From Don: We’re travelling almost all the time now, and have stayed in dozens of different hotels over the past year or so. In the process we’ve discovered the things that are essential for our comfort and wellbeing on the road. Every hotel room we stay in becomes our home for the time we’re there so we’re always looking and hoping to find a hotel that satisfies all of our wants and needs. We’ve found through experience that a 3-star hotel is generally the minimum level of quality that we are willing to tolerate, and fortunately there are usually enough of these in our price range to give us some choice. We like to use the Agoda.com and Booking.com sites because they include reviews and ratings of each property, and we can book online.
There are certain things that we now think of as essential wherever we stay:
1. Twin beds because for as long as we’ve been together Alison and I have never been able to sleep in the same bed. My snoring keeps her awake, and she is a really restless sleeper, which keeps me awake;
2. An en-suite bathroom: having to go down the hall to a communal bathroom just doesn’t work for us;
3. Wi-Fi: We live and die by our laptops. Making bookings for the next flight or next hotel is way more of a hassle if we don’t have Wi-Fi in our room, and Ali needs an Internet connection to enable her to post to the blog;
4. Location: We like to stay close to the main tourist attractions in a city, or close to public transport.
The above are our essentials. There are also extras that we’re hoping to see listed when looking for hotels. These include:
1. A room safe for our valuables helps us feel more secure;
2. A kettle and cups so that Ali can have her early morning cup of tea while she’s checking emails;
3. A fridge is a much-appreciated extra for keeping milk cold for our cups of tea;
4. Air conditioning is always nice when we’re in the tropics, but a fan in the room will also do fine.
There are other sweeteners that we appreciate too. Does the hotel have a restaurant? If it does, how is the food quality? We both prefer being able to have breakfast without having to leave the hotel. It almost goes without saying that we also appreciate staying in beautiful surroundings, so if the hotel and our room has beautiful art decorating the walls, as was the case for the Umaid Bhawan Hotel in Jaipur, we’re doubly appreciative.
Living in hotel rooms most of the time has not been as much of an adjustment for us as we thought it might be when we first began our nomadic existence. The most important inner adjustment we had to make was to begin calling every room we stayed in “home”. This shift in perspective brought about an attitude change too: mostly we now feel at home wherever we are.
Photo of the day: Best recycling ever! From a distance Don thought these round things were big metal cooking pots. I thought they were big clay cooking pots. It turns out they’re public garbage bins made from old tires. Way to go Cambodia! India take note!
All words and images by Alison Louise Armstrong unless otherwise noted.
© Alison Louise Armstrong and Adventures in Wonderland – a pilgrimage of the heart, 2010-2015.