Hotels, Hostels, Or...
The most common option for travelers' accommodations is hotels.
But there are hostels and other options, so how do you know which
is best for you? You can start by understanding the advantages
and disadvantages of each possibility.
The "standard" option for most travelers, hotels
give you privacy and the usual amenities. They are not necessarily
expensive either, if you shop online before taking your trip.
Something as simple as using the coupons found in the discount
books available at gas stations and convenience stores along
the freeways can cut the cost in half at some places, or at least
save you $10 at or more at most.
Young travelers often love hostels. Others wouldn't ever stay
in one at any price. The basic idea is that you rent a bed instead
of a room, and you share common bathrooms and showers. People
from around the world will be there typically, and common television
viewing areas and kitchens make meeting them inevitable - a nice
advantage if you are a social person. Atmosphere and money-savings
is what make hostels so attractive to many.
However, if you're traveling with a partner, you'll pay for
two beds, so there may not be much savings versus a hotel room
for the two of you. Also, the idea of sharing a bathroom rules
out hostels for some travelers. There is a good compromise available
at many hostels: stay there for the atmosphere, but rent a private
room. Not all of them have this option, so call ahead.
In general, hostels are oriented towards young travelers and
anyone seeking a cheap place to stay. They also tend to be less
clean than hotels, and they are difficult to find in the United
States. You can check online to see if there is one where you'll
be heading. One site that works well for this (and has ratings
too) is Hostel World.
Read this Wikipedia
entry for more about the hostel concept.
Bed and Breakfast
This is a cleaner, more expensive version of a private room
in a hostel. Visitors you might share a breakfast with will generally
be wealthier, older, and perhaps less likely to be from other
countries (at least for B & Bs in the states). Also, depending
where you are, a room may cost more or less than a nice hotel
room in the same city. Bed
and breakfast reviews can be found online now, making it
easier to choose one.
Time Share Rentals
You may not have considered this one, but many owners of units
in time share resorts do not have the time to use them, and so
they rent them out. A rental of this sort can sometimes be a
cheaper way to get a great deal on a vacation suite, and there
are thousands of time share rentals all over the world.
It is common to pretend one is saving money by traveling in
an RV rather than staying at hotels, but few add up the cost
of gas, maintenance, and park fees. If you do that little bit
of math it will probably become clear that it's cheaper to stay
at the best hotels available, even if you don't take into account
the RV rental fee or cost of buying one of these vehicles. It's
a "style of travel" issue, meaning that if you like
camping, but not in a tent, and you like having your "home"
with you, this may work well for you, even if it isn't a money-saver.
It is nice to not carry suitcases to and from hotels, or to have
no tent to set up each night.
Camping is the cheapest option if done the right way. This
can be in a tent or in a van set up for the purpose, and there
are even free campgrounds around, like the ones we stayed at
in northern Florida. A free campground we spent a week at on
Lake Talquin even had hot showers.
Typically you'll be paying from $7 at a national forest campground
to $30 if you can only find an RV camp. Many of the best places
are not even campgrounds, but public lands you can camp on for
free. These include BLM land, national forests and state forests,
which are usually free without a permit for up to 14 days in
a given spot.
Plan a trip to places where friends live, and stay with them
for a while. There are also the more unusual options, like the
tree houses you can rent in Mexico, and caves that are open for
camping in Greece. Basic hotels and hostels are just a start
for the adventurous traveler.
10 Cheap Vacations