3.1 Hotels, Hostels & Homestays

"For RTW travellers, hotel reservations are an option, if you can call ahead to the next city. They are usually only necessary during the summer in Europe, if you are looking for a particular place. Travelling without reservations is pretty simple. Just use the books or tourist offices to call places when you arrive at the airport or train station, or go with one of the 'touts' who hang out trying to get people to come stay at their hotel or hostel. It is a good way to get a free ride to the place, but be sure about its location and price first." <Russell Gilbert>

"The tourist offices will always find you something, though it may be in an outlying area. In some countries, if they 'run out' of hostels and hotels, they will put you with a family; this is especially true in Scandinavia." <Miriam Nadel>

"Be sure to check out the accommodations offered before committing, and do not be afraid to say no to accommodations which are not clean or unsafe." <Henry Mensch>

"Most hotel and guesthouse staff will willingly call ahead for you if you do not speak the language, if you pay for the call and perhaps leave a small tip. Most people in the tourist industry speak English so calling ahead yourself need not be daunting. Some National tourist offices (e.g. UK, Switzerland and Sri Lanka) have excellent, highly detailed, free information about budget hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses. Telephone numbers and current rates are always included. In some countries (notably Thailand) it is cheaper to make a hotel reservation through a travel agent than to do it yourself, as the agents share some of their discount with you." <Larry Cotter>

"Hostels are great in Europe, but harder to find in Asia, where you will mostly stay in cheap hotels. Get a Youth Hostel Association (YHA) membership and a worldwide listing of their locations. There are many private hostels, which are usually cheaper, and have fewer rules. They are great places to meet intriguing people and exchange travel information. A hostel usually has 4-6 bunkbeds in a room, with communal bathrooms. They often have kitchens equipped with pots, pans, utensils, and dishes, and a common room (some with a TV)." <Russell Gilbert>

In southeast Asia, it is common for a room for two to cost twice the price of a room for one.

"The Backpackers chain, which are mostly in Australia/New Zealand, have become more popular than YHAs. The price is reasonable, no chores, lockouts, and no curfews that I recall. I highly recommend buying a VIP card, which costs about $15 or $20 and gives you a dollar or two discount each night, along with lots of discounts on trips, bus tickets, etc.. You can buy a VIP card at any Backpackers." <Dave Patton>

"In Australia especially no matter what time of day or night the bus arrives in town, there will be 'touts' trying to get you to their backpacker place. BEWARE -- they get a little bit of money or free accomodation for bringing in new guests. A lot of them are DUMPS, party hangouts for teenagers gone berserk. This seems especially troublesome on the East Coast of Australia. The touts do have their place though, if one just wants a place to crash for the night and does not like it, it is always possible to move on the next morning; or as we did one day, around midnight since we just could not stand the noise anymore. We ended up in a youth hostel instead … ooohhh, the peace and quiet! This was in Brisbane, Australia, and the backpacker place was called Paddington Backpacker. One last tip, ask the tout if his backpacker place has an enforced curfew, if they do not and you like your sleep, move on." <Eberhard Brunner>

"People in the Third World are often very generous and invitations to stay in their house are common. Such invitations are probably more common when one is travelling solo. In some places where hotels are relatively expensive, locals sometimes rent out extra rooms in their houses." <Keith Conover>

"There are many places where camping is a great idea -- especially the South Pacific (it makes Tahiti costs bearable), and New Zealand has a great hostel network and also many camp sites. It may be cheaper to camp in Australia too, but the sites are sometimes a little out of town. If you are going to do a lot of trekking (e.g. in South America) it may be worth having your own tent rather than relying on rentals. It is advisable to carry a sleeping bag, in any case, and maybe a bivvy bag in the event that you do find yourself stranded. A camping mat can be useful also for long journeys on ship decks, etc.." <Chris Finlayson>

Alternatives: YMCA/YWCA, pensiones, churches, missions, and temples.

In the summer you can often get a room at a college (or even a boarding school) residence hall.

And for something really different, check out Donna McSherry's Budget Traveller's Guide to Sleeping in Airports.

Unusual Hotels of the World

Hostel Links
Hostelling International
Internet Guide to Hostelling
Hostel World

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