If you missed our Europe on a Budget program all is not lost. Over the next few weeks, we'll share a few of the great ideas that Danielle from Travel CUTS discussed.
You do not have to stay in the most expensive hotels to have a great time. A few weeks ago, we blogged about staying in monastaries as an alternative accommodation. Danielle discussed other alternatives such as hostels, bed & breakfasts and camping.
Hostels come in all shapes and sizes and are not just for the young backpacker. You can stay in anything from a downtown hostel to a castle.
Depending on the hostel and what you are willing to spend, you can book anything from a private room to a 16-bed dormitory. Some of the advantages of a hostel, apart from the price, are a chance to meet with other travellers and the ability to cook meals. Downsides are that there is not always a private bathroom in your room (take your flip flops) and there can be a lot of comings and goings in the dorm rooms (and sometimes goings on).
We have a fun DVD, A Map For Saturday, which shares the stories of long-term, solo travellers from four continents. It provides a fascinating glimpse into hostel life.
You don't need to take linens or a sleeping bag, but a silk sleep sheet gives you a sanitary cacoon to slide in between the sheets. A combination lock, a head lamp, ear plugs and a sleep mask are also good additons to your arsenal. It's also a good idea to book in advance if you are travelling in the high season from June to September. Danielle strongly recommends booking at least your first few nights so you're not scrambling for a place to stay when you first arrive at your destination.
For more tips on hostelling, check out this great guidebook for hostelling in Europe: Hostels European Cities (2010): the only comprehensive, unofficial, opinionated guide.
Bed and breakfasts are also a great alternative, often offering an opportunity to get to know the locals. There is no one on-line listing of bed and breakfasts, but if you go to the official tourist page for your destination, you will often find a link to approved B&Bs. Again, you can find everything from utiliarian to charming. These are some of the great guidebooks that you can borrow from the library to discover special places to stay.
Camping is probably the cheapest alternative, and probably the only one where you will need a sleeping bag. Just remember that the campgrounds are often far from the city centre and you will have the expense and time of travelling to where most of the attractions are located. Also, you will be carrying your camping gear everywhere you go!
Watch the Travel Talk blog over the next few weeks as we share more tips and tips for budget travel.