliness

hotel non-negotiable things cleanliness

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There’s a reason that this proverb stayed on in everyone’s consciousness. It is true, after all, that when your surroundings are clean, for example, you feel some sense of purity.

Cleanliness is certainly one of the things to look for when booking a hotel. You want to be welcomed in a state of order, not chaos. You want to sleep in a bedroom that looks clean and smells fresh, not in some stinky, godforsaken space. Cleanliness should not only be limited to your room, but in all common areas too, such as the dining area.

Eyes on a comfy bed

hotel non-negotiable things comfy bed

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Have you ever looked at an image of a bed in a booking website and thought to yourself: “Wow, Beyoncé could sleep in that bed”? Yes, that’s the kind of bed you want. A large, comfortable bed with fresh linens and soft pillows are want hotel dreams are made of.

The bed is actually the one thing that could singularly convince you whether a hotel is five-star or not. Testing out the bed, rolling and turning, is also probably everyone’s first activity upon checking in. A long day of walking, swimming or sight-seeing deserves to be punctuated with a comfortable bed for a good night’s rest.

The shower power

hotel non-negotiable things shower power

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A clean bathroom is definitely among what you have to look for in a hotel room. This is a pet peeve for a lot of travelers because the bathroom is really some sort of a personal space. If it is clean and fresh, you can probably be assured that the entire hotel is.

Is a water heater important to you? How about a tub? Or maybe a luxurious shower head? These are of course all valid, but cleanliness is still paramount.

Helpful and friendly staff

hotel non-negotiable things helpful and friendly staff

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If you’ve ever read a review of a hotel, one of the things that keep coming up is the quality of service. And the truth is that travelers need to be paying more attention to this because it does make a difference. A hotel staff that is helpful and friendly and always smile at you makes the place warmer and the entire experience more pleasant.

Price must be right

Value for money is definitely one of the factors to consider when choosing a hotel, and this is why you should check out as many hotels as you can. Quality, of course, does not come cheap, but it does not also mean that it should empty your pockets. Location, accessibility, room, and other inclusions often dictate the price. So better check if they are worth it.

Fast and free Wi-Fi

hotel non-negotiable things fast and free wifi

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Need we say more? Yes, even in this day and age, there are still hotels who don’t offer Wi-Fi for free. Customers are not only demanding it, they are expecting it. Make sure you book a hotel that offer fast and free Wi-Fi services, not just in shared areas but all the way to your private room.

The search for good food

hotel non-negotiable things good food

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Food is a vital aspect of any vacation. This is your excuse to binge a little and skip your diet, so it better be worth the trouble. Check if the hotel offers a good selection of food choices in its menu. If not, check if it is near good restaurants or cafes.

Free breakfast for the win

hotel non-negotiable things free breakfast

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day especially if you are about to embark on a full day of sightseeing. You want to feel ready and energized. In booking websites, there are hotels that offer free breakfast along with accommodation. There are those who don’t. So it is best to see if the price difference is warranted.

Respect for laws and the environment

This may not be an issue to you, but it really should be an issue to every responsible traveler. Take the case of Boracay, for example. The island will re-open on October 26 and it is expected that it has healed from decades of environmental degradation. Boracay hotels and resorts without the proper permits and those that are a threat to the environment are history. So if you’re excited to see the island back to its original splendor, make sure you book a hotel in Boracay that is law-abiding and environmentally conscious. You don’t want to empower nature’s abusers and cheats, right?

What do travelers say?

In the age of online booking, hotels really thrive on reviews. Make sure that you find time to read them because a hotel would certainly not disclose its flaws. In the reviews, you’ll have customers giving their two cents on things that matter to travelers like you, so good reviews and recommendations must be a non-negotiable to you.

Transportation services

hotel non-negotiable things transportation service

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This is really important if you’re not renting a car during your stay or if you are flying in during unholy hours and public transportation is hard to come by. Most hotels offer airport pick up and shuttle services so make sure you avail them and make the necessary arrangements.

It is fairly easy to find a good hotel if you know what you are looking for. If you know your must-haves and non-negotiables, you can just filter that outright in a booking app. Do not compromise quality and comfort because if you are willing to, what’s the point of going on a vacation?