One of the most frequently asked questions we get about our trip pertains to the type of accommodations we are staying in. Are they comfortable? Are they clean? When we first told people we were traveling around the world, many automatically assumed that we were rich and/or that we would be slumming it in hostels, dirty backpacker-style. These myths have persisted as we’ve traveled.
To date, J and I have stayed in a handful of luxury hotels and resorts where we were greeted with drinks and fruit baskets, and essentially offered the world (and cookies!) on a platter with the assumption that money was no object. During these stays, we lounged around in robes, answered exclusively to our last names and got used to being stalked by staff who seemed to come out of the woodwork if we so much as thought about something that we needed.
We’ve also stayed in a handful of hostels, a couple of times in shared dorms, chatting with fellow travelers who assumed we were broke 20-somethings, boozing our way from one hostel to the next. At these hostels, staff took special care to acknowledge our presumed budgetary constraints, providing suggestions for only those activities or restaurants that were cheap and even cheaper.
But most of the time, we’ve played the role of ourselves, staying in places that fall somewhere in the middle of the pack. While we enjoy variety in our lodging, our favorite- and most frequent- accomodations have been small guesthouses, homestays or boutique hotels that are intimate, preserve some of the traditions of the local cultures, and allow us to make ourselves at home. These types of accommodations also tend to be the places where we find the broadest range of travelers in terms of age and interest, and a friendly and supportive environment.
We’ve been amazed to find that even on a budget, with a bit of research and resourcefulness, we can live well and with few sacrifices. Our general strategy has been not to find the cheapest place possible but the cheapest place with impeccable service in safe and convenient locations.. and clean. Very, very clean.
So while my mom insists she knows that her daughter would not be traipsing around the world, living in filth, this post is partially in answer to that glimmer of doubt I see in her eyes as she tries to assure me of her confidence. So look, mom, our very clean accommodations!
The reality is that our accommodations have been as diverse as the places we’ve visited and activities we’ve pursued. To date, J and I have slept in tents, gers, teahouses, boats, trains, planes, buses, apartments, hotels, bungalows, and the homes of friends, family and strangers.
And when we wake-up in the morning, we’ve been greeted with views of mountains, a volcano, rock formations, swimming pools, canals, the ocean, high-rises, village rooftops, forests, a spice plantation, the desert, camels in the desert, cows walking down the street, temples, mosques, and people going about their daily business, whatever that may be on that particular day in that particular place.
So at the end of the day, after we’ve finished sightseeing, trekking, or whatever the adventure of the day, when I turn to J and say, “let’s go home,” home may be any thing and has been, in fact, all of these things. And that is extraordinary.
Of course, there are a few places where we stayed that were standouts, adventures unto themselves. I’ll be highlighting those in upcoming posts. The first one will go up later this week.