You’re invited: Launching #wherewillisleepweek series + giveaway
Today I super excited to announce the launch of TMWY’s first Where Will I Sleep Week. What’s Where Will I Sleep Week? An entire week of resources and info-packed content on everything you ever wanted to know about budget travel accommodation.
You can think of it as a series – but I’d rather think of it as a week-long party . . . and you’re invited! We’ll be devoting our time and travel-planning-prowess to much more than blog posts this week. Some of my favorite travel blogger buddies will be sharing their favorite accommodation tips and experiences. And all week long, you can enter to win a giveaway for an AirBnB gift card (more info below).
Mid week, on Wednesday, I’ll be hosting the #wherewillisleepweek chat to discuss budget travel accommodations worldwide. Whether you’re a seasoned travel vagabond or a wanna-be wanderluster, all are welcome to share travel tips and questions. The chat will be at noon/12pm CST, so mark your calendars.
Subscribe to TMWY to make sure you’re eligible to win.
All week long, you’ll have easy opportunities to earn entries for the AirBnB giveaway. You can earn entries by:
- Answering the Daily Question on Twitter or Facebook with the #wherewillisleepweek hashtag
- Sharing any of TMWY’s content this week on Twitter or Facebook using the #wherewillisleepweek hashtag
- Participating in the budget accommodation #wherewillisleepweek Twitter chat this Wednesday, March 16th, 12pm CST
Easy enough, right? And yes, you will earn an entry for each Daily Question you answer on each social media network. Earn your first two entries today by answering our first Daily Question on Twitter and Facebook: (That is, if you’re eligible! Don’t forget to subscribe)
#wherewillisleepweek Daily Question #1:
What’s the number one thing you look for when booking travel accommodation?
Don’t forget to use the hashtag #wherewillisleepweek
(The more questions you answer the more entries you earn, so check back in tomorrow for #wherewillisleepweek Daily Question #2)
Don’t forget to stay connected throughout the week with our #wherewillisleepweek hashtag. Looking forward to chatting budget accommodation with you 😉
Without further ado . . . let’s get down to business. Travel planning business, that is.
Where to start when booking travel accommodations
Spontaneity looks awfully daring and fabulous in the movies, but I’m one of those travelers who’d really rather know she has a place to crash before arriving in a foreign destination. If that tweaks your carefree style, my apologies – but sometimes a little peace of mind makes a tiny bit of planning totally worthwhile.
I like to know I’m getting a safe, clean bed, that I’ll get a good WiFi connection, and that my hosts are well liked by my travelers like me.
No, I’m not being picky. In fact, with today’s easy resources, these things are quite simple to come by before setting foot in a strange city.
I follow the same basic process each time I begin booking accommodations:
- Get a list. Whether it be an excel spreadsheet or a large notebook, you’ll need something to write in.
- Choose your necessities. Is it important to you to be within walking distance of major tourist attractions? Do you really want WiFi? How about breakfast or access to a kitchen? How about a price range? Choose a few necessities (I’d start with a max of 3 to avoid overwhelming yourself) to consider in the following step.
- Start your general search. Start adding accommodation options to the list by searching your favorite resources. Jot down every accommodation option that meet the necessities you decided on in the previous step. Some of my favorite search resources are:
- Play process of elimination. Now that you’ve got yourself a hefty list, go back through each accommodation in more depth by searching it on Trip Advisor. Any sketchy reviews? May be time to scratch that one off. This step is also your opportunity to add more necessities, depending on your options.
- Make contact. Once your list is somewhat smaller, send emails to all of the accommodations asking about their availability (plus if they can offer you any deals!) Copy my fail-proof template from the Travel Planning Workbook.
10 questions to ask before booking a room
Not really sure what you’re looking for? Peruse the following list of things to check before booking a room. Keep in mind that something really important to you may not matter at all to someone else, and vice versa. This is about what you desire in accommodation style – which will undoubtedly vary drastically from the next vagabond’s style!
1. Private bathroom? Hostels and even some bed and breakfasts have shared bathrooms – something to think about if this matters to you.
2. Breakfast? Access to cooking facilities? Breakfast is becoming a common amenity (even in some hostels!). Not having to worry about where to find your first meal can be a great relief when you’re headed off early to tour a site. Make sure to check that your accommodation serves breakfast, and if so, what that entails. It could be a piece of toast . . . or a fantastic banquet-worthy feast!
Another related option is access to cooking facilities or a kitchen of some sort. This is the norm for many hostels, and is handy as it allows you to store your own food in a fridge and prepare it whenever you want. Cooking instead of going out to eat = major money saver!
3. Private or shared room? Dormitory-style hostel rooms are the cheapest way to go. But even if you really don’t want to sleep in the same room as strangers, don’t give up on hostels just yet! Many also offer private rooms, which are still cheaper than most hotels.
4. How late are the doors open? Check if your hotel or hostel has a curfew – you don’t want to be stranded outside in a strange city at 2 a.m.
5. WiFi access? Where? While many accommodations offer WiFi access to guests, sometimes it is only available in a common lobby area and not in the guestrooms. Occasionally, you may even have to pay – so ask in advance!
6. Location? Where is the accommodation relative to the city’s main attractions? Think about how you plan to get from place to place. Will you take public transport or walk? Don’t just guess on this one – actually pull out a map (hello, Google Maps) and see where the accommodation is in regards to the rest of the city.
7. Parking availability? If you’re bringing a car, either your own or a rental, check to see if there’s somewhere to park it, or if parking requires any extraneous fees.
8. Noise level? If you love your shut-eye, check reviews to see how quiet (or loud) it gets at night.
9. Good Trip Advisor reviews? So many travelers make the terrible, unforgivable mistake of not reading Trip Advisor reviews before booking accommodations. Don’t make this mistake! Consider Trip Advisor your secret travel planning weapon: a free, honest, inside-scoop about everything you ever needed to know about where you will be staying.
10. Friendly staff? Your hosts may very well be the first locals you speak with in a new city, so pick friendly ones. Check to see what other travelers thought of the accommodation staff in Trip Advisor reviews.
Phew! Believe it or not, we’ve only scratched the surface of things to look into when booking accommodations.
What is the number one thing you look for when booking travel accommodation? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook with the #wherewillisleepweek hashtag to enter the AirBnB giveaway. I’m excited to hear your input!
The globetrotting wordsmith behind Take Me With You, Sierra specializes in sustainable, smart blogging strategies for part-time travel bloggers. Her wanderlust has taken her across 3 continents and 11 countries. She is the creator of the free ecourse, Travel Blog In 5.