Hostels? Hotels? B&Bs? Our travels will include just about everything!
With my list-y tendencies in full swing, I've already started looking at accommodations for our round the world trip that's scheduled to start in Novemeber. It's a short trip -under a month - and I want to make sure we enjoy every day of it. And, frankly, I want to get great value!
We've already accomplished that on our flights, as we cashed in our points and strategically staggered flights to minimize taxes and airport fees. And now I want to get the best possible value from inns, bed and breakfasts, hostels, hotels and more. And the more I look into this, the more I realize that there is more to accommodations than just the sticker price.
Our accommodations need to meet certain requirements. We have to be in the city centre - we want to drink in all the beautiful buildings and have the chance to enjoy the gorgeous architecture that Bruges is so famous for. We're there for just one night - it doesn't make sense for us to stay on the city outskirts to save a few euros.
That might be a sensible strategy for someone who is spending a week in the city - you would save a lot over time, and you wouldn't be as focused on getting as much city face time as possible. A long term guest might invest in a bus pass or car rental and explore further afield. We don't want to waste time and money on transportation.
I think it is. There's a wide selection of B&Bs to choose from - all with excellent reviews, all with great locations, all under €100. This means good value - not only will things be affordable; there's also enough choice to find a spot that is really our style. After 3 days of running on caffeine and carbs, crashing on airplanes and cheapo-Parisian hotels, it will be a nice change to have some homey scenery and a hot, homemade, healthy breakfast. A lovely, turn of the century home would be the perfect compliment to our cozy visit.
But here's the downside: city centre hotels are expensive everywhere, and Bruges is no exception. There are many beautiful hotels, but space in this historic city is at a premium. It's not so easy to have a huge hotel. There are a few biggies, many medium sized hotels, and a lot of independent, boutique hotels. This often translates into both expensive AND tricky for online blind bidding - you don't have 10 downtown Best Westerns who are turning over their rooms to Priceline. We are hoping to spend under €100 (Euros). NO - We NEED to spend under €100.
I've also learned that some B&B's charge a rate with breakfast and without. I think this is a great option. Some people do not enjoy many breakfast foods, might prefer inexpensive fare on the road, are interested in having a special breakfast at a special restaurant, will be leaving early or sleeping late - or maybe they just don't like having to make polite conversation with strangers before they've had caffeine! So far, the difference between the two options seem to range from €5 per person to €15! It's well worth looking into what you get for breakfast and what you're willing to pay to get it.
This research has taught me a couple of important lessons. You have to know what kind of accommodation will work best not only for your budget, but also your personality and the kind of visit you're hoping to have. You shouldn't despair if the accommodations you're looking at are unaffordable or unobtainable. There is always a good alternative if you keep your mind open. And you have to consider the overall price and amenities to determine if you're getting good value. Some people might find €50 Euros a night for a week a great value. Others might find €50 a night, plus a €15 supplement, plus a €10 breakfast fee to also be great value.
Value? It's not just about the price. It's about what you get and what you need!