Convenience

My favorite landlady of all time, 83 or 85 years old (she claimed to have forgotten when she was born) when she passed away, would complain that life was all a matter of time versus money. At 25 she had time but no money (there being no Internet stocks available then). In her 40's she had some money but found it hard to take much more than a week or two off work.

The same goes for convenience versus adventure in choosing a place to stay. There's a reason (apart from Internet stocks) why Hilton, Sheraton and their peers are very successful businesses. They offer a McDonald's-like consistent experience no matter where you check in, Berlin, Beijing, Brussels or Bujambura.

And that is OK.

Let me lash out for a minute at the guide books that try and make you feel like a loser because you aren't carrying a backpack and eating out of dumpsters. There are those travelers who will try and tell you that if you stay in a place with clean sheets (or even sheets at all) you are not communing with the natives. You might just as well stay home and order pizza.

If this wasn't a family-oriented web site I might be taken to using a naughty word here, so instead, please insert your favorite naughty word here: ********.

Back to the topic. Convenience is a major issue, especially if you have younger, high-maintenance infants. Chain hotels will be clean, they will have your reservation and if they promise a crib and a roll away they are likely to provide them (bad service can happen anywhere, but the odds are stacked in your favor here). They are usually located in convenient locations. You can get directions to the place from most folks you meet.

If your family vacation is also a decompression vacation for one or more working parents, if your traveling needs include a for-sure clean room and a real bed, and if your budget can accommodate it, a chain hotel will provide that experience. You can make reservations on-line or with a toll-free number and your credit card. In many cases, you'll rack up some additional frequent flyer miles, as most major airlines have arrangements with most major hotel chains.

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