Picture this; You’ve saved your hard-earned pennies for months so that you can go on the vacation of your dreams.
As your vacation approaches you begin to haunt popular search engines in hope of finding a miraculous deal on a luxury hotel in the prime location/s of your choice. As time presses on, the realization sets in, that booking a luxury hotel room will skyrocket the total price of your vacation, or you will have to sacrifice the beloved once in a lifetime excursions that you had told all of your friends and co workers about.
Until that miracle hotel deal materializes, you are left with an important decision to make; “shall I skimp on my hotel or my activities?”
If you have an exotic taste for vacation spots and (like me) are more interested in spending money on an excursion than a nice hotel, this article is for you.
On the other hand if you are one to side with booking a nice hotel then this article may help you advise your wild friends and family members that prefer to sleep in a low-grade hotel/hostel and spend their pennies on excursions.
Throughout my 12+ years of traveling I have maximized my experiences by staying in some pretty grungy hotels, youth hostels, and huts. I have heard the classic nightmarish stories about infested mattresses, dirty sheets, and bathrooms from the stone age, but (Thank G-D) have not experienced them until today.
I must admit that it took a few minutes for the disgusting reality of my situation to set in, but when it finally did I was deeply nauseated. After taking 3 showers and sealing my soaked pajamas in a ziplock bag, I photographed the stained sheets and marched downstairs to demand compensation from the front desk. The woman at the front desk seemed only lightly concerned and only offered to switch my room. Thankfully my new hotel room was allot cleaner, and featured a dry mattress 🙂
This was the worst experience that I have ever experienced at a hotel. What makes matters worse is that when I briefly returned to my old room to retrieve my phone charger that I had forgotten, I noticed that the same soaked mattress that I had slept on was fitted with sheets waiting for the next poor soul to lie down on.
Are you’re feeling a little queasy?
I’m sure that you are.
Perhaps you are also wondering what can be done to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you the next time you choose to stay in a grungy hotel, hostel, or hut.
1. Don’t become paranoid!
I have just shared my personal horror story with you, and although there is always the possibility of this (or something similar) happening, there is no reason to become paranoid. Please keep in mind that in my 12+ years of non stop traveling this has only happened ONCE. Staying in budget hotels, hostels, and huts gives many individuals the opportunity to travel to places that would otherwise be unaffordable.
Are you still worried?
Follow these 6 suggestions to prevent disgusting experiences (like I had this morning) from happening to you:
2. Read Customer Reviews
In order to find out what type of experience you are to expect at a hotel, simply search the web for customer reviews. There are many websites such as tripadvisor.com, trivago.com and travelandleisure.com that give a platform for people to share their experiences. It’s important to note that it would be unrealistic for one to expect to find a budget hotel without a single negative review. At bare minimum the negative and positive reviews should be at a 1:3 ratio.
3. Book in Advance
The earlier you search for your discounted hotel room, the more options you will have. In addition you might also be privy to 3+ star hotels at the rate of a 1 star accommodation. If you can’t find a good deal your search can always be pushed off till the last-minute, but if you are staying in a desirable location in high season, rooms at the grungiest hotels will book fast.
If you don’t have the time or patience to read hotel reviews, and or book in advance then a few simple supplies might make a disgusting experience more bearable:
As someone who just woke up on a drenched mattress I can’t stress enough how much more comfortable you will be had if you bring a mattress cover. I admit that sleeping on a filthy mattress even with a cover is disgusting, but what would I have done if there weren’t any other available rooms at this hotel or in my area?
In order to avoid being in such a predicament you should pack a sealed waterproof/bug proof mattress cover.
If you know that you will be staying in an area that has wild or organized camping options I would recommend bringing a tent. While this option is not fitting for everyone, it can change an awful experience into an exciting camping adventure. In my humble opinion sleeping on the beach is much more exciting than in a hotel room on a filthy mattress.
Though disinfecting wipes wont properly clean a soiled mattress, they will give you the opportunity to freshen the stone age bathroom and the furniture around it.
As you begin to fill your piggy bank for next years adventure I challenge you to figure out what your traveling preferences are, and then plan accordingly. Although I woke up wet today, in Miami Beach, on a mattress drenched in someone else’s urine, I would not rule out budget hotels from my future travels. I have learnt from my experience and will be a little more knowledgable and better prepared in the future.