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Why Do We Spend so Much Effort and Energy on Accommodation

Why Do We Spend so Much Effort and Energy on Accommodation

Old Jan 13th, 2008, 12:38 AM
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Why Do We Spend so Much Effort and Energy on Accommodation

I am preparing for my travel in late 2008 and around our dinner table we have conversations about places we have travelled to as a family, and of course my proposed trip. (I have been poring over apartments in Paris, hotels in Istanbul and castles in Poland)

One of our daughters asked last night "Why do you spend so much effort figuring out where to stay and what sort of accommodation to book?!"

This prompted a robust discussion and some reflection.

Is it a function of age?

Yet I recall just taking off and sleeping wherever - including a railway bench in India- when I was my daughter's age - whereas my best friend at the time would not dream of doing it.

My theory is that when we venture out into the wild and wonderful unknown we like to ensure that we have a good base, a nest as it where, which is to our liking and from which various adventures can originate.

What dictates your effort in securing your accommodation, aside from $$$$ or is the expense the main consideration ???
angelnot1 is offline  
Old Jan 13th, 2008, 12:44 AM
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Comfort & location. I don't know that it's all age, at least in my case. Where I've stayed has always been important to me.
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 12:58 AM
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agree w/Carrybean.

Location, price, old world charm when my husband was alive.
Now, it is has to be a Safe location, price & old-world charm that I cannot get here. Age
doesn't enter into it.
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 01:08 AM
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Speaking for myself, it's a matter of expectation.

If I'm on an adventure and the comfort expectation is low, I'll likely not care much.

If I'm celebrating a milestone and paying a fortune for a hotel room/flat, I want to get what I'm paying for....
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 01:28 AM
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Since people generally spend at least one third of each travel day in their hotel or accommodation it makes sense to me that it is an important part of the planning.
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 01:29 AM
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Answer simply,because I can. Accomodation can make or break a holiday. When you travel anywhere,to stay in a horrible bed,with not very friendly owners as we have done over the years,unfortunately can be your memory of what is a memorable place.
Now I spend time,booking well in advance and our accomodation is part of the experience of our holiday. Maybe it is an age thing!!
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 02:11 AM
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One of the things I find interesting is that so many of us seek charm (myself sometimes included) and are then disappointed with lumpy beds and grouchy owners.

The reality often is that we are better off in a nice business hotel with air conditioning and amenities than in a quaint place with a one-person elevator and tilting floors. But it somehow doesn't seem like we are in the "real" Avignon if we have all the modern conveniences!
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 02:26 AM
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Well, if you sleep around 8 hours a night, it's one third of your vacation... might as well be comfortable.

For me I think it's the nesting instinct. I like to unpack and settle in because it makes me feel more a part of the whole experience.

Also, I like to feel clean and comfortable wherever I go. If I'm camping my expectations are lower for my bed but I do expect really nice scenery as a consolation.
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 03:11 AM
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In addition to all the factors mentioned by others, avoiding noise is very important in our family. We live in a very quiet rural setting and my husband is especially bothered by a lot of street noise

Ideally we like to stay in a neighborhood where we enjoy walking right outside the door of the apartment/hotel/rental house. I tend to get up much earlier than others in the family and interesting early morning walks are something I really enjoy. Saving money by staying outside a city center has never worked for us.
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 03:17 AM
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When we can, we prefer a B&B, and choose carefully, because of the personal attention we usually receive from the hosts. You can tell a lot from the emails they send, whether they are service- oriented or not. And the fact we are spending a good amount of cash each night for a bed, does mean it matters very much that we get value - comfort, pleasant atmosphere, cleanliness, etc.
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 03:27 AM
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I wouldn't say I spend an inordinate amount of time on choosing my lodging. As long as Priceline serves the city, I start there and usually get something that is very good value. Otherwise, I will give the online guidebooks a quick look and maybe see what some places are pricing out at on Expedia or another site.

On those occasions where I want to splurge, then I might spend some more time, but the top hotels in any given area is usually a pretty short list.

Obviously, if one prefers apartments or B&Bs then the task is harder, as the quality levels can vary more dramatically.
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 04:02 AM
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Hi angel:

Like you and I suspect many others, my approach to selecting a place to stay has changed a lot over the years, but for reasons unrelated to acquiring a nesting instinct.

Yes, with age, prosperity, and a traveling companion my comfort requirements have increased since the 70s when I started traveling internationally.

The technology has been just as important a factor, however. Although occasionally doing more exhaustive research to find just the "right" place, I am more likely to do the minimum research to assure that our standards of adequacy are met. And of course the effort to achieve this is infinitesimal compared to what it was 25-30 years ago. The ability to acquire precise information about location, amenities, price, and (somewhat) trustworthy experiential feedback without much effort helps to reduce the chances of an unhappy experience with accomodations.

Also, compared to 25 years ago, there are tens if not hundreds of millions of more people worldwide with the disposable income and leisure time to travel internationally. The political and economic barriers for Europeans traveling around the EU have dissolved. Urban Europe can be crowded through both the summer and the shoulder seasons, which was not the case when I started trsveling. Outside of the summer months, huge business expositions, etc., can eat up hotel space and drive up prices.

I guess these are the main resons why I no longer wing it without hotel reservations.

Having said all this, despite many below-expectation lodgings, reserved or not, over the years, I have to say that I can't think of a single instance where a sub-standard hotel, inn, hostel, overnight train ride, or park bench has caused me to regret having traveled to somewhere.

sorry for the ramble,

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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 04:48 AM
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I have found that having a great place to stay increases my enjoyment by a lot. Sometimes it is the location that is great, sometimes the atmosphere, sometimes the people. Sometimes all three.

A small inn next to a castle in a totally untouristed hilltop village in Portugal's Alentejo, a thatch-roofed farmhouse B&B near the seashore in Denmark, a modern hotel in a refurbished building on the Plaza Santa Ana in Madrid, an apartment on the Rambla de Catalunya in Barcelona, a manor house in the deepest French countryside near the Pyrenees-- my vacations have been made immeasurably more fun by these places.

With the amazing resources available on the internet, it is possible to find things that would have been far more difficult to locate on my own when I was younger. And my criteria when I was younger were very different. I just wanted the least expensive place possible. Now I want the best value.
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 04:58 AM
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I have to say that I have never felt "the real" anywhere is confined to the inside of an accommodation and as to having modern conveniences...well, I think a place is a lot more enjoyable to visit if the accommodation provides those but to each their own.
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 05:15 AM
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I'm with you Nikki. The accommodation is a big part of the planning and the discussion afterwards because it is a big part of the experience. I am a big time foodie, so finding good places to eat is very important to me. I remember meals and the surroundings in which I ate them fondly--or not. I have a friend who is a self-described "roomie" because finding good places to stay is very important to her. I share her passion but permit her the title. Many of my memories of travel are from the places I slept and the surroundings in which I did so. I think a lot of others feel similarly. As I look at pictures from our trips I can usually/often tell immediately what city/locale a featured restaurant interior or even plate of food was from. Similarly I can also tell the locale from a picture of the hotel room, exterior or interior, etc. but I find myself having trouble determining where I was from the picture of a cathedral interior.
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 06:03 AM
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I'm more with Dukey.
Besides rather basic expectations regarding location, noise, and price, the hotel room is more a "base" I need for exploring the city or area than a copy of my private home back home.
I fully understand when it's more important to others, but some inquiries about hotels go into that many details, as if you could duplicate someone else's "perfect stay".
When I go to Anytown, Anytown counts for 90% of my travel experiences, the hotel for maybe 10%.
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 10:13 AM
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Location and comfort.

We like to be in a very central location so we can step out of the hotel door and quickly walk to at least some tourist sights - as well as a good selection of restaurants and shops. In large cities (paris, London) we often take public transit to sights in other areas - but we want at least some to be nearby.

As for comfort - well when you're 20 you may be satisfied with less. But now our vacation time is limited and we want our accommodations to be truly comfortable since we often relax there before showering and changing to go out to dinner (room large enough to have a comfy seating area with sofa, mini-fridge, good make-up mirror, tv with multi international channels, 24 hour room service and a good concierge. Oh- and a real shower - American standard - and a tub with whirlpool is also nice.)
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 10:21 AM
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I like a convenient location and a nice view if possible but frankly, seeking and booking lodgings these days is mainly a function of assuring my travel companion(s)'s satisfaction.

On my first greece trip, in '99, with an easy-does-it travel friend, we just "winged it," and liked some quite modest lodgings fine (tho all w. bath). We didn't mind coming into a town or an isle with 3-4 places in mind (I always travel slightly off season).

I'd still do that, but I find my travel companions don't deal well with the uncertainty factor. And some of them are 20 yrs younger than me -- so I don't think it's age, more a factor of personality
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 10:24 AM
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We do not spend a lot on accommodation in Europe (we limit it to under $100 CDN). However, I spend hundreds of hours researching that perfect, quaint and charming B&B in the country. You can find off-the-beaten-path places for cheap.

I do not rest (when trip planning) until I find that perfect gem! And I do not mean just the room - the location, geography, views, etc. make it for us. We crave isolation, rural, sheep bleating, rivers flowing through the property, ruins, stone walls, peace and quiet. We always find places that buses cannot get to. We look for listed properties that offer bags of character (beams, exposed brickwork, 4-posters, antiques, fireplaces). And we search for places that offer home-cooked breakfasts in their rates. All that takes awhile but I love it!
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 10:35 AM
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Sorry - I neglected to answer your question! The reason I need to spend so much effort on finding that perfect accommodation (post above) is that I strive for wonderful atmosphere. We also love rural walks, rural pubs and restaurants, etc. It is so nice to go on country walks where there are no roads or other people.
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