budget accommodations http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8665/all en-US Live Like a Local: How to Tap Into the Local Scene While Traveling http://www.wisebread.com/live-like-a-local-how-to-tap-into-the-local-scene-while-traveling <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/live-like-a-local-how-to-tap-into-the-local-scene-while-traveling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3665844184_16a8720bd2_z.jpg" alt="traveler" title="traveler" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many travelers are on a quest of sorts to discover a destination by getting &ldquo;off the beaten path.&rdquo; Although I think <a href="http://www.vagabondish.com/travel-cliche-off-the-beaten-path/">the concept is a misnomer</a>, I also believe travel experiences vary dramatically depending on how we do our research and who we spend our time with on the road.</p> <p>Your next vacation doesn't need to be a duplicate experience of what's listed in a guidebook. Here are some ways to tap into the local scene while traveling and deepen your cultural experience. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards">6 Ways My&nbsp;Family Scores Free Travel&nbsp;With Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Living Like a Local: Finding Accommodations</h2> <p>Staying in hotels hardly incites a &ldquo;local&rdquo; experience. In order to feel like a local while you travel, it's best to live like a local. This usually means living in a local's home, or along side locals in a volunteer facility.</p> <p><strong>Volunteer/Work-Trade</strong></p> <p>Volunteering in trade for your accommodations can take many different forms. I've milked goats, painted murals, designed marketing plans, run hostels, cooked meals, taught conversational English, and more &mdash; all in trade for my accommodations (and sometimes meals too). Accommodations for these &ldquo;jobs&rdquo; ranged from staying in the home of a local who needed some extra help to staying in fully equipped multi-volunteer facilities. From rustic to luxury, these gigs run the gambit.</p> <p>Here are a couple of resources to help you choose the right volunteer gig:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less)!</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-accommodations-and-paid-jobs-on-boats">How to Get Free Accommodations (and Paid Jobs) on Boats</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Staying With Locals for Free</strong></p> <p>Hospitality exchange sites connect travelers with local hosts who are willing to open up their homes to guests. The informal term for this is &quot;couch surfing,&quot; coined by the namesake <a target="_blank" href="http://www.couchsurfing.org/">CouchSurfing website</a>. And it's about more than staying on somebody's couch; with forums and chapter meetings around the world, it can be a great way to meet locals who are also enthusiastic about travel and eager to exchange ideas and cultural values.</p> <p>But couch surfing is only one such site for finding opportunities to stay with locals for free. You'll find a whole <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">list of local accommodation options here</a>.</p> <p><strong>Staying in Local Accommodations</strong></p> <p>Similar to booking a hotel, you can use online services to book a local's apartment or house (or a spare room, tent space, and other incantations of accommodations). If you are sharing common space with the owner, there is usually ample opportunity to tap into their local knowledge as a bonus. For more information on rental services, check out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/got-extra-space-make-money-and-meet-travelers-with-short-term-rentals">Got Space? Make Money and Meet Travelers With Short-Term Rentals</a>.</p> <p>Or you can get a slice of local life by house-sitting or pet-sitting for a local, which entails varying degrees of responsibility in trade for free (or almost free) accommodations (check out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-for-landing-the-perfect-house-sitting-gig">10 Tips for Landing the Perfect House-Sitting Gig</a>). Would you like to house-sit, but also have somebody to take care of your home while you're away? Then a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-exchanges-free-accommodations-with-perks">home exchange</a> is a perfect route to free accommodation and peace of mind that your place is in good hands.</p> <h2>Meeting With Locals</h2> <p>How do you meet locals while you're traveling? With possible cultural or linguistic differences presenting challenges, you need to find people with whom you have common ground. Here are a few ways.</p> <p><strong>Special Interest Groups</strong></p> <p>Do you have a hobby or pastime? Look for local online forums and member groups at your destination to see if you can attend a meeting or event while you're there. Your shared interest immediately creates common ground to get to know people quickly and easily.</p> <p>Between Rotary clubs and rock-climbing crags (and everything in between), I've met quite a cross-section of locals in many places I've visited &mdash; and made friends I still keep in touch with.</p> <p><strong>HerMail</strong></p> <p>If you have a question or two that you'd like to get the local female take on (about anything from local customs to a good place to eat), female travelers can check out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hermailnet-connecting-female-travelers-and-mentors-around-the-world">HerMail</a>, which connects locals with travelers coming to the area. (Sorry &mdash; this is a girls-only club!) Although it starts with a question, you might end up meeting up or getting an informal tour or even a place to stay.</p> <p><strong>The Pub</strong></p> <p>I took an informal poll in writing this article, asking other travelers how they meet locals on the road. And the place to be is the pub! You'll find a broad mixture of people at any watering hole around the world (noting that it's good to be cognizant of the area and how safe it is), and a few pints of beer do wonders for developing camaraderie.</p> <h2>Being Guided by a Local</h2> <p>People are generally tired of sifting through guidebooks and being herded on whitewash tours when they travel. They want a &ldquo;local&rdquo; experience for minimal time, money, and research invested; and who better to provide this experience than a bona fide local?</p> <p><strong>SnappyGo</strong></p> <p>Use <a href="http://www.snappygo.com">SnappyGo</a> to get locally developed custom itineraries. You'll be connected with a local advisor, and for an average of $30-75 (depending on the length of your trip and depth of advice you want), you'll receive customized points of interest, hotel suggestions, restaurant suggestions, and insider tips &mdash; all tailored to your specific travel profile, and with relevant links and contact information provided.</p> <p><strong>HipHost</strong></p> <p>For custom themed tours, check out <a target="_blank" href="http://www.hiphost.com">HipHost</a>. Browse locally developed custom tour itineraries with themes ranging from &quot;Beer &amp; Chocolate&quot; to &quot;Running&quot; to &quot;Architecture&quot; to &quot;Girl's Night Out.&quot; Or you can post for a custom tour request and be matched with a local guide who is capable of meeting your custom requirements. The cost of the tours varies depending on the activities involved, but the guide's time is usually worth $20/hour (plus an administrative fee for HipHost).</p> <p><strong>Shiroube</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.shiroube.com">Shiroube</a>&nbsp;is more open-ended; connect with an advisor who matches your destination and travel interests, then correspond and strike a deal. Services provided can vary from getting answers to basic questions (which is often provided for free) to receiving a fully guided (paid) tour by a local.</p> <p><strong>Pangea Pal</strong></p> <p>Similar to Shiroube, <a href="http://www.pangeapal.com/">Pangea Pal</a> is a new site designed to connect travelers with locals to strike their own deals for whatever tour-related services are on offer/request.</p> <p>For information on what it's like to earn extra cash as a local tour guide on your own turf, check out this article about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-in-your-hometown-become-a-tour-guide">becoming a tour guide in your hometown</a>.</p> <h2>Finding Local (or Locally Recommended) Businesses</h2> <p>The most common way to find local businesses or popular places to go is the Internet. Here are some apps and websites commonly used to get the local scoop. (Note: This is far from an exhaustive list, as crowdsourcing becomes more common every day and new resources are popping up everywhere).</p> <p><strong>Find by Review</strong></p> <p>Use <a href="http://www.yelp.com">Yelp</a> and <a href="http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/local/">Google+ Local</a> to find businesses based on locally submitted reviews. Both are available for smartphones as well.</p> <p><strong>Find What's Happening Right Now </strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.localmind.com/">LocalMind</a> is an app to tap into the real-time local scene. If you're headed out (to a restaurant or bar for example), you can find out what's happening in real time from other LocalMind users who are there now.</p> <p><strong>European Businesses<br /> </strong></p> <p>If you're headed for Europe, use <a href="http://www.spottedbylocals.com">Spotted by Locals</a> to get city guides and local tips.</p> <p><em>OK, it's your turn to spill the beans. Have you used any of the above services, or do you know of another way to tap into the local scene while traveling?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/live-like-a-local-how-to-tap-into-the-local-scene-while-traveling">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-for-landing-the-perfect-house-sitting-gig">10 Tips for Landing the Perfect House-Sitting Gig</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-exchanges-free-accommodations-with-perks">Home Exchanges: Free Accommodations With Perks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-useful-items-hotels-usually-provide-for-free">14 Useful Items Hotels Usually Provide for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worlds-most-affordable-michelin-starred-restaurants">The World&#039;s Most Affordable Michelin-Starred Restaurants</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel budget accommodations home exchange local food Tue, 30 Oct 2012 10:00:34 +0000 Nora Dunn 955000 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Tips for Landing the Perfect House-Sitting Gig http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-for-landing-the-perfect-house-sitting-gig <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-tips-for-landing-the-perfect-house-sitting-gig" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6130474993_59a2f0f5eb_z.jpg" alt="retro kitchen" title="retro kitchen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The next time you go away, how would you like free accommodation? It has a full kitchen, bathroom, bedroom suite (often more than one), and all the devices and accouterments of home. In fact it <em>is</em> home &mdash; it's just somebody else's home. And in exchange for taking care of the place, you get to stay there for free &mdash; as a house-sitter.</p> <p>In a recent post I wrote about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">how to travel the world full-time for $17,000 a year or less</a>, I outlined a number of ways to get free accommodation, of which house-sitting was one. And Wise Bread colleague Maggie wrote some great <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/housesit-on-your-next-vacation">tips for house-sitting etiquette</a>. Today we'll go a little deeper into how to effectively land and enjoy a house-sitting job. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-simple-rules-of-excellent-houseguest-etiquette">11 Simple Rules of Excellent Houseguest Etiquette</a>)</p> <h3>Why House-Sit?</h3> <p>I love house-sitting because it gives me a chance to live a slice of &ldquo;local life&rdquo; in my chosen destination, and in some cases I've discovered places that weren't originally on my list of travel destinations. In fact, I could barely spot the Caribbean island of <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2011/12/introduction-to-grenada/">Grenada</a> on a map before accepting a house-sitting gig there last October, and I loved so much that I'm back again for more house-sitting.</p> <p>But I'm also not the only person who thinks house-sitting is an ideal way to see the world. If you're interested in house-sitting, you might be up against some stiff competition. Here are 10 ways to get the most out of a house-sitting membership, and to increase your chances of being noticed by homeowners.</p> <h3>1. Join a House-Sitting Membership Site (or Two)</h3> <p>I belong to a few house-sitting membership sites, and despite annual fees of approximately $50 each, they're well worth it &mdash; I make this money back tenfold in what I save on accommodation. Most sites offer worldwide opportunities; some focus on certain regions (such as <a target="_blank" href="http://www.aussiehousesitters.com.au/">Aussie House Sitters</a>), and others (like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.caretaker.org/">The Caretaker Gazette</a>) offer various volunteer and work-trade positions as well as house-sitting.</p> <p>I feature a comprehensive list of house-sitting sites in my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">full-time travel article</a>.</p> <h3>2. Sign Up For Notifications</h3> <p>Most house-sitting sites allow you to set notifications so new house-sitting opportunities that match your criteria (including location or available dates) arrive in your inbox. These real-time alerts are important for increasing your competitive edge (see tip 4, below).</p> <h3>3. Create a Comprehensive Profile</h3> <p>I've been contacted directly by homeowners who have asked me to house-sit based on my profile alone. In some cases they didn't even bother to put out a listing, and instead hand-picked a few house-sitting candidates they were interested in. So it's important to create a profile that tells homeowners a lot about you.</p> <p>Some sites allow you to upload photos (and even video), and this is important to give you a personable side. Homeowners are taking a leap of faith by inviting a stranger to care for their homes (and sometimes pets); go the distance by making yourself a little more familiar.</p> <p>Lisa Logan of <a href="http://www.trustedhousesitters.com/">TrustedHousesitters.com</a> says it's important to provide references (previous house-sits, employer, or character references), and you'll also increase your edge with a police check. &ldquo;Put yourself in the shoes of a homeowner and think about the information you would like to have. Be very clear about what experience and attributes you have that make you a great house-sitter.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <h3>4. Reply Quickly</h3> <p>One of the reasons it's important to stay abreast of notifications is because you need to reply almost instantly to get noticed by a homeowner. If a house-sitting opportunity seems ideal to you, you're probably not the only person who thinks so, and homeowners can receive hundreds of applications very shortly after posting a listing.</p> <p>You'll dramatically increase your chances of being noticed and considered if your application is in the first bunch.</p> <h3>5. Keep It Short and Sweet</h3> <p>Logan says &ldquo;write a succinct but informative introductory email. Homeowners may receive anything up to a hundred emails, and they won't want to read anything too long. Your email links to your profile where you can really go to town and let a homeowner know all about you.&rdquo;</p> <h3>6. Remember Why You're Needed</h3> <p>While keeping it short and sweet, it's important to show the homeowner exactly what you provide that they want in a house-sitter.</p> <p>I recently asked a homeowner how she selected her last house-sitter couple amidst the sea of applications she received. &ldquo;It's easy,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;They were the only people who asked about or even took an interest in my dog!&rdquo;</p> <p>Reading through her listing, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize she was most concerned about providing company and care for the dog, yet most of the applicants regaled her with why <em>they</em> wanted to stay in her desirable destination, instead of why <em>she</em> might like to have them there.</p> <h3>7. Ask Lots of Questions</h3> <p>No two house-sitting gigs are created equal, so it's important for there to be an open dialogue between the homeowner and house-sitter so there are no nasty surprises. This can be easily enough achieved with emails (and a Skype conversation if possible). I've traveled halfway across the world for house-sitting jobs; you'd better believe I had my bases covered before <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources">booking that airfare</a>.</p> <h3>8. Consider a Written Agreement</h3> <p>If you don't know what questions to ask, a written agreement can be a good place to start. When implemented, it sets out clear expectations, protecting both the homeowner and house-sitter from miscommunications.</p> <p>&ldquo;This encourages a homeowner to consider everything from home security to pet care, garden maintenance, emergency contacts, and more. This is a great starting point to make sure you're asking all the right questions,&rdquo; says Logan.</p> <p>TrustedHousesitters has a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.trustedhousesitters.com/house-sitter-faqs.php">template agreement on their FAQ page</a>, an incredibly comprehensive 17-page document covering items like who pays for what, contingency and liability plans, local numbers the house-sitter might need, and exact responsibilities of both the homeowner and house-sitter.</p> <h3>9. Make Sure the Finances are Fair</h3> <p>Some house-sitting gigs are paid, and some aren't. Some homeowners require house-sitters to pay for utilities and/or provide their own car, while others will provide all that <em>and</em> pay a stipend. I asked Lisa, &ldquo;What gives? How do I know if I'm getting a good deal or being ripped off?&rdquo;</p> <p>She said &ldquo;every house-sit is different, and a house-sitter should only agree to what they are comfortable with. House-sitting should be a mutually beneficial exchange and a win-win for both parties. Generally the longer an assignment, the more likely you'll be asked to pay for utilities, but that's not always the case.&rdquo;</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm">I once cared for three big dogs in a large country home with labor-intensive gardens. This was no small task, and when I considered how much money the homeowner was saving by not having to kennel the dogs and hire a gardener, I felt like I should have been paid. But their generosity in taking me out before and after their trip, showing me the area, allowing me to use their car (including adding me to their insurance), giving me free reign of the house, and inviting me to stay with them as long as I wished afterwards made it all worthwhile.&nbsp;</p> <h3>10. Be Flexible</h3> <p>Being flexible with your expectations, location, and living requirements will increase your chance of enjoying your house-sitting gig. This is part of what travel is about; experiencing a different side of life, in a different location, and pushing your boundaries.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm">Logan says &ldquo;our most experienced house-sitters tell us that you need to be flexible, prepared to roll up your sleeves, and have a good sense of humor, and then you'll have a great time!&rdquo;</p> <p>As with many things in life, you never really know what you're going to get until you get there. Enjoy the ride!<strong><br /> </strong></p> <p><strong>Discount for Wise Bread Readers</strong></p> <p>If you'd like to try your hand at house-sitting (or having house-sitters care for your home), <a href="http://www.trustedhousesitters.com/">TrustedHousesitters.com</a>&nbsp;is offering a discount to Wise Bread readers.</p> <p>You can choose from the following:</p> <ul> <li>House-Sitting Membership: 25% off</li> <li>Homeowner Membership: 6 months free</li> <li>Combined Premium Membership: 50% off</li> </ul> <p>Simply enter &ldquo;wisebread&rdquo; in the promotional code box, regardless of whether you are applying for a house-sitter, homeowner, or combination membership, to receive your discount.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-for-landing-the-perfect-house-sitting-gig">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/live-like-a-local-how-to-tap-into-the-local-scene-while-traveling">Live Like a Local: How to Tap Into the Local Scene While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-useful-items-hotels-usually-provide-for-free">14 Useful Items Hotels Usually Provide for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-students-should-make-during-a-gap-year">8 Money Moves Students Should Make During a Gap Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worlds-most-affordable-michelin-starred-restaurants">The World&#039;s Most Affordable Michelin-Starred Restaurants</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Coupons Travel budget accommodations house-sitting swapping Thu, 12 Apr 2012 10:24:10 +0000 Nora Dunn 917827 at http://www.wisebread.com Hostels vs Hotels: Choosing the Perfect Place to Stay Within your Budget http://www.wisebread.com/hostels-vs-hotels-choosing-the-perfect-place-to-stay-within-your-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/hostels-vs-hotels-choosing-the-perfect-place-to-stay-within-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hostels versus hotels.JPG" alt="hostel" title="hostel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Most people think that the frugal way to travel is to stay in hostels. However there are a number of scenarios where that may not be the case. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h2><span>Hostel Amenities</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Hostels vary incredibly in layout, overall mood, location, clientele, and amenities.</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Most hostels have both dorm room accommodations as well as private and semi-private rooms. There will be a kitchen (fully stocked with cooking and eating utensils, and occasionally some staple foods too) which is shared by everybody in the hostel. Some hostels have multiple kitchens, depending on the layout. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>There are also often common areas, bookshelves (where you can leave a book you have read and take a different book with you), and a variety of other occasional amenities including games, DVDs, satellite televisions, and internet access. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Washrooms are often shared, but sometimes those who get a private room will have a private washroom. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Many hostels will also organize or host small tours or activities in the area, depending on the area, culture, and type of guests. Most hostel guests are younger, many being under the age of 30. However one thing you will quickly learn about hostels is that you never know what you are going to get. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>One of the things that can be the appeal or deterrence (depending on the type of traveller you are) is the wide variety of circumstances you can run into at a hostel. You never know what the exact amenities will be, how many people are crammed into one space, what the room layout will look like, and what services will be offered. Its location may be right in the middle of the action, or tucked away inconveniently far from everything you want to see. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Some hostels will encourage guests to hang around on the property for the day with a comfortable atmosphere and friendly staff, while others actually have lock-out policies requiring guests to leave between 10am and 4pm (for example). Some have curfews at night, some prohibit all alcohol and drugs on the premises, and others yet have the cheapest bar in town attached to the place with a 24-hour party atmosphere. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Some hostels serve breakfast in the morning, while others are skeleton accommodations with nothing more than a bed to offer. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h2><span>Hotel Amenities</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Hotels by comparison, are much more predictable. You will get a private room with a bed, full washroom, and occasionally a kitchenette or in-room coffee maker. You won&#39;t have to make the bed (as you often do with hostels), or strip it when you leave. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>The locations and clientele of hotels however will vary significantly, so like hostels you don&#39;t always know what you&#39;re going to get. But that&#39;s all part of the appeal of traveling, I think!</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h2><span>Comparison for the Single Traveler</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>For the single traveler, hostels will almost always be cheaper, as long as you are willing to bunk up in a dorm room with other travelers. Security becomes an issue if you are staying with strangers, so having the ability to lock up your belongings or trusting inherently in your fellow traveler will be a necessity. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Hostel private and semi-private rooms can often be on par (if not a touch cheaper but sometimes even more expensive) than basic hotel rooms. For a single traveler, the decision comes down to the preferred amenities and social setting. You can save a pile of cash by preparing your own food in the kitchen provided in a hostel, and there is a lot of inherent value in the camaraderie with fellow travelers and the common area amenities. You can learn what places to stay away from, what is worth seeing, and often you will make fast friends with other travelers and see the sights with them in following days and even weeks of your trip. </span></p> <p> <span> </span></p> <h2><span>Comparison for Travelers in Groups</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>For families or groups of friends, the decision to stay in a hostel or hotel is a touch more complex. Here are some guidelines:</span></p> <h3><strong><span>Privacy</span></strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Do you want privacy, or as a group are you interested in meeting other people? If your itinerary is already set and all you need is a place to lay your head down, then sharing a hotel room will likely be cheaper. </span></p> <h3><strong><span>How Many are in your Group</span></strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Depending on the number of people you are travelling with, some hostels may be hard-pressed to accommodate your entire party. Then again, if your group can fill up an entire dorm room (and some dorm rooms sleep only four people anyway), then you may be able to save a few bucks and take advantage of the hostel amenities too. </span></p> <h3><strong><span>How Long is your Stay</span></strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Some hostels, in order to prevent a seedy transient crowd from infiltrating the place, may require that guests have a departure ticket, or will limit the number of nights you can stay. Hotels, although they also don&#39;t want a transient crowd, aren&#39;t always as stringent since there are more rooms to be had and no social scene to &quot;poison&quot; with the wrong type of person staying there. </span></p> <h3><strong><span>How Old are You</span></strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Although age discrimination is illegal, an older traveler or group of travellers may feel out of place at a hostel. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h2><span>Getting Used to Hostels</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Initially when I started travelling and staying in hostels, I was leery. I tired quickly of the standard conversations with other travellers: Where are you from, Where are you going, Where have you been, etc. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>I stayed at a few hostels that had large groups of travellers moving through that all knew each other, and felt like I was on the outside of a giant inside joke at times. I was also used to staying in hotels, and hadn&#39;t learned how to make the jump to hostelling and all it had to offer. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Since then, I am a devout fan. I have met friends for life from all over the world (and now have places to stay with them in many countries), I have learned from other travelers&#39; experiences where the great places to eat, drive by, and visit are, and I love the surprises of not knowing exactly what the place will be like until you are there. Sometimes it&#39;s not so great, but sometimes <a href="http://freedom30.blogspot.com/2007/05/sleepless-in-vancouver-and-beyond.html" target="_blank">hostel mis-adventures</a> make for the best travel stories!</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h2><span>Choosing the Perfect Hostel</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>There are a number of resources to search for the hostel that will suit your needs. They include:</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span><a href="http://www.hostelworld.com/" target="_blank">Hostel World</a></span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span><a href="http://www.hosteltimes.com/" target="_blank">Hostel Times</a> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span><a href="http://www.thebackpacker.net/" target="_blank">The Backpacker</a></span></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hostels-vs-hotels-choosing-the-perfect-place-to-stay-within-your-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hitching-a-ride-on-an-airplane">Hitching a Ride on an Airplane</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-a-budget-travel-expert-beth-whitman-here-to-answer-your-questions">Ask a Budget Travel Expert: Beth Whitman Here To Answer Your Questions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-in-style-for-free">How to Travel in Style...For Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-couch-can-earn-cash-and-support-a-band">Your Couch Can Earn Cash And Support A Band</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Lifestyle amenities budget accommodations budget travel frual travel group travel hostel hotel youth hostel Fri, 01 Feb 2008 02:23:22 +0000 Nora Dunn 1728 at http://www.wisebread.com