I Feel Like the Ancient Traveler

Oct 10th, 2019, 05:45 PM
  #1  
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I Feel Like the Ancient Traveler

On the Europe board I was just reading an inquiry about traveling around England spending less than $100 a day on accommodations.
My immediate thought was B&Bs.. but then I wondered do they, as I knew them, still exist? Or is everything thru Airb&b these days?

In the 80's - we would go to the Tourist Office for referrals. I remember lovely experiences in Pevensey, Padstow, Wells, Chester
etc. (Not sure they were all the same trip). They were all so quiet and charming,

Ah well.. time marches on. My last stay was a hotel on St. James Square.
Gwendolynn is online now  
Oct 10th, 2019, 06:36 PM
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"On the Europe board I was just reading an inquiry about traveling around England spending less than $100 a day on accommodations."

Hey, I remember that century!!

In the late '60s and early '70s, I stayed in college dorms for about $10/day...
Jean is online now  
Oct 10th, 2019, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Jean View Post
"On the Europe board I was just reading an inquiry about traveling around England spending less than $100 a day on accommodations."

Hey, I remember that century!!
That was last year for me in London! Staying at hub hotels!

In 1990, we landed at Shannon airport, picked up a couple of books at the tourist bureau = B&B and Farm & B books. The nice lady made our first night's reservation and we were off! Prices were about 30$ each. A great first week, following our noses through Ireland.
starrs is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 06:45 PM
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In the UK, b&bs have usually been our first choice and although some have been better than others, we have never been disappointed. Go for it.
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Oct 10th, 2019, 06:47 PM
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My husband and I took our first trip to Europe in ‘98 and the internet was there but not very useful. We went to tourist offices at each city, gave our budget, and booked a (cheap with shared bathroom) hotel room.

I love smartphones and AirBnB!!!!! Now is better.
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Oct 10th, 2019, 07:04 PM
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basingstoke... have you done it recently? Is there still the nice interaction with owners even if phones are now go betweens.
Gwendolynn is online now  
Oct 10th, 2019, 08:21 PM
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I stayed at a b&b last trip. Booked through booking.com. Lovely house, lovely owners. I booked it because it was a tiny town without much other lodging. But I was pleasantly surprised, and I’d do it again.
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Oct 10th, 2019, 08:57 PM
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Moved to the Europe Forum
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Oct 10th, 2019, 08:58 PM
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In 1974 I was using Arthur Frommers Europe on $5.00 a day.
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Oct 10th, 2019, 11:48 PM
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kja
 
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Originally Posted by Gwendolynn View Post
In the 80's - we would go to the Tourist Office for referrals. I remember lovely experiences
And I remember finding rooms, during those years, that didn't meet even the most basic requirements that I had specified at the Tourist Information (TI) Office. I ended up with some rooms that were OK, but few that were any more than that, and many that were nightmares. Examples:
  • a "private shower" that was entered from the hotel's bar, didn't have a lock, and didn't even have a place where one could hang one's robe or towel -- assuming one actually had a robe or towel, which were not supplied by the hotel. No other option -- even for a towel-- available at any price.
  • rooms with shared showers, but with limited hours for said showers that weren't consistent with the TI info -- for example, showers available only by pre-arrangement with the proprietor and only during the afternoon. (That was actually what I encountered upon the first night of my very first trip to Europe. NOT what I wanted or expected!)
  • rooms that were so filthy that I refused to lie on the bed without layering my clothes between it and my body -- and then, of course, having to finding a laundromat to wash everything.
I'm so glad we can now use booking.com or other hotel booking options!

Last edited by kja; Oct 10th, 2019 at 11:58 PM.
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Oct 11th, 2019, 05:44 AM
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My 1st trip to Paris (1971), finding a place to stay was easy. Arriving at the train station, there was an agency called "Hôtesses de Paris." You told them your budget, the area of the city you wanted to stay, and they'd arrange a hotel for you. They got me a hotel near the Pyramides métro stop: great location, except right across the street from St Roch where the bell tolled every 15 minutes.
DonTopaz is offline  
Oct 11th, 2019, 06:52 AM
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I had mixed results back in the days when we just popped into tourist offices to find a room. Some were lovely, some were dreadful (this is all over Europe, not just the UK). I'd never consider doing that now, though, because it's safe to say with all the internet resources at hand available places are few and far between, and probably the dregs of the offerings. That said, we certainly have plenty of perfectly lovely old-fashioned B&Bs around here.
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Oct 11th, 2019, 09:07 AM
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I can't speak to Europe but I know here in Seattle there are still many viable B&Bs. With charming hosts, etc. like you would hope for, a true old fashioned bedroom with breakfast. I think that's different than renting an apartment thru AirBnB or VRBO. Perhaps if the later is a room only, with shared space, more similar.

So my thought is that they still exist. That no it is not only AirBnB.
suze is online now  
Oct 11th, 2019, 09:08 AM
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I stayed in a lot of places this summer - all booked through booking.com - that were also on Air BNB and some were actual bed and breakfasts (with breakfast and a host you really met) and some were just rooms (all ensuite) with the host off site (and in some cases they just texted/emailed you a code to enter and you never saw the person). But as StCirq says, with the ease of listing your place on sites likes booking.com and AirB&B whatever would be left over and available last minute would probably not be the best places.
isabel is online now  
Oct 11th, 2019, 03:53 PM
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Yup, packing the 3 inch thick Thomas Cook Rail Travel schedule book. Stopping at the TI for them to call and book a room. Schlepping the luggage to the B&B to see if it was acceptable (I had low standards in those days. I remember sleeping in a farm's attic, accessible by the pull down ladder!)
Now, I almost always book Ferienwohnungen on the net, and correspond with the owner in advance.
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Oct 12th, 2019, 08:43 AM
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basingstoke... have you done it recently? Is there still the nice interaction with owners even if phones are now go betweens.>>

Gwendolynn - I'm not that much younger than you and I also remember going to Tourist offices and finding places to stay that way. 9/10 times it worked fine which is also about the same success rate as I reckon to have booking the modern way.

And B&Bs with personal service still exist in fact I think they have to be even more solicitous as the internet soon lets people know if they've been rude.
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Oct 14th, 2019, 07:35 PM
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Last year we stayed at a very good B&B near Mouans-Sartoux in France, not far from Cannes. The charming owner, who spoke only French, provided a sumptuous breakfast and had us take it in his own dining room on two chilly mornings instead of the nice sheltered patio. His wife shared the cooking and made delicious jams, and we enjoyed meeting the resident grumpy cat (he dined atop the grand piano) and small dog that thought he was a very large watchdog. So those places are still around. If you're headed to France, just Google "chambres d'hote" for the town you're interested in.

Our gem was the Domaine des Cigalles, hidden behind a secure gate and complete with a pool and pétanque court.
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Oct 14th, 2019, 08:13 PM
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My first European travel book was 'Europe on $10 a day'. That was a long time ago.
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Oct 14th, 2019, 08:43 PM
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I still remember Mrs Laird who hosted my friend and I at her B&B in Edinburgh in December 1986. We booked at Waverly Station. After a lovely breakfast she sent us out in the morning to explore the city with advice on where to go should it rain or become too cold for we Californians. There were only shared baths but we realized after a couple of nights that in this slower season she spaced her guests around the house so that we weren't really sharing.
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Oct 15th, 2019, 05:28 AM
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Can you imagine? We used to travel without researching and booking online. I remember backpacking like this, me and my lonely planet guide. Some places I stayed were fantastic some kinda horrible. Good memories...
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