I got sick (really sick, read prior blog on GUT health and Kombucha) in Thailand whilst we were staying in a 4.5 star resort. The resort stay came with a breakfast buffet daily and an acre of beautiful pools and spas to play in. Day no.3 of bringing up my small intestine, I’d had enough of being cooped up in my room watching the Australia channel, and I forced myself out to the resort pool, found a banana lounge close to the toilet. And you wouldn’t believe it? the rest of the Resort had the same idea! and the fellow travelers had the same bout of South East Asian Norovirus! We were all eating at the same buffet breakfast, sitting at the same tables in the restaurant, wiped with the same cloth by the same waitress (I witnessed this), swimming in the same poorly chlorinated resort pools, sitting on the same pool lounges, and our rooms were being swept and mopped with the same broom/mop/water by the same housekeeper (witnessed again).
Here is me and my brave face at the Resort in Phuket.
NOTE: I’m not saying this attributed to me being sick, but I can’t see how it would have helped. And watching this happen around me didn’t make me feel better either, nor did it justify the resort price tags that went with the stay.
And so, I give to you: CJ’s Accommodation Booking Rules.
Rule 1: Accommodation is for sleeping and showering. If you can do both safely, then it’s a yes from me. Unless you’re intending to sit by the pool and read, AND your destination is in the desert, there is no need to waste money on swim up bars and cabana boys. Sitting beachside should always be 100% preferred, you get the breeze, the people watching, the waves and the salt water, and it generally wont cost you a cent. For road trip holidays, question whether accommodation is necessary, and if so what type. Sleeping in the car is my favourite option for 1 night away – my fiancé does not agree but in winter I absolutely love it. If taking this option, or a camping equivalent think about the necessities. For me, it’s a toilet, power and usually a shower. As per older blogs I suffer from a mild self diagnosed form of IBS and when I need the toilet it is all ‘Move bitch get out tha way!’. I can’t live without my phone – o power to charge is a must, and generally so is a shower – depends on an array of circumstances. Remember sometimes accommodation is for parking your car too. On a recent trip to Newcastle we were researching accommodation on Air Bnb and ALL, I kid you not – ALL, available accommodation came WITHOUT car parking. We would have had to park our car KM’s away. Research this and filter it in your accommodation search if need be.
Sleeping in the car at the Snow in 2014 – I forced Glenno to play ‘Resuscitation!’ with me on the Ipad until we fell asleep.
Rule 2: If you don’t eat Breakfast like a king at home, you probably don’t need to while you are away. Woolworths and Coles exist outside of your own hometown! – grab a Chobani and make use of the in room tea/coffee facilities. Don’t forget to sample some of the local cafes for breakfast too. Accommodation breakfasts are generally priced above $22/pp, whilst breakfast at a local cafe can cost between $12 – $20 and the food is (generally) turned over quicker. And, there are no fellow travellers coughing their way through the buffet line, picking up the cereal spoon with their ecoli-ridden hands.
Salmon Rye at The Dip Cafe in Byron Bay on our Bluesfest trip- delicious!
Rule 3: Bedbugs are just bad luck. Don’t read Trip Advisor reviews that whinge about bed bugs and take the review as a true statement. Scabies – probably a different story, and yes they are different insects! Bedbugs can travel between hotels and hostels in luggage, sleeping bags and even on fellow travelers. If you check into your accommodation and start to think you’re under attack, and you’ve got another couple of nights to go, speak to the hotel reception – they may be happy to move you or bomb the room for you once housekeeping has attended. Otherwise – Woolworths (crazy I know!), and leave the do not disturb sign hanging so you don’t kill the housekeepers.
Bedbugs will leave 3, that’s THREE, small bites close together – sometimes in a row – and I’ve had them mostly on my chest. Be sure to bomb your possessions before taking them back into your own house, and, if it’s too late for that, bomb your house. They’re generally no biggie once dealt with appropriately.
Rule 4: Check the Location. Do your research and find out how far away your hotel is from the action. Google maps is great for this – put your hotel name in and map to supermarkets, pubs, shops, beaches, etc. Remember to change the transport mode around from walking to public transport, and if you go with that accommodation, store your maps for when you get there. And DON’T be an idiot and rely on Taxis! In some parts of AUS there are NO taxis – Sydneysiders I know this idea is foreign to you but trust me, no Ubers either! Don’t get stuck, blind, in the middle of nowhere, with no transport, you may have to sleep it off in the gutter – witnessed on South Coast.
The Kam Leng Hotel in Singapore – loved the location of this place, even though it was out of the tourist hubs it was super fun feeling like an expat Singaporean local.
Rule 5: If you are going to a small Australian town call the local pub – and call them at a reasonably quiet time, say Tuesday morning. Most small locally run pubs and hotels in Australia are NOT advertised on Expedia / Quickbeds / Last Minute, etc. and most still have the same affordable price tag on their rooms. You can research them all you like on the Internet, but I strongly advise you to pick up the phone and have a chat, even if you’re not sure if accommodation is offered at said pub they may be able to point you in the right budget traveller direction!
The Middle Pub in Mullumbimby where we stayed for Bluesfest 2016. Clean rooms, a $15 menu and we came back from Bluesfest early one night and a live blues band was playing with a piano accordion!
Have you had bedbugs? Have you been stranded in the ‘country’? Can you recommend any sweet café’s to try for breakfast whilst holidaying?
Comment and let me know.
> In the next post I’ll share my tips on Booking Flights <
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