When you’re on the road in a location you aren’t familiar with, choosing a hotel can be difficult. You are unaware of a myriad of details that could lead you to picking just a good or a great location to stay. How do you know which ones are safe and which ones are bug-infested rats nests? Knowing where to get the details and how to interpret them can be a science. Here are a few tips for finding the perfect hotel while away from home.

Consider How Long You’re Staying

The duration of your stay should be high on the list of things that go into your decision. If you’re just passing through, a lower-end hotel is perfectly acceptable. You can handle one night on a less than comfortable pillow. However, if you’re going to be there for an extended period of time, you’ll want to find a safer, more affordable hotel.

Ask for Recommendations

If you have a contact within the city you’re visiting, ask them for recommendations for a hotel. Avoid asking people on the street; many hotels in foreign countries will give kickbacks to people who recommend tourists stay there. If you want a truly unbiased source, check with someone you trust.

Look at the Location

You’d ideally want to find a hotel that’s in a central location to the rest of the city. However, keep an eye on your surroundings. Are there a lot of people, or does the area seem deserted? Is it well-lit? If your place is robbed during your stay you may consider getting a lawyer as it might be to hotel’s fault. Issues including inadequate maintenance can be preventable by quality operated hotels. Knowing whether the area you’re in is safe or not can help you decide whether to book the hotel or not.

Consider Family-run Hotels

Rather than going for a major chain with all of the luxuries, look for a smaller, family-run hotel. These are similar to bed and breakfasts. While they may not have all of the amenities you’ve come to expect at a hotel, they can provide a comfortable bed and a safe place to sleep for the night. Isn’t that really all you need?

Avoid Party Hotels

If you’re trying to find a safe place to stay, avoid hotels (or hostels) that are home to a lot of parties. These places are difficult to get any rest in, and the number of drunken shenanigans can get tiring quickly. These hotels are obvious at first glance, usually because they cater specifically to the tourist crowd. If you look for a locally-run hotel that serves business travelers within that country, you can find cheaper deals.

Follow these five tips to save money and get a good night’s sleep. Best of all, most of these are applicable whether you’re within the US or abroad.