There are as many types of accommodations as there are types of travelers... there really IS something for everyone.
The types of accommodations you stay in on your trip can make just as big a difference as the itinerary… so this is something you should think about as you make your travel plans…
Ask yourself these questions...
What do you want or need in the way of a room?
Your choices can go from from having a reservation in a big hotel to just finding a room in a local village as you travel.
What makes you comfortable when you travel?
Do you want lots of luxury, a big room, and a concierge to get you tickets to the latest play?
...Or... Are you an adventurous traveler who carries a backpack and wants to find an inexpensive local place?
…Or… Are you like us, and fall somewhere in-between?
Whichever way you go, make up your mind that it's not going to be just like home. (If you want that... you might as well STAY home.)
Through the years we've tried many of these types of accommodations depending on our destination. Let's look at your options.
You can stay in five star hotels, big name brand hotels, or big hotels that are famous in the city you are visiting.
Some of these are not as expensive as you might think... and if you are on a long trip and the traveling is a challenge.... that name brand hotel might just give you a night to really recover a bit... that happened for us in Jordan... we just couldn't resist the Intercontinental after spending a night in a tent in the desert.
Check carefully, though. Most five star hotels would break our budget. It seems like they try to outdo each other these days with all the amenities and fluff. But if that's what you like... go for it!
You can find luxury spas where they will pamper you or help you lose weight or get you exercising.
You can find resorts of all kinds... like beach resorts, ski resorts, or golf resorts.
You can stay at a dude ranch and ride horses and play cowboy.
If you're traveling to wildlife areas there are safari lodges or jungle lodges and tented camps.
These may range from bungalows to tented camps.
We LOVE safari lodges and tented camps!
Look at the cost for any of these... Some of these are high end... some
are affordable. It just amazes me how upscale some safari camps have
gone. I mean... don't you go to see the ANIMALS? OK... I'm over that
The tour that we joined for the first week of a South Africa trip took us to all the little countries that we wanted to see, but we camped in Kruger National Park, and we stayed in a "backpackers hostel" in Maputo.
We had an ensuite room in that hostel, but not all were...
It served our purpose on that trip, but it might not do for everyone.
When you're trying to decide on the types of accommodations that will serve you best, you can take a look at some of them on the internet.
Just remember, they will post pictures to make themselves look good. A wide angle shot may make that room look bigger than it really is.
When we were looking at places to stay near Durban South Africa recently, lots of the little B&Bs and small hotels looked good, but there was no restaurant nearby or they were hard to get to...
Those are all things you have to try to find out before you book.
We decided to wait until we got there, and we found that our concerns were well founded.
ended up in a nice local hotel in Umhlanga Rocks. Yes, it was sort of
big, but it was a local chain, and it was perfect at the time for
getting over jet lag.
you are going on a tour, look at the types of accommodations they use
as well as the itinerary. If that tour looks like it's a bargain price,
maybe it's because you'll be staying in cheap hotels that you'd rather
not put up with.
If you are the really friendly sort, there are organizations that can hook you up with private individuals to stay with. CouchSurfing will find you a sofa to crash on for free. For a membership fee and a small gratuity per night, The Affordable Travel Club will let you find people with a spare room to stay in. Both options are for short stays.
If you plan to stay in one place for a longer time... or if you want to "feel like a local"... You can rent an apartment or house. Several sites advertise these.
could consider a home exchange... that is cheaper than renting, but you
have to trust strangers in your home while you stay in theirs. There
are several website that can help you with that too.
If you are an independent traveler, decide if you want to book your hotels in advance or find them while you are on the road. We're comfortable finding rooms as we go... not everyone is. (We have friends we travel with that can't stand not knowing where they're going to sleep for the night.)
You may be able to book on the internet, but if all the websites you check say there are no rooms available, and there is a hotel you really want to stay in, consider calling the hotel direct. We have done that and come up with just the hotel we wanted.
When we went to Iguazu Falls, we decided we really wanted to stay at the Sheraton Hotel in Argentina at Iguazu Falls.
Every site we checked said there were no rooms… including the Sheraton site itself!
We called the hotel directly and got a room with a view at a great rate. It turned out not even to be that much a splurge… but it sure made our visit wonderful!
Often, cute little places are not on the internet, or you won't easily find them. If you can deal with finding a place to sleep as you go along, these can be real little jewels.
Some trips will call for certain types of accommodations... like a city hotel or a jungle lodge. Other times it's up to you to decide what kind of accommodations you want. If you think about what you want and need while you are planning your trip, then finding that room will be easier.