Check Out Street View Before Booking Accommodations

heqader2-1024x764You have spent days fiddling with your itinerary for flights and you are working on booking all your hotel or B&B bookings. You get blasted with many choices, read, look at pictures. All accommodations are trying to sell you their space for rent, lure you away from other prospects. You think you have a sweet deal, but look on the map for the location. You may find that you are either way isolated and don’t want to be, or smack dab in the middle of it and prefer quiet. Have you checked Street View websites with the actual address? If you were buying a house right now, what would you do to check out the neighborhood if you could not get there to physically see it? Yes, check the neighborhood you are staying in and see where it falls on the map.

If you don’t mind walking in a bit through neighborhoods, many B&Bs in the UK are in smaller neighborhoods away from downtown. This is great as you get to spend time in a real neighborhood with real people going about their lives. But this also means it probably has the local, or pub attached or underneath. Check out street view for the address and see what kind of establishment it is. Because as luck will have it, you will get the room above the pub and that means little sleep until 1 am or so. If you like to be out on the town and busy until the wee hours, this is not a problem. But if you need your rest, check out street view and see if it looks like it may be a rabble rouser bar. Also, check the transit maps for the area. If you are staying in a relatively small town, you may be walking everywhere regardless. If you are staying in a larger city, transit is more frequent, but a safe place to board or depart from may be a ways away from where you are. Taxis can get costly.

Along with looking at Yelp or other review sites, you can safeguard your stays. Be prepared however to have at least one of your accommodations not be so grand. You will just have to tough it out as booking for alternative when you get there may get real costly. Check reviews, see if there have been complaints against the establishment.

With that said, have a grand time on your tour after having a great rest.

What to Stay In; Finding Accommodation that Really Suits Your Needs

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Some people have limitless money and can stay in marvelous hotels. That’s nice. I have stayed in hotels large and boutique, inns, bed and breakfasts, and service apartments in the UK. Each has their perks. It depends on where you are going and what you are doing, and for how long that determines the places you stay. The following are choices I have made and what I have learned from the places I have stayed.

Your average nightly stay in the UK if you are lucky starts at $100.00 US, but usually $150.00. If you can find B&Bs in the country for multiple days, you may get better. Budget motels as we call them here are available, but usually on motorways or outside main city centers. Hint: If you are staying in the city center, check the crime watch apps for the area, some places are nice, some are dicey. Do Google Earth and street view and do the 360 to scan the neighborhood a bit.

Hotels $$$$

Some people love staying in hotels. It’s vacation luxury at it’s best. You are in the thick of things and central to the action. The air is recirculated and food is expensive. I usually only stay in a hotel if I can find no other accommodation as I really dislike sleeping in packed box style living. However on this trip, I will need to in Belfast as I could not find a place to my liking on the dates that I needed it, and if it’s just for 2 days renting an apartment did not make sense. Plus: Most have a concierge where you can stash cases while you explore the city before check-in.

Inns $$$-$$$$$$

Inns are very nice and can be in some of the best and sweetest countryside. Many Europeans prefer this route because it’s traditional and well, there are some fantastic locations. Inns can be great, unless you get the room that’s above the pub. Depending on how remote you are, that could not be too bad as some pubs don’t go too late. But if you have been hiking the passes or Munroing, you’ll be too tire to notice. Some inns are like B&Bs in that you will get a breakfast included if you book in advance that way. Because some of the Inns are in great locals and may be the only gig around, they can get very high in price, some being mini resorts. But, if you are traveling with family and have several to a room, it can become economical. Check your travel apps to compare pricing. If you are traveling lochs and loughs there will be several around and they do compete.

Bed and Breakfast $$$$$

These are very homey and comfortable places to stay, but these romantic getaways can get extremely pricey. I did luck out in Oban last year and got a harbor view with seats and binoculars right next to a tea set and luxury bath, the largest I had seen in my stay. And the price was very good. Full Scottish breakfast the next day, enough for 3 people. Yeah, the breakfast can be huge and you won’t need to eat for the rest of the day.

Serviced Apartment/Flat $$$-$$$$

If I am staying for more than 2 days in a city, I try to do a rented apartment option. I find if you can do one in a neighborhood, you can actually get a feeling for where you are staying and the community that people live in there. You also have more privacy, and if you are traveling with friends, this can be a very thrifty stay for you if you are splitting fees. These places have full kitchens and you can shop for some food to keep budget and calories down on your stay. There is usually full WiFi and cable services for when you are in the apartment, but hopefully you will be out and about. I find this to be more relaxing because I don’t feel so cramped and you are staying in a neighborhood which really allows you to get a feel for the people that live in the city. Price also depends on size of room. A studio which is more than enough for 1-2 people can be really reasonable.

You can book these places either at a booking site or a place like AirBNB. Keep in mind that they usually have late check-in situations and you will want to find out if you can store your luggage in the morning while you see sites. Running around town with cases is not fun, and it screams tourist.