At the moment, I am juggling a project at work going on between Edinburgh, Scotland, and Paris, France. This past weekend I had the pleasure of spending my time in the heart of the left bank of Paris, staying in an American chain hotel. Being familiar with the area, I knew that I should downsize my luggage to accommodate the typical small size rooms found in the older buildings there. My fellow Americans staying in the same hotel, however, were not as prepared.
“This is ridiculous and not at all what I expected,” said an American woman squeezed into the 3-foot by 2-foot-sized elevator with me. She went on to exclaim in an annoyed tone that this place came highly recommended by a friend but was just too small for words. A day later, I had to fold myself into the same elevator with another young American woman, and her huge suitcase. She also made negative comments about the tiny footprint of the hotel and the mini elevator.
The fact is that many downtown city hotels around the world have to operate within limited space. This is especially true in older or even ancient cities where quaint historical buildings have been turned into hotels. Those travelers who prescribe to the “bigger is better” mentality are often shocked when they arrive and are faced with such limited space.
To avoid these disappointments, my best advice to all travelers is to use a website like TripAdvisor.com prior to booking your accommodations to see reviews made by those from the country or region you are from. I often find that non-Americans who leave hotel reviews won’t typically complain about the small size of the rooms, while most Americans will. If the ladies I ran into had read the reviews about our hotel, they would have been fully informed about the lovely yet petite-sized rooms.
As a general rule, I also highly recommend that when traveling to European cities it is better to downsize and under pack. Use your smallest suitcase instead of dragging around your super sized luggage. It is a fact that in the majority of cases, the elevators will only allow one person and a mid-size bag to go up at a time. As a prepared traveler, I brought my 25-inch suitcase, nicknamed “Junior,” on this trip. It worked out perfectly and allowed me enough room to bring all my essentials and maneuver the tiny hallways and elevators with ease.
As always, I wish you all the happiest of travels!