Foreign Hotel Travel Tips

If you've never travelled overseas, hotel stays can be an experience all their own. Here's what to know when settling in for an international overnight

If you’re travelling overseas, staying in a foreign hotel sometimes mean expecting the unexpected

Last year, Canadians took a record number of trips overseas; foreign travel has increased 54 per cent in the last five years alone.

If you’re one of those venturing out beyond the typical all-inclusive or snowbird destinations, here are some tips when staying at a foreign hotel.

Read Hotel Reviews by Canadians

Sometimes, the only thing you have to go by when booking a hotel in another country is consumer-review websites. But travellers from different parts of the world have very different ideas about what makes a good hotel. So, be wary of these sites.

Check them out, but pay special attention to reviews from other Canadians to be sure you’re getting the opinion of someone with similar tastes and expectations as your own.

Tips for Choosing a Hotel

  • Get Directions to Your Hotel in the Local Language: Don’t assume your taxi driver will speak English or know where your hotel is, especially if it’s small or off the beaten path. You can ask the hotel to email you driving directions in the local language and then just hand the printout to your driver.
  • Protect Your Valuables: It might seem obvious, but be careful with your valuables. If something goes missing, you may have no rights. Laws vary from country to country, so lock your valuables in the manager’s safe, or better yet, leave them at home.
  • Know How to Get Emergency Help: Remember that 9-1-1 is not an international emergency number. Each country has its own protocol for emergency calls, so make sure you know how to get in touch with local emergency services should you need them.
  • Bring an Adapter: Pack an adapter for small appliances like your blow dryer or curling iron. It will allow you to convert the prongs of your electrical plugs to fit into another country’s outlets.
  • Don’t Make Assumptions: Don’t assume a foreign hotel will offer all the amenities you’re used to at home, whether it be air conditioning or an iron. If a particular service is important to you, check ahead to see if it’s offered. Most importantly, though, enjoy the experience that comes with seeing and trying new things in a distant land.

Claire Newell is the travel media expert for Global BC, host of the travel series Operation: Vacation, best-selling author, spokesperson, wife and mother of two.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.