Image a cozy New Hampshire Town, complete with a church with a white steeple, an Inn with a gracious front porch, surrounded by a few scattered colonial style homes all blanketed in snow. Sigh, beautiful and quiet, compared to the three story walk up brownstone where we were living in Boston.
As a young married couple, we could only afford one night. The dreamy images I still recall made it worth every penny.
Like a magazine page, Bed and Breakfasts are often lavishly decorated, offering guests a warm cozy welcome rather than the sterile environment of the a chain hotel. But, alas, they are still pricey.
Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO) and Airbnb offer the same cozy home feeling without the price or extra service. By this I mean, you are renting a room, apartment or house, only no one is there to fix breakfast or be your personal concierge like in a B&B.
In my experience, the prices are 1/2 to 1/3 the cost of a hotel in the same area. Arranging a trip to Orange County, CA, I found a one bed room apartment in a complex with a pool and a workout room for $100 a night. The lowest hotels were averaging $250.
If $100 a night is still too pricey, consider renting a room in personal home. I found a room for $60 a night in the Boulder area of Colorado where I shared a historic house with the college professor who owned it. Staying for a few nights, while I scurried out to a conference every morning.
My real find was BayWatch, a cottage on Dauphin Island for three weeks for 6 people for $3000. Right on the bay and close to everything.
Late July and August is the start of shoulder season for this island and this three bedroom cottage suited my family perfectly. If you book it tell Maureen, hello.
Not convinced? View videos of Dauphin Island on thejoyousfamily.com YouTube channel.
Why stay in a private home?
Price (1/2-1/3 of the area hotels)
Comfort (home feel not sterile hotel)
Native Knowledge ( even if the host is not there at the time, they will provide you inside information about the area, after all they live there)
Often better location than large hotel (unless you need to be at a conference 24/7 )
What about Safety?
I started feeling unsafe in large hotels when I traveled regularly for work in the early 90’s. Lots of doors, keys, people with no one really knowing anyone else. I personally feel safer in the home style environment.
I do check out the host who is renting the house/room the best I can on social media before I stay in a house with the host if I am traveling alone. And if I did feel that something was not right I would leave.
Plus, I always travel with a gun and a large dog. Just kidding!
Truly, be careful and trust your gut when you travel alone. If it does not feel safe, get out of there and deal with the reservation and money later. You are more important. Traveling alone soon? Read this article by Paula Rollo first!
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