Any avid traveler knows that accommodation can make or break your trip. When we first started traveling, we chose cheap places in an attempt to “save” money, regretting it time and time again. Today – through a lot of trial and error – we’ve got the know-how on choosing where to stay. Follow these tips to choose the best accommodation and make the most out of your stays while traveling.
When we are choosing the best accommodation, we always keep these things in mind: location; uniqueness and memorability; and service and quality. Just look at the view from the famous Silica Hotel in Iceland!
Easily, the most essential part of choosing where to stay on a trip is the location. We all know this, but there are some essential things to keep in mind.
Expert travelers know that time is precious. Considering flight times, going through customs, taking transport into the city, and finally checking in, you lose a chunk of the day – on both ends of the trip. You absolutely don’t want to waste any more time, especially if there’s only got a few days to explore a new place.
Time is the most important luxury you have on your trip, so use it wisely. If you’re visiting a city, we recommend staying centrally to soak up the atmosphere and be able to walk from place to place instead of taking a long commute just to save a little bit of money. That’s if you’d actually save money…
Imagine you found a cheap and decent-looking hotel online, but it’s about a 45-minute walk or a 15-minute taxi from the main attractions. It’s not in a scenic area, so half of your walk might be rather uneventful (remember time is a luxury), and if you opt for a taxi the cost is going to add up and you might end up spending more than you would have if you had chosen to stay centrally.
So, do the math and logistics ahead of time if you’re still considering staying a distance away from the city center.
If you’re traveling to see natural sites of Peru like Machu Picchu, for example, you don’t want to stay in the city. Rather, you want to be near the sites. Machu Picchu is far away from the cities, so most visitors wake up insanely early to take a long shuttle or hike. That’s not what we would recommend.
We found a cozy and characteristic hotel right at the gates of Machu Picchu – literally nestled in the mountains looking out at the base of this incredible ancient wonder. It’s called the Sanctuary Lodge and it’s an old school house converted into a hotel. Besides the obvious that it’s a freakin’ cool place to stay, the lodge’s location gives you loads of advantages over shuttle bus arrivals. You’ll have exclusive access to Machu Picchu before the crowds arrive, you can see a blissful sunrise or sunset, and get that old-world feeling by having the place all to yourself. It enriches the experience, which is something that is so precious when visiting such a popular attraction.
Uniqueness and memorability.
We absolutely believe that accommodation should be more than just a bed. It should add to the travel experience and feel memorable. That’s why we prefer to choose a place with a unique twist, a place that stands out among the rest.
The Cappadocia Caves Hotel in Turkey is the perfect example of this. A lot of people visit this otherworldly place, but not many take advantage of staying in a unique location. However, one of the best reasons to visit Cappadocia is to stay in a cave. People have been living in them for thousands of years. They’re full of history, secrets, beauty, and old-world charm – and that’s exactly what you’ll find at the Caves Hotel.
The place overlooks Cappadocia most majestically – whether hot air balloons are filling the skyline or a vivid sunset is lurking over the rocky terrain. The entire place feels like it is right out of a storybook, and it makes the trip feel more meaningful and memorable.
However, another thing to keep in mind when finding a unique and memorable place is ensuring that you’re getting the “room with a view.” Imagine you booked a hotel right by the Egyptian pyramids only to get to your room and have a window that faces out at the street instead. Pace palm moment much?
We recommend speaking with the hotel or accommodation directly, whether that’s by phone or email, and confirming the details of your room in advance. You can even ask for a photo of the room before booking.
Service & quality.
The human touch is such an important factor in choosing the best accommodation. It’s one thing to stay in a beautiful location, but it’s another thing when you immediately feel welcome and right at home.
One great example of that is the gorgeous Alma Hotel in Barcelona, Spain. The last time we were there, we were tended to by an incredible doorman named Javi. While leaving the hotel on our first afternoon, we asked him for a lunch recommendation on a whim. It turned out he knew all the spots and his face lit up with the chance to talk about his beloved city and its nourishing cuisine. Of course, we took him up on his advice and his suggestions were top-notch.
And that’s the thing. You might not know any locals in the destination you’re visiting. That’s why quality, charismatic staff is so important. They’re like your friend on the ground, eager to help and make your trip as memorable as it can be.
That’s why we recommend reading reviews about the staff before booking a place to stay. Are people raving about the friendly locals who work there? Do they create a safe and welcoming environment?
Truly, communicating with locals is such a big part of staying at these unique places around the world. The human element adds something deeper to the travel experience. It’s not something you can really put into words; instead, it must be felt.
Don’t be fooled into picking salesy places or cheap spots far away from the attractions. You’ll either waste time or money, and you’ll lose out on the memorable experiences of staying in the heart of the place you’re visiting.