Ditch Your Hotel, Part 1:

Inns & Rooms

When it comes to finding a place to lay your weary head, hotels are the first and only option many people consider. While hotels come in many shapes and sizes, there are other lodging alternatives that can offer a richer travel experience and lower cost.

In addition to a comfortable bed, hotels can offer many unbeatable services and amenities, but hotels, even good ones, have downsides too. They can be expensive, and they can keep you from meeting other people and experiencing the local culture. Sometimes decent hotel options simply aren’t available.

In this four-part series, I’ll provide an overview of several ways to “ditch your hotel” so that when you start nailing down your travel plans you will have a wider array of lodging options to consider. First up is small inns and rooms in private homes:

Small inns
These are similar to hotels but I’m using “small inns” this as a catchall for B&B’s, guest houses, pensions, and roadside inns. These tend to to be small family-run lodging establishments with only a handful of rooms. In addition to a comfortable room, they also offer some form of traditional meals or onsite dining. They often cost less than a hotel room of comparable quality and often provide the opportunity to interact with locals. In a bed and breakfast’s (aka B&B’s) you rent a room, usually a converted bedroom with bath in a private home. A home-cooked breakfast is included in the price. The owners usually live in a separate space on the premises and do all the cooking and cleaning. Other inns often include a restaurant and/or bar in the ground floor with several rooms for rent upstairs. These dining spaces are open to the public and can be popular with locals especially in rural settings where they may be the only bar or restaurant in town. You may find some of the best by chance just by pulling over for a meal. If the meal is good and the place looks clean, ask it they have any vacancies. Guidebooks and review sites are also another way to find these small gems but be prepared to reserve over the phone or via email since many of them don’t have online booking.

A room in a private home
Many people rent rooms to travelers as a way to supplement their income especially during the busy tourist season. Renting a room is a great budget alternative in many cities. Rooms are often located away from crowded tourist areas where “real people” live. Hosts are often available for questions about local activities, restaurants, and transportation. With this option, you need to be considerate about house rules including keeping reasonable hours.

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