Tips for Arranging the Perfect Bed and Breakfast Stay

Nowadays, when planning a weekend getaway, you have lots of choices. If it's your first time at a Bed and Breakfast, the following simple tips will help you have a smooth, relaxing stay.

Plan in Advance

The best time to book is 45 days ahead of your stay. But, if you want your first choice of room or are planning a special occasion, however, you may want to book even further out. Planning your stay around Christmas, July Fourth, or another big holiday? Book as early as possible: Peak season means rooms fill up fast.

Is the Price Worth It?

Does the B&B offer any extra goodies for guests during their stay? Besides a yummy breakfast and a lovely bed with beautiful linens, common complimentary amenities include wine-and-cheese happy hours, warm cookies, bicycle rentals, beach umbrellas and more. What is the value of those amenities to you - it's great that they supply bicycles, but if you don't know how to ride a bike it's not that valuable. Find a property that has something special just for you.

Consider Cancellation Policies

Cancellation and modification policies vary from inn to inn, so before you grab your credit card you should always consider the costs associated with cancellation. If inclement weather or ill health is a concern, check out travel insurance. However, just like cancellation policies, insurance rates and coverage vary widely, so you’ll want to read the fine print and calculate if the costs are truly worth it.

Location, Location, Location

The appeal of many bed and breakfasts lies in their locations: many are out in the country, among rolling hills or wooded trails, or nestled in residential areas free from crowds. While all that peace and quiet may sound perfect, you’ll want to consider the costs—and time—associated with driving to and from your accommodations and the area’s sights, restaurants, bars, museums, and so on. A far-out inn hours from the nearest cafe or drugstore could be quite a hassle. (And don’t forget to ask about parking!)

Are Kiddies Welcome?

Family friendly inns aren't that great if you're trying to get away from the kids. Some B&Bs prefer to maintain an intimate, relaxing atmosphere for guests and so restrict children under a certain age from staying on-site. Others have certain rooms or buildings reserved for families, while some public spaces, such as pools or bars or restaurants, may be off-limits to kids. You’ll want to read a prospective inn’s policy regarding children before booking. Even if kids are allowed, you should ask about child-friendly amenities and activities anyhow—some inns come with game rooms, sporting equipment, and even kids’ cooking or art classes to entertain.

Cat Lover

Of the many quirks we love about B&Bs, innkeepers’ furry friends may be our favorites. Resident cats and dogs aren’t unusual, especially when the B&B is the owner’s full-time home. However, allergy-prone travelers will want to inquire about pets, and almost every inn notes their on-site animals on their policies page.

What About Your Meals?

Not every bed and breakfast serves up a communal morning meal. As traveling has become more relaxed, many innkeepers have begun to offer breakfast on the go, with freshly baked pastries and coffee ready for pick-up. Others serve up in-room breakfasts (a cozy, romantic treat for honeymoons or anniversaries). And some even offer communal kitchens where you can prep your own breakfast, lunch and dinner at the hour of your choosing.

Check Reception Hours

Arriving very early? Want to leave late? Remember to check reception hours before you plan your arrival and departure. Some B&Bs offer 24-hour reception or have staff on-site to assist with check-in and checkout. However, not every inn offers this service. Coordinate your arrival and departure times with your innkeeper well in advance. If you’re running late due to traffic or a delayed flight, contact your host promptly so they can adjust their schedules if needed.

Food Allergies?

Inarguably the best part of the B&B experience is the careful attention paid and personalized touches applied by our favorite innkeepers. Need ground-level access? No problem. Vegetarian? No worries. A mini-fridge for medications? A gluten-free muffin option? Recommendation for an opthamologist in town? All doable! So before your stay, let your hosts know of any dietary restrictions, medical concerns, or special requests (within reason). Rare is the innkeeper who can’t accommodate.

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