My wife and I love to travel cheap. From budget airlines to hotel deals to Groupon offers to planning out what to do when if it means saving money and booking months in advance. When we were planning our first trips together, we had no idea where to begin. As we didn’t have much, we always tried the cheapest option. While there are a lot of hotels that offer great deals from time to time, we soon realised that it just isn’t the best option.
Here are some troubles we faced back when we were booking hotels:
- Deceiving ads. Sure enough, no business would put itself out there in bad light on purpose. But, often enough, so many hotels show well-lit, nicely decorated rooms on their web presence only to be placed inside a dark and dank room.
- Proximity. If you ever find a cheap room on your favourite hotel search engines, most of the time it will be on the outskirts of the city, far from all the tourist spots you would want to visit. In some cities, this even means that you would have to pay a few pennies more for fare. Time, of course, is also an issue for you will be travelling a bit longer to get to where you want to go.
- Access to food. Eating out is nice but if you are staying in a strange city for about a week, having to eat all of your meals in restaurants for a couple of days can really take a toll on your wallet. Not being able to cook your own meals, as it is in most hotels if not all, can surely leave you broke at the end of your holiday if you are not careful.
- Culture. Staying at a hotel does not exactly make you feel like living in a particular city. Instead, you are trapped inside a room that most probably looks like any other hotel room in any given city. If you would rather feel like a local while you are in a strange place, then this will surely be an issue for you as well. And also, we just find it interesting to see what a typical home looks like in a particular place.
- WIFI. This one is rather important especially if you are in a foreign country trying to stay connected to the rest of the world. While most hotels are offering WIFI, not all of them are for free. Not to mention the poor signal many of them still have because of having to share it with the rest of the hotel visitors.
When we tried out our first Airbnb, it was a house in Amsterdam in a very nice neighbourhood within walking distance to the city center. We were a group of eight people and we all had our own beds and we paid about 250 € per night. Now, divide that by 8. It’s just so much cheaper than having to pay for a hotel room (given that hotels, especially in Amsterdam, are really pricey), not to mention we had a full kitchen, cable TV (which was important at that time because it was FIFA World Cup season), a decent WIFI connection, a rooftop terrace and just so much more. We had the whole place to ourselves because the family who lived there were out on a holiday. It is a really good deal if you are capable of respecting someone else’s home and cleaning up after yourself. We always make sure to recommend it to people who would rather be practical when travelling.
And, as I always say:
If you have to pay a fortune to travel, that’s your own fault.