I’ve been in that cycle of funk that results in nothing too much new to say and you know what, so be it. I’ve been too consumed with travel planning and stalking airfares like a predator its prey, being disappointed every time I check and the prices have soared. I guess have a number in my mind that I don’t want to go above… does anyone else do this? Worse, I compare current prices 2 months from our date of departure to those I found back in January when just looking for fun. All this to say I’m frustrated and constantly jumping back and forth between totally different trips because I can’t make up my damn mind. Goodness.
One thing I do know though is I’ve got a pipeline of accommodations ready to go as soon as we secure that flight.
What is your accommodation style? Do you splurge yourself silly or are you happy as a dorm rat because it means you can stay in a cool city longer?
For us, the B&B/hostel gets us every time. As a solo traveler I started out with dorms then moved up to private rooms with shared bathrooms. Now that we’re both working and have a little money to travel together, we splurge on our own bathroom but stay in places with lots of character and the basics in the way of accommodations.
This is the next best thing to having a friend you can stay with at your destination. When searching for a B&B/hostel and checking my favorite site, I’m always sure to pay particular attention to reviewers’ impressions of the host and staff. For me, this is the reason I’m staying there…that and the breakfast but we’ll get to that in a minute. A kind host or hostess can make the trip…Turap and Yusuf in Istanbul or the lovely Virginia in San Sebastian…each so warm and inviting, making you feel right at home and never want to leave. Not to mention providing amazing directions or complimentary museum tickets when they could.
Another plus is the people! The other guests, like you, are usually (not always, unfortunately) eager to share travel stories or make arrangements to meet up outside of the hotel. It’s a much different vibe than a traditional hotel as the pool of people is so diverse- teenagers studying abroad to families of three to retired couples…all living it up and seeing the world.
I prioritize a B&B with a killer breakfast. We’ve been spoiled with places that serve us the most incredible meals included in a very reasonable price. Some might say this takes away from the experience of heading over to the cafe around the corner to make like the locals and quickly down an espresso and be on with your day. But for me, the big breakfast spread of the best local foods and unlimited coffee (which you won’t find anywhere in Europe, well perhaps Starbucks…) and the opportunity it creates to allow you to meet the rest of the guests…well, it’s priceless if you ask me.
The simple accommodations prove very wonderful depending on how you travel. Many B&Bs (again, not all) offer full kitchens, a library of guidebooks (so don’t pack that giant Fodor’s!), welcoming common areas, and sometimes even and outdoor space to spend some time. Not to mention for those who drive, there are lots of places that offer free parking.
I’d be foolish and not all that honest if I didn’t mention a few of the cons to spending your precious vacation time this way. For one there’s the noise that’s common in these old homes. The historic nature of these places also means the cleanest places show a little wear and sometimes, don’t have a “lift”. And just as people are a strong suit they’re also problematic when they’re disruptive or have different schedules than you (the 75 year old living in the 25 year old’s body).
So what do you think? Are you a B&B fan like us or do you prefer the anonymity of a hotel or convenience of an apartment?
Have a wonderful weekend!