Nowadays, a lot of travelers are choosing to book their hotel online. Not only is it usually cheaper than booking with a travel agency, computer savvy travelers also get to surf the net for their choice of hotels and packages. Since most of these reservations are prepaid, and canceling a reservation will usually leave a customer with a cancellation charge, it’s a good idea to research the hotel you plan to book extensively. If you’re not familiar with hotel lingo, you might get stuck paying for something you don’t need or want.
When you’re searching for hotels, aside from the room types, you might also come upon different meal plans. Although most hotels will indicate if breakfast is included in the price, some hotels (especially resorts), may also say the room rate includes a European plan or is all-inclusive. It can get pretty confusing, so here’s a quick translation of the more common meal plans:
• European plan – room rate does not include meals
• American plan – room rate includes 3 meals a day
• modified American plan – room rate includes 2 meals a day
• table d’hote – a fixed price menu w/ limited choices
• continental breakfast –coffee or tea, rolls/bread w/ butter, jam, no juice
• English/Dutch/ German breakfast – full breakfast w/ juice, eggs, meat, cheese, yoghurt, beverages, all according to the customs of the country
• all-inclusive – means accommodations, meals, snacks, beverages & recreational activities are included in the resort price.
Again, don’t assume that just because the service is a standard in most hotels, that you’ll get the same thing as well. Be sure to double-check the amenities and services included in the room, especially if you’re staying in a place overseas that might have different customs. I know about one family that ended up staying in a room with no air-conditioning, just because the hotel offered rooms both with and without air-conditioning. Since the place was fully-booked, they couldn’t transfer rooms, and ended up having to sleep 2 days in the heat. Not an auspicious beginning to their vacation!