We are constantly asked where we stay, in terms of lodging, while traveling full-time.
How do we choose if we are staying in an AirBnb, a Hotel, Hostel, Apartment, cabin, house, tent, etc?
We could be in a large city or a tiny island and anywhere in-between. How in the world do we even begin to choose what kind of lodging we are going to stay in?
There are many factors that come into choosing a place.
We are all about the budget so the first thing we do is start searching on Booking.com and AirBnb for lodging prices for 2 adults and 1 child for the dates specified for that location. When the prices come up I look to see if they are close to our budget range. I generally look for anything $35 a night or less but our high range is to $50 a night.
This gives me a monthly budget of $1050-1500 to shoot for. In areas that cost more, like London for example, we know that our budget needs to increase for the period of time in that higher-priced area.
#2 Current Needs:
Sometimes we want to socialize more and want to be in a place that has breakfast included so we can meet other travelers. Other times we want to make our own breakfast and eat whenever we want.
Also, sometimes we want a large space while other times we might a place with a lot of amenities so we just have a room with a bathroom and that’s it so we can have a Pool and such. It all depends on what we are really wanting at that time. We don’t book more than a week or two in advance usually because of our changing needs.
We have some MUST’s.
Additionally, depending on where we are in the world and the temperature, we look for Pools, Washing Machines, and a kitchenette. Do they have a TV? We bring an Amazon Fire Stick with us so we always like to have some sound in the background. Space available is great too. As often as possible we like a place with a lot of space so Sebastian has room to run around and all our crap fits well without having to trip on everything.
And, in SE Asia it’s harder to find a Bathtub for Sebastian to bathe in so whenever we can find a bathtub we are excited. We also like having Elevators if we are in a city or hotel with more than one flight of stairs…because – stroller.
#4 Location, Location, Location:
Honestly, we look around an entire area on Booking.com and Airbnb to see where the majority of listings are. We then compare these areas to Google Maps to see what’s around. Is it close to grocery stores, any landmarks, malls, train stations, etc?
Then, I go online and do searches to see what recommendations are for tourists to stay. Not that we really follow what others say but I like to know if I’m missing out on areas that I should reconsider.
Now, if we aren’t in a city or large town, then I really rely on reviews and Google Maps to help me choose what place will work best for us. We walk everywhere. While a place farther away might be cheaper and have more of the amenities we want, we might not be able to get out and about so I might choose something closer to ‘town’ or shops, so we have more to do and can access it easier even if it ends up costing us a bit more.
And, if we are in a city, we don’t like to be directly in the center of town, we like to be about a 10-30 minute walk away so we are forced to get out and about each day. Unless we are in a place like Cambodia. We want to be close to town because of all the dust from the dirt roads, tuk-tuk gas and general walking conditions with a stroller.
I read all reviews to see if the water pressure is good, if it’s clean, how the service is. What people like and don’t like about the property. If the reviews are pretty good then I add it to my potential list
#6 Picking one over the other
I usually end up with one favorite property from both Booking.com and Airbnb and then decide based on pricing. I also will go to Google Maps and type in “HOTELS” in the town’s main areas we are considering staying so I can see if it’s cheaper or in the ballpark for our pricing. Occasionally I will find a better place or deal on Google Maps and will pick it instead.
I have also gotten a handful of great deals from Orbitz and Expedia.
Look, this is just what I do. There are lots of other sites out there. Some people only stay with Hilton properties because they are Hilton Honors members. We are too but we are cheapos and I’m not about to spend all our money to be loyal to one type of property.
I find that we are always able to find a great property to stay in, no matter where we are in the world, using this system.
Everyone has different budgets and personal needs so figure out what works best for you.