Ladies and gentlemen, for the second year in a row, I give you our sister site TripAdvisor's dirtiest hotel: The Hotel Carter in New York City. Surprised? You shouldn't be. Not only did the Hotel Carter earn this dubious distinction last year, but as TripAdvisor puts it, the Carter has "sullied" its list of the ten dirtiest hotels for four consecutive years, topping it three times.
But while there's plenty to say about this unfathomably filthy hotel (including the obvious question: How on earth is it still in business?!), I'm more concerned with the practical questions posed by dirty hotels like the Carter. Certainly most of us have had an unpleasant hotel experience or two in our years of traveling, and as budget travelers, we're likely destined for a few more. Why? Because budget travelers will almost always have to sacrifice something (let's say hygiene) to get what they want (let's say location—after all the Carter is located within spitting distance from Times Square) at an affordable price.
So what's a budget traveler to do? Well, TripAdvisor didn't rise to popularity because people like the owl mascot. Doing research ahead of time can spare you untold nightmares down the road. Many people reviewing the Carter say they wish they'd consulted reviews prior to booking. In whatever way you choose, check out the hotel beforehand!
Another idea to consider is whether that great location is worthwhile. Sometimes it pays to stay outside of a city instead of right smack downtown, not just because a room in the 'burbs may be cheaper, but because your money will likely buy more. Our own Ed Perkins explains that while non-city hotels aren't always a big financial win, "Suburban hotels tend to be more modern and have larger rooms than those in city centers. There's no question that your dollars (or euros, pounds, whatever) usually go a lot further outside the center of many big cities." Bottom line: It's a good option to have on the table.
But try as we might, it's inevitable that someday we'll each end up in the Hotel that Time Forgot. What then? For answers to that question, I turn to you. What tips can you provide for dealing with a dirty hotel? Do you call down to the front desk? Bring slippers and your own set of sheets? Check out as soon as the first bug rears its ugly, antennaed little head? Leave a comment below with your tips, and any thoughts you may have on the pitfalls of budget travel. And please, let's keep it clean and useful, folks. We already have plenty of horror stories, and we've barely recovered from those!