If you\’ve decided you will be more comfortable on your holiday with hotel reservations in hand but also need budget travel, then you\’re going to have some decisions to make. How are you going to get those reservations? Let\’s look at the options.

You could use a travel agent. If you\’re planning a trip to an exotic location, this might be your best bet. Travel agents know the hotels and lodging in the areas of their expertise, and they can give you good guidance and advice for budget travel.

You could use one of the big Internet booking agencies. Those can help you get pretty good deals. It\’s worthwhile to check two or three of them to see how they rate different hotels, so you\’ll get what you want. Whenever you\’re looking at hotels and bed-and-breakfasts on the Internet, remember, any place can look good with some creative photography.

We recommend avoiding the companies that don\’t tell you the name of the hotel until after you make your reservation. Also remember that when hotels are tied to booking agencies, they lose a cut to that agency. You might be just as well off booking directly with the hotel.

It pays to find a good budget travel guide. If you like their philosophy, you will probably like the hotels they recommend. You can call the hotel directly. Chances are you will be able to talk to someone who speaks English. You can contact almost all of them over the Internet these days, either by e-mail or by contacting them through their own web site.

Although budget travel tips are on top of the agenda, you need to take so many other points into consideration to avoid a disappointing vacation, so make a note of the following guidelines…

If you e-mail the hotel directly, tell them the number of rooms you want and how many people per room. They will need to know the date of your arrival and the date of your departure… so the number of nights you will be staying.

Remember that in most places in the world, dates are written with the day/month/year, not with the month/day/year as it is in the U.S. To avoid confusion on any continent, we write the month out rather than using numbers.

Once you hear back from them, if they have a room at the price you want, accept the reservation. You may have to send your credit card number. We\’re reluctant to send our credit card number in e-mail. You can call and give them your credit card number.

If you have used the hotel\’s own site to contact them, make sure it is a secure site before you send your credit card number to them that way.

Be sure to read the hotel cancellation policies carefully before you make a reservation.

If you make hotel reservations with one of the big travel booking sites or with the hotel itself, beware of non-refundable reservations.

When you make your hotel reservations, you will receive a confirmation by e-mail. Print it, and take it with you. Don\’t delete the original e-mail until you have completed your trip, and you know you have been billed correctly.

If your travel dates are firm, you\’ll find that to get into the most popular and best value hotels, it\’s worthwhile to make those hotel reservations ahead.