The first thing I do when I begin to plan a trip is choose where I will be staying.  I need an idea of where we will be staying in the city we are visiting.  This is crucial in planning each day's general itinerary, plus by knowing where our hotel or B&B is located in the city we are visiting, I can become familiar with the nearby tram/bus/Métro lines.  I can also map out what general area of the city we will visit each day. By dividing a large city into sections, it's easier to plan your itinerary for each day.

When choosing a place to stay, I prefer either a small family-run hotel with breakfast included or a Bed and Breakfast. There are many reasons for this:

The first is obvious...you are provided breakfast. That's one meal you won't have to worry about spending money on and you can begin your day of sightseeing with a full stomach.
The second reason I like staying in a B&B is that you get to connect with a local family in the city you are visiting and meet and talk with other fellow travelers. It's so rewarding to meet other travelers, especially if they are from another country other than the U.S. Isn't one of the reasons you travel to a foreign country to meet and interact with persons from cultures other than your own? When you are one of hundreds or even thousands of guests in a large chain hotel, it's really hard to interact with others.

Frieda and Benno with my sister at the Absoluut Verhulst B&B in Bruges.  An absoluutly fabulous place to stay!
The third reason I prefer to stay in a B&B is the price. Most Bed and Breakfast establishments charge far less than the large chain hotels, and you're getting the breakfast included in your room rate. In a B&B or even a smaller hotel, you are not being charged for the thrills and frills associated with the larger chain hotels. (Now if you prefer the thrills and frills, then by all means, continue booking a room at these hotels.)

Now the biggest complaint that I see on travel review websites is "It was a great hotel, but my room was too small." This really amazes me when I see this. When you are planning a trip to Europe, how much time are you expecting to stay in your room? When I visit Europe, I plan on spending the least amount of time in my room as possible. I'm not saving up thousands of dollars to spend extra time in my room. I'm out visiting the museums, churches and restaurants. I want a room to take a shower and get a good night's sleep. Also, anyone who plans to visit Europe should realize that hotel rooms are smaller there. Many hotels and B&Bs are located in renovated canal houses or centuries-old homes that have been converted. And finally, isn't having a smaller room just part of the charm of traveling and staying in those family-run smaller hotels or B&Bs? If you need a larger room, don't book a hotel that's located in a converted canal house in Amsterdam. Stick to those generic name-brand chain hotels.

Thank you for visiting,

A Great Europe Trip Planner

All photos were taken by me. 

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