The Accommodation Conundrum
If all inclusive vacations are your thing then there is definitely no shortage of wonderful resorts in a wide array of price ranges for you to choose from.
As a side street traveler on a budget, I tend to stay in Condohotels, Haciendas, and other such small rental units. There’s no shortage of websites to find these rentals on; Airbnb, VRBO, Trivago, Andale and Tripadvisor to mention a few, with literally thousands of listings available its best to come up with a criteria. There are always places that will do just fine if you’re open minded.
I use these key points when making my temporary housing decisions.
#1 Budget & Due Diligence
No brainer right? Not exactly. I stay away from the top end of my budget because it’s better to have some cash in hand in case of extras. I have found that there is usually tons of additional fees you can and will be charged, everything from vacation tax and utilities to room services and damages. Your smartphone can help!
Talk to your contact, ask what the additional charges are for your accommodation. They will tell you straight up what the additional charges may be to avoid a bad review. Your contact lives for positive reviews, That’s what keeps people coming to their accommodations.
Usually, there are reviews online, for me if there are no reviews or there are not many positive ones, I normally avoid the place. Always check the reviews out. The few minutes spent here can save you a bunch of heartache and pain later on.
Upon arriving, document everything while you video it with your phone. If there are problems make sure you take it up with your contact asap so they know the damages and shortcomings weren’t a result of you.
Whether you’ve done the damages or the previous renter. It’s important to know what you will be paying for before you sign on the dotted line. This can make or break your budget quickly.
No matter what your budget is finding that perfect place can be easy with a little pre-thought and due diligence.
#2 Location, location, Location.
If you’re familiar with the area, choosing where to stay is always much easier. If not, googleversity is only a click away. Find out from others that have been in these locations recently how their stay was and what recommendations they can make.
If your plan is to party balls then it only makes sense to stay near the nightlife hotspots, however, that usually means higher costs for everything, more people, more traffic and constant noise outside at almost all hours of the day and night.
If you’re just looking to unwind, find some peace and relaxation then perhaps staying on the main strip may not be the best place for you. Try searching less inhabited or commercialized areas, There is always cute little boutique hotels scattered around the outskirts of any touristy place.
Ultimately you know yourself best and with a little online research, you can easily find what suits your style and needs.
#3 Convenience- Is it close to your amenities and areas you’re exploring.
What do you plan to do and where? You may save a bit of money by staying off the beaten trail but don’t forget to take into account your commuting costs and your time. Is saving some dough on accommodations worth it if you’re spending your savings on commuting? Nothing is more valuable than your time when it is limited. It will not be much of a vacation when all your time is spent rushing around and commuting.
Do you want to remember the 2 days of buses and taxis you used during your week vacation to get to and from your destinations? What if you need supplies or things you forgot to bring with you like toothbrushes, charging cables, diapers etc. Finding accommodations with lots of amenities and in close proximity to local shopping is important, especially if you brought the family.
#4 Personal standards-what can you live with or without.
What do you require of your lodging, I personally require very little when traveling. I try to spend very little time in my accommodations and spend my hard earned money and time on adventures.
Solid internet, a good comfy bed, clean/bug free living conditions and a secure place to leave my belongings tops my list of must haves. Everything else over that I consider a bonus or a blessing.
#5 Safety- Do you feel you and your personal belongings are safe
If I don’t feel safe, I don’t get to relax, which kinda ruins my trip.
Know your comfort levels when it comes to safety! I have stayed in some sketchy places in my lifetime without any problems. Sometimes all it takes to feel safe is traveling with others, this is my preferred way of travel. Sometimes that doesn’t help either.
Being kind and polite to everyone helps you meet new people, making friends helps you feel you’re not alone and that you’re in safe surroundings. I’m all for stepping outside my comfort zones and overcoming my fears, however, if I don’t feel safe or think my belongings will go missing I usually opt for a better lodging.