LETS TALK ACCOMMODATIONS
Let's talk about accommodations.
Transportation (airfare, car rental, train, bus, etc)
Food & Drink
Usually when planning a trip you plan your transportation first. Once you know how you will get there then you need to know where you will stay. With the wonderful internet today you have several options. Let's look at each of the most common options:
- Hotel or Motel: A hotel provides paid lodging to tourists and may also provide a number of other services or amenities, such as a restaurant, swimming pool, and/or spa. Many hotels are also arranged to hold conferences and meetings, thus making them useful locations for business meetups. A rating system of one to five stars exists as a means to compare the quality of hotels and their amenities.
- Bed and Breakfast: A bed and breakfast (typically shortened to B&B) is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and breakfast. Bed and breakfasts are often private family homes and typically have between four and eleven rooms, with six being the average.
- Guest House: A guest house (also guesthouse) In some parts of the world a guest house is similar to a hostel, bed and breakfast, or inn where in other parts of the world (such as for example the Caribbean), guest houses are a type of inexpensive hotel-like lodging. In still others, it is a private home which has been converted for the exclusive use of guest accommodation. The owner usually lives in an entirely separate area within the property and the guest house may serve as a form of lodging business.
- Self Catering: Self Catering accommodations are usually cottages, apartments, or units containing a kitchen that allow you to self cater. They do not serve a breakfast however some self-catering options do have a restaurant on the premises.
- Hostel: Hostêls provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, and private rooms may also be available. In a few countries, such as the UK, Ireland, India and Australia, the word hostel sometimes also refers to establishments providing longer-term accommodation. In India, Pakistan and South Africa, hostel also refers to boarding schools or student dormitories in resident colleges and universities. In other parts of the world, the word hostel mainly refers to properties offering shared accommodation to travellers or backpackers. Within the "traveller" category, another distinction can be drawn between hostels that are members of Hostelling International (HI), a UK-based, non-profit organisation encouraging outdoor activities and cultural exchange for the young (formerly the IYHA), and independently operated hostels. Backpackers' Hostels began in Australia and New Zealand and differ from Hostels by being open during the day time, (often abbreviated to just "backpackers").
- Apartment or House Rental: A vacation rental is the renting out of a furnished apartment, house, or professionally managed resort-condominium complex on a temporary basis to tourists as an alternative to a hotel. The term vacation rental is mainly used in the US. In Europe the term villa rental or villa holiday is preferred for rentals of detached houses in warm climates. Other terms used are self-catering rentals, holiday homes, holiday lets (in the United Kingdom), cottage holidays (for rentals of smaller accommodation in rural locations) and gites (in rural locations in France).
- Private Room Rental: Private room rental is very similar to an apartment or house rental except you are only getting one room in the house. The room may come with a private or shared bathroom. Be sure you know what you are getting. Airbnb offers both entire property and private room. You can filter depending on your needed. Private rooms are less expensive.
- Overnight Trains: Overnight trains offer both private and shared cars. The private cars are the cheaper option. It is best to book these trains ahead of time because they do sell out. Going to sleep and waking up at your destination is a great way to travel.
- Timeshare: A timeshare (sometimes called vacation ownership) is a property with a particular form of ownership or use rights. These properties are typically resort condominium units, in which multiple parties hold rights to use the property, and each sharer is allotted a period of time (typically one week and almost always the same time every year) in which they may use the property. Units may be on a partial ownership, lease, or "right to use" basis, in which the sharer holds no claim to ownership of the property.
- Resort / All Inclusive: A resort is a self-contained commercial establishment that endeavors to provide most of a vacationer's wants, such as food, drink, lodging, sports, entertainment, and shopping, on the premises. An All Inclusive resort includes all food and drink in the cost of the room. The are extremely popular in the Caribbean.
When choosing an accommodation type understand your needs. We love to feel less like tourists and more like locals so we usually try to stay in apartments or homes. When in Ireland we prefer a Bed and Breakfast. When in Venice we always book apartments through www.veniceapartment.com. Outside of Venice we use www.airbnb.com and www.booking.com. Most properties on airbnb require payment up front. Whereas most properties on booking.com require no payment up front and allow you to cancel anytime up until 72 hours before your arrival. Airbnb is best for apartments or private rooms. NOTE: Look at the property type. If you choose a private room on Airbnb you might be sharing a living space and bathroom with the host. This is usually the cheapest option.
- Home Exchange: Home exchange, also known as house swapping, is a type of hospitality service in which two parties agree to offer each other homestays (lodging in each other's homes) for a set period of time. Since no monetary exchange takes place, it is a form of barter, collaborative consumption, and sharing. Home exchange can cover any type of dwelling including apartments, houses, holiday cottages, boats, or recreational vehicles. It can include an exchange of the entire home or just a room. The length of the swap can vary from a weekend to a year or more. The swap can be simultaneous or non simultaneous. Like all homestays, home exchanges offer several advantages over hotel lodging, including the opportunities to save money and experience everyday life in another country. www.homeexchange.com www.lovehomeswap.com
If you just want the best deal then use sites like www.tripadvisor.com , www.triago.com , or www.kayak.com. When booking for a large group use www.hotels.com .
We book ahead of time when possible so that we have less to stress about. If you are not sure where you will be use a website like www.hoteltonight.com for last minute savings. This is still a young website so they might not be everywhere.
Don't forget if and when you can - book direct with the hotel, B&B, etc. If you see a deal on a travel website then call the property and ask them to honor the price. Many times they are more than happy to accommodate. If you see sold out on a travel website - call the property anyway. They may have rooms available that they did not list with the travel websites.
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IMPORTANT: Always check the reviews. We check the reviews against TripAdvisor. We have found them to be right on target. If someplace has a rating below 7 - avoid it.
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Leave a review!!! This will help other travelers.