When should you spend more money on a hotel room?

Lodging is one of the biggest expenses of travel. Find a way to save money on that and suddenly a family vacation can become affordable.

But sometimes it’s worth spending a little more on a hotel room. For example:

1. Spending more saves you more.

A condo with a kitchen might cost more than a standard double room in a hotel, but that kitchen can be a big money (and sanity) saver. Stop at the grocery on the way to check in and pick up the things your family likes to eat for breakfast. For me, being on vacation means never having to say I cooked. So we buy cereal and milk for breakfast, a bunch of fruit for snacks and some sandwich fixings for lunch. Having that fridge also means we can take home the dinner leftovers and eat them for a second meal.

2. The hotel is part of an all-inclusive resort.

The words “all-inclusive” are music to my traveling mom ears. I had never stayed at an all-inclusive until I started traveling with a kid who is a picky eater. It was such a stress reducer to walk him down the buffet line and urge him to take a spoonful of things that looked good, try them, and go back for anything he liked. It sure beat studying a restaurant menu, then finding he wouldn’t eat what I had ordered. In addition to their food buffets, all-inclusive resorts have a smorgasbord of activities from which to choose. Best of all, when you check out, the final bill does not come has a shock to the family budget.

3. You want a little privacy.

It’s always nice to have a place where you and your significant other can be alone together. That can mean booking a suite so you have a door that closes (and the kids have their own room with their own TV). Or it can mean simply upgrading to the room with the balcony so you and your honey can have an uninterrupted conversation over a nice bottle of wine while the baby sleeps inside.

4. It entitles you to special treatment.

Staying “on property” at Disney, for example, gives you access to certain parks at times when they are not open to the public. Staying in a Disney hotel meant that my daughter and I were able to do all of Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the hour before the park opened to the public.

Come back next Thursday, when I’ll talk about when to book a cheaper hotel room and how to choose it.

Cindy Richards is the mom of two, a long-time travel writer and the editor of TravelingMom.com, a website for moms who travel with and without their kids.

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