NEW BLOG POST!
Now that you have some ideas about the various ways to travel to your destination via assistance from various airline/flight hacks, let’s explore the multitude of ways to secure affordable accommodations.
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to not to be tied in to staying in one type of accommodation. Here are a few:
- Airbnb, HomeAway,VRBO — as part of the “sharing” economy, these three peer-to-peer online home stay networks are wonderful ways to experience a destination as if you are at home. They come in the form of private homes, condos and apartments — fully furnished! I have used both VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) and Airbnb in cities like New York City, San Francisco and Boston). They are even available for international destinations. I plan to rent one the next time I travel to Paris or London. To secure, you merely have to check availablity, place a deposit for the dates you desire, and look forward to your adventure. I find that I prefer these arrangements over hotels, not so much because I dislike hotels, but because I get to cook my own meals in a fully stocked kitchen, launder my clothing and relax in a homey environment. They are equipped with towels, pots/pans, wifi, and modern appliances. There are a variety of price ranges depending on the pricing assigned by the owner. I’ve stayed in high end ones, and I’ve stayed in ones that were more economical — all were class acts. Payments are made online. Please visit each entity’s website for more information. Below are pics from an Airbnb in New York City.
- Hostels — this arrangement is often more economical; here guests can rent a bed (dormitory style), share bathrooms, and there are usually common area lounges and kitchens. Unlike hotels, hostel rates are incredibly lower than hotels, and in many you can find book and music sharing programs. It’s very communal, and opportunities to meet, socialize and hang out with other hostelers is very prominent. If you are one for privacy, you won’t find it in a hostel. EVERTHING IS NOT FOR EVERBODY. I’ve done it once, and although I have met and maintained relationships with some great people from Malta, Sweden, Canada and England while staying at a hostel in Paris, I probably won’t do it again — only because I am past dormitory style living. However, if you are on a tight budget and don’t mind communal living and interaction, this arrangement is a viable one. Additionally, there are systems in place for securing valuable items. Many even provide airport shuttle services, along with internet lounges and a means for booking city tours. Despite the age old stereotype that hostels are best suited for students, and nomadic types, there are high end hostels and ones that offer private rooms (albeit at an additional cost). Be sure to check out Hostelworld.com Below are pics of a hostel in Bangkok, Thailand.
- Couchsurfing — I must admit that I have not experienced this one first hand. Every time I vow to try it, I chicken out! I can’t seem to muster up the courage to sleep on a total stranger’s couch. However, a couple of friends have couched surfed, and they found it safe and convivial. Although a guest could conceivably stay on a host’s couch, private rooms in homes are often provided. One of the most attractive features of Couchsurfing is that it is free; there is an annual membership fee, however. If you have a skill or talent or other interests, these can be shared, also, with your host.
If you still prefer staying in a traditional hotel, I strongly suggest that you make arrangements through booking.com, a great site! Whenever I have used this site, I have had pleasurable results. For example, for an overnight layover in Dublin, Ireland, I booked a room through this website, and I landed a beautiful room in The Clayton Hotel (really luxurious) for a mere $79.00. When I arrived — super exhausted, I might add, the hotel agent kindly informed me that the Clayton was providing me with an upgrade to a suite. When I asked him how much it would cost, he gently replied “courtesy of us.” Needless to say, I’m going back to Dublin soon, AND I’M STAYING AT THE CLAYTON!
CHECKOUT THESE WEBSITES:
airbnb.com, couchsurfing.org, hostelworld.com, homeaway.com, vrbo.com
NOTE: Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series where I will talk about tips for “Traveling Comfortably.”