Backpackers travel tips

2016-09-02 16:10:26

In developing countries.. on the whole it is never really a problem finding a guesthouse room (the word hotel is used for the most part in this section) for the night or another place to stay (read on for info on developed countries and hostels )outside of the odd peak period (e.g. national holidays or traveller peak season in smaller towns). In general, certainly within the developing world, where there is a demand it will be met in some form.


At the budget end rooms vary dramatically in quality and value. Finding a good room or a good deal is more of an art than a science. The normal approach for most travellers is to go through their guidebooks, scanning for any hidden hints. Let's Go at least lists hotels in preference and Footprint works on readers' recommendations, but other than those, guidebooks leave you in the dark; many good places to stay made famous by guidebooks become crowded, noisy, full of themselves and non flexible on price. 

A guidebook  is a great guide when you first arrive, but don't think you have to stay in a hotel listed within its pages; there are many choices and hey, guidebooks openly state they don't stay in the hotels, yet give recommendations on them! Go figure. It's also nice to give an unlisted little guy a shot at some tourist dollars. The most important factors are cleanliness, quiet, safety and price - you can rank these as you see fit. You get a pretty good feeling from a place just popping in and seeing a room - remember, if you think it has potential, but don't like the room you saw (often the nearest and noisiest) ask to see another. Also it is often worth asking for a little discount, especially for multiple nights. If you have the energy, try to look at a few hotels to compare - normally just by saying 'well thanks, but we normally check out a few places' the price might drop. 

You can have a lot of success finding the main noisy traveller hotel area, then heading back a few streets to some random hotels that have never been in any guidebooks, and getting some fantastic, very quiet and great priced rooms. Many travellers also have a lot of success with slightly more mid-range hotels (just above the 'budget' price range and sometimes aimed at domestic business travellers) and slightly smarter looking places (particularly in low seasons). It takes a little nerve going in, hoping that they do give you a good price - seeing as most of their rooms might be empty - and not the normal price that you probably don't want to pay. On many occasions you find yourself in really nice rooms with cable TV and fluffy white towels, for only a few dollars more (and sometimes no more) than the standard budget option. Although with looking for a slightly nicer rooms in poorer countries you can run into the law of diminishing returns pretty quickly, where paying a lot more gets you little extra after a certain point.