Traveling and hotels are closely linked, because almost all long-distance travelers will require a place to sleep at some point during their trip. What people look for in lodging can vary widely, depending on their goals for the trip, the type of experience they prefer and their budgetary constraints.
A hotel is a private establishment that offers overnight accommodation, meals and other services to guests. Most hotels offer a variety of accommodation types, including private rooms, suites and apartments, and are generally designed to serve primarily leisure travelers. Some hotels also provide additional facilities such as swimming pools and health clubs, although these are usually seen as an added bonus rather than a core part of the accommodation offering.
Other types of lodging include hostels, bed and breakfasts and apartment hotels. Hostels are typically aimed at backpackers or younger travelers, and have age limits for guests; however, some of the larger international chains such as YHA and Hostelling International cater to older travelers too. B&Bs, which are often converted from private homes and may have the owners living on site, are a less expensive alternative to hotels.
When booking a hotel, it can be helpful to book close to the date of stay, as this can result in the lowest rates. As dates approach, the hotel will need to fill rooms in order to recoup any unused inventory and may thus slash prices or throw in extra perks to attract customers.