Monday, July 11, 2011

How to choose your hotel, hostel, camping site, or park to sleep in....

Stayed at a great clean hotel (very small room that I spent no time in anyway) in Amsterdam close to everything for only $70USD/night, free internet included.
Ok time to book your place to stay!  Lets lay down some basics first:

The hotel is a place to sleep in.During my travels I've slept everywhere from parks, to airports, to camping, to $7 hostels, to up to $400 a night hotels. And guess what, of all my trips, the hotel has never been the most memorable or most important part of the trip. I've had some great times in hotels, but that didn't have anything to do with the hotel, it had a lot to do with who I was there with, and that's none of your business! ;-)

Don't save money by staying in a bad location.Location, location, location. You can stay at a hotel in London for £300 three blocks from Buckingham palace, OR if you are the well minded budget traveler you can stay at a hotel in London three blocks from Buckingham palace for £80 a night. Do not sacrifice location for price, we're cheap but not broke. Plus it will cost more in the long run on taxi's, lost time, and getting mugged. Location is key, don't worry if the hotel has a concierge or whatever, if you did your research you won't need one.

What amenities do you like? And what amenities do you need?If I spent the last 7 days backpacking in New Zealand and am getting ready for a 12 hour flight home, I need a nice room by myself with my own shower and bathroom, I don't need a 4 star restaurant attached to it. I like a pool, I like a gym to work out. But ultimately if it costs too much, push ups on the floor, crunches, and go for a run around the neighborhood, we'll save workout stuff for my other blog. Don't spend extra money because the hotel has a massage spa salon that you are not going to use, or waste money on that could be spent doing something you can't do at home. Do you need a kitchen, or fridge? Or will you be eating out mostly?

Read reviews, but sometimes, a bad review is just what we are looking for!Hotel reviews are super important in booking, better to hear from guests that have actually stayed there! I always love trip advisor, but check wherever you can. I wouldn't worry about someone complaining about a dirty blanket or messy whatever, until you're in the next income bracket, location is key, we stay where we can afford to stay. Now someone saying the hotel is not close to anything, I would not book there unless you are trying to get away from people. Lastly, a bad review is usually a good place to find the party spots! Hotel was too noisy, too close to bars, loud guests.... When I'm traveling solo, that's the hotel or hostel I want to be in!

Stayed in a really small room in the heart of Sydney, but guess what? I came to Australia to see this, not a hotel room!

You don't have to stay in the same place the whole time.

This actually started when I was moving to Arizona, I wanted to see as much of the city in a short time so I'd stay one place for 2 nights, then in another for 2 nights. Often when I travel, and especially if you are traveling with a significant other, at some point you may want a really nice room, instead of staying there all week, stay in the tiny room a few nights, and the nice room towards the end. It will be easy to switch hotels if you packed your bag like we talk about here ;-)

Think outside the box... 

Where can you stay besides a hotel/hostel? If you are renting a boat, sleeping on it is highly recommended, did this in Alaska!

How about renting an apartment? Me and my buddy got this huge place in Cartagena in the walled city for pennies compared to a hotel, and we didn't have to deal with the boredom of hotel staff, plus it's definitely more immersible, check out respectable apartment sublets online, or vacation rentals by owner, most times apartments are cheaper or the same price as hotels, but you get much more space!

Make friends! Don't sleep with someone you meet the first night (wow that sounded funny), but I've stayed with fellow travelers that I met on one trip and we kept touch, developed friendships, and then I visited them in their country, don't be a total cheap skate, bring something from your country for them and buy them dinner.

Most of my time in Africa was spent camping.

Consider camping depending on where you are, DO NOT CAMP IN METRO CITIES, this is not camping, it is loitering. But if you are going somewhere camping may be cool, do your research and go for it!

Not recommended! But me and my buddies have slept in the airport, in the park, and uhhh... in the bar.... long story. Choose the park with the least amount of gang violence, and tie your bag to your leg. Hope this helps!!!

Choose the continent!!!!


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