All Things Planning: Types of Accomodation
One of my favorite parts of trip planning is picking out where we’ll stay. However, with so many websites, options, and price points, it can seem overwhelming. Before I start looking at specifics, I first think about our potential itinerary and identify what sort of lodging we’ll need. Once I know which categories I’m looking for, the whole process becomes much less daunting and far more fun.
Hotel – When I describe a hotel, I’m thinking of the chain options that you can find most anywhere. While they may sometimes lack character or personality, the benefit of staying here is that you generally know what to expect, especially in terms of amenities. Depending on the brand and luxury level, it is also usually pretty simple to find one within a reasonable price range for the location. (Obviously downtown or more populated areas usually come with a higher price tag.) People tend to assume that, because we travel so much, we are either obsessed with chain hotels or eschew them completely. The truth is actually somewhere in the middle. Especially on a road trip or the night before a flight. I am happy to book an affordable nondescript hotel room if our only goal is a safe, clean place to sleep before continuing on the next day.
Boutique Hotel – I’m not sure when boutique hotels became a thing, but they now populate any compilation of accommodations. From what I can tell, they are better decorated (and more expensive) hotels that are generally owned by the same conglomerates that own hotel chains mentioned above. Which is not to say that the few times we’ve stayed at them I don’t feel like I’ve walked into a magazine spread. If you’re going to pay the extra money to stay here, make sure you’re getting a complimentary breakfast that’s as fancy as the decorative metal fixtures in the lobby.
Bed and Breakfasts – Although logically I know that B&Bs are not for everyone, my heart does not understand this line of thinking. What could possibly be better than an eclectic, but homey motif and a homemade breakfast served in the morning? In my mind, nothing. The only thing to keep in mind is that different places have varying levels of shared space, including bathrooms. However, I would trade a private bathroom for a B&B owner’s wealth of local knowledge any day. The only time I shy away from these is when we are only looking for that place to sleep. B&B keepers usually want to bond and potentially tell you their life story. I don’t have the heart to disregard recommendations or to rush chatting over breakfast, so, if we are going to be in a hurry, I avoid the B&B completely. Other than that, whenever B&Bs are an option, that’s where you’ll find us.
Hostel – Movies tend to paint hostels in a bad light, but that reputation is only partially earned. Like anything else, there are amazing hostels and there are terrifying ones. However, a hostel will most likely be your cheapest option, especially if it is an open room with rows of bunk beds. Some hostels do have private rooms, which could mean completely private or just fewer bunk beds in a room. Some also may require that you bring your own amenities, like towels or locks for your assigned cubby. Be clear on what they’re expecting you to bring, so you don’t get stuck having to rent or buy additional stuff.
AirBnB – Until this year, I have been decidedly against AirBnB. The established nature of B&Bs has always quelled my fears of staying in someone else’s home, while the seemingly more relaxed nature of postings on AirBnB has always freaked me out. However, the changing times have finally convinced me, and we have two bookings made for later this year, both of which are with Superhosts at highly rated locations. While I can’t yet speak to our actual stay, the booking process was simple and the prices are lower than the hotels in the area.