Is there a perfect bed and breakfast? Of course—in fact, there are hundreds, probably even thousands, of them! The trick is finding the perfect one for you on your next getaway. By checking ahead of time and getting answers to all your questions, you will be able to have a most wonderful and memorable vacation. Bed and breakfast facilities offer home-like settings as well as interesting glimpses into the areas you choose to visit. Take time to find the one that is perfect for you and your family, and chances are, you’ll want to visit another bed and breakfast in the future!
- Give yourself plenty of time to plan. The less time you have to choose a bed and breakfast, the more difficult it is to find a great one.
- The most popular and easiest way to search for a bed and breakfast is by location. You may start by deciding on the geographical region you would like to visit and explore. A second way to choose is by amenities and a third is by “specials” offered by travel websites.
- Choose a general price range. Some B&Bs would be perfect—if only you had unlimited cash. But there’s almost always a wonderful bed and breakfast that fits your budget. It may be possible to negotiate a lower rate.
- Start your serious research. You can contact the Chamber of Commerce or buy a bed and breakfast guide. However, the Internet is the best place to do this. Simply type the name of the town or state you wish to visit into your favorite search engine. Then search with the keywords “bed and breakfast.” Most Internet searches will yield all the information you need. You can access maps, rates, descriptions, amenities, phone numbers and much more.
- Evaluate the information carefully. Remember that websites are advertising/promoting their bed and breakfast business. Once you have narrowed your search down to a few promising places, carefully read over their information. Some bed and breakfast facilities don’t welcome children under the age of 12, unless by special arrangement. Some allow children under certain ages to stay for free. Yet others offer special treats for children and even provide child-safe activities. If you’re going to take your small children along on the trip, make sure the bed and breakfast you’re planning to visit will welcome them.Does anyone in your family have special needs, such as wheelchair ramps, dietary restrictions or oxygen requirements? Call ahead to see if the facility you’re interested in is equipped to deal with those needs. Some inns are set up especially for those with physical impairments. If one facility isn’t capable of handling special needs, ask if they can refer you to one that is.Will your pet be traveling with you? Be aware that most bed and breakfast facilities don’t allow pets! There are a lot that do, however, so don’t be discouraged if the first few turn you down. Some inns even have their own dog or cat on hand to welcome guests. Always check ahead of time before setting out with your pet. Remember, no matter how well behaved it may be, if it’s against company policy, your pet won’t be allowed to stay.Most bed and breakfast facilities provide a kitchen that you will be allowed to use, as long as you agree to follow the rules of the establishment. You may wish to bring along a few of your child’s favorite treats, as well as any special medications or dietary items. Speak with the owners to find out about kitchen privileges.
- Bed and breakfast accommodation can offer many amenities. Some of these are: antiques, architecture, business services, diet/vegetarian, education, family friendly, farm activities, gourmet food, handicapped accessible, historic inn, Jacuzzi/hot tub, outdoor setting, pet friendly, romance, smoking permitted, spa services and weddings/reunions. The location of the B&B may offer nearby amenities such as: beach/shoreline; golf, historic sites, nature, summer and winter sports.
- Email or talk to the innkeepers before making a reservation. If there’s anything you’re not clear about after visiting their web site, ask. (e.g. Do you serve a full or continental breakfast?) Be sure you’re clear about check-in and checkout times, and any other features you’re interested in.
- Ask for other opinions. Post a note on a bed and breakfasts discussion forum on the Net to get input from other travelers.
- Once you’ve picked the bed and breakfast you’re interested in, your next step is to make your reservation. Most bed and breakfast websites provide reservation details and contact information to make this easy. In some cases, you can even make your reservation on-line. Most reservation policies require you to cancel your reservation at least several days in advance. Unlike a hotel, most B&B’s are small enough that a canceled reservation usually means they’ve missed out on other opportunities.
- Be sure to give yourself enough time to enjoy the local flavor. Staying at a B&B for just one night can defeat the purpose. Be aware of any minimum stay requirements.