“You don’t have to be rich to travel well.” – Eugene Fodor
After you’ve decided where to go, the next question to answer is Where do I want to stay? There are now soooo many options for lodging while on vacation. In order to answer that question, let’s ask a few more:
- How many people will you be traveling with? (Notice that I just ended that sentence with a preposition, which is really bothering me) Anyway, will it be just you and your sweetie? Traveling with kids? A group of friends? Or, like us, will you be adventuring with your adult kids and their spouses?
- What are the ages of the people you are taking with you? Will you have all adults? Traveling with little ones? Teenagers?
The amount of people joining you is a big part of the equation when deciding where to stay. If it is just you and your sweetie, a hotel room or an efficiency would definitely be adequate in most situations. Throw in the fact that you get daily maid service and even free breakfast in a lot of places, and a hotel room looks pretty good. Also, hotels are usually pretty abundant in most places, especially where there are a lot of tourists around. (There I go again with the preposition at the end – arghh)
If you have several people in your group, and especially if you are footing the bill for most of them, it definitely pays to look for options other than hotel rooms. Ditto for traveling with little ones. You and the kiddos would probably be much happier with separate sleeping spaces. In fact, once my older kids reached teenagerhood (that’s a word, right?), all five of us found it very difficult to share one hotel room due to different sleep schedules, snoring, sleep talking, and the usual annoying teenager habits (and I am sure they would have said, parent habits)!
For our family vacations, we have now rented an entire home, flat, or condo seven different times. Six of those times I have used VRBO.com, which stands for Vacation Rentals by Owner. They have been around for a while (founded in 1995), and in America, they have a strong presence and lots of properties to choose from. They were acquired by HomeAway.com in 2006 and you can find some of the same properties on both sites. HomeAway also purchased VacationRentals.com, which is another option for finding whole home properties. On any of these sites, you can search out specific locations with or without specific dates and can review other people’s ratings of the properties. This is a big help in choosing which property to reserve. I always look for properties that have 5 star or close to 5 star reviews. Once you have a reservation with one of these companies, you can download the HomeAway app on your smart phone and have all the needed relevant details of your stay right on your phone. In fact, I just did that for our last trip and found it to be very helpful.
Another option is AirBnB.com. This website offers a variety of rental choices, from one bedroom to a whole house. Some people don’t like the idea of sharing a house with strangers. Other people love it. So, this can be an option if there is just one or two of you. And, as I said before, you can rent a whole apartment or house through this website, also. We used AirBnB when we traveled to Ireland in 2016. VRBO and HomeAway just had fewer choices for accommodations in Dublin (and throughout Ireland, really), and I was able to search through several properties and find a two bedroom condo in the perfect location for what we needed. One thing I really like about AirBnB, is that when you are searching through properties, all of the different amenities, like AC, wireless internet, washer and dryer, free parking, etc., are listed in the same area on each property’s page, so it is easy to quickly find out if a property has all of the amenities that you need.
When you decide to stay at a property that is a whole house or condo, you are able to save a lot of money on lodging. For example, on our recent trip to Utah, we had five people (we were hoping for seven, but two couldn’t make it), and the house we rented had four bedrooms, three and a half baths, and a huge kitchen and dining area, living room, and a huge basement with another living area, a ping-pong table, and a washer and dryer. And incredible views!
We paid around $275 per night, plus tax. Compare that to staying in a decent hotel (like a Hampton Inn) in the same general area, at the price of $279 for one room. You can see the savings can be amazing. And, although we ate out quite a bit during the week, we were able to cook a few meals, pack a few lunches, prepare almost every breakfast, and keep our food nice and cold in the refrigerator, thereby saving quite a bit more money on our eats! And the convenience of having our very own washer and dryer – wow! Have you tried to do your laundry in a hotel? Enough said.
If you decide to go the whole house or condo route, you should begin planning several months before your trip dates for the best selection. The early bird gets the worm, as “they” say. We reserved our May dates for our Utah destination in January, and if I remember right, about 40% of the homes had already been taken for those dates.
The last lodging option we will explore is the Bed and Breakfast. Now, this is an interesting choice. If you want to stay in a B&B in America, you are probably going to find yourself paying more for lodging per person than with just about any other choice, other than maybe a five-star hotel or a resort. B&Bs in America tend to be oriented mostly toward romantic couples. If you are traveling with kids, you may be able to find a room with an extra twin, but you will probably have to spring for an additional room at a high price. Don’t get me wrong, I love B&Bs, but they usually aren’t very suitable to bigger groups, especially if one person is paying the bill.
If there are just two of you, and the object is a romantic get-a-way, then by all means, book a B&B! A lot of them have a very nice, romantic ambiance, with stately bedrooms, quaint living areas, and very good breakfasts. It definitely pays to do your research before you book. Last August, my husband and I stayed in one in Savannah, Georgia, and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. We were passing through from Florida and wanted to explore the city. My only regret is that we only stayed one night. It was on the pricey side for us, but it was an amazing experience, right in the heart of downtown Savannah.
While we are at it, I have to mention Irish B&Bs. My husband, son, and I traveled to Ireland in 2016, and from all of my research on TripAdvisor and other places, I learned that in Ireland, B&Bs are the way to go. For some reason, the whole pricing thing is totally different in Ireland. It is much more economical to visit a B&B there than it is to stay at a hotel. It is also such a great experience to stay at a Bed & Breakfast while traveling around the Irish countryside. You get a much more realistic Irish experience. First of all, you get served amazing breakfasts every morning. I mean, eggs, sausages, beans, porridge, mushrooms, tomatoes, fruit, coffee, tea, juice, etc (not to mention the black or white pudding, which is a whole different story). Of course, each place has their own way of doing things, but our breakfasts were amazing every day! Also, your hosts have great insider tips for where to go and what to see. So, if you are ever traveling to Ireland, please check out the B&Bs!
In conclusion, picking a place to stay on your adventure depends on your own personal needs and expectations. There are, thankfully, a lot of options to choose from. There are many more options I haven’t covered – including national park lodges, tent camping, RVing, etc., but those aren’t really my specialty. If you are interested in one of those, I am sure you can find a lot of information about those on the web, too.
With a little bit of planning and research, you can have an amazing vacation and find a place that is perfect for you. I hope that what I have shared helps you on your next adventure. I have more info to dish out, so I’d love to have you visit again!
Until the next time – Happy traveling!