When I was younger and my family traveled more often, we typically stayed in beautiful hotels all over the world. But a few times we were fortunate enough to experience lodging at a B&B. The first Bed & Breakfast I remember staying in was in New Zealand. It was Christmas time, which meant warm weather in New Zealand, and my sister and I were able to have the experience of waking up in a home on Christmas morning instead of a hotel room. We had grown accustomed to traveling during Christmas, but it felt special to experience the intimacy of a home cooked meal and a Christmas tree on December 25th. Plus, this couple had wild horses and sheep roaming their vast acres of land.
These days, plenty of alternatives exist to staying in hotels while traveling. Air BnB, HomeAway and Couchsurfing all offer an apartment, home or futon. Perhaps I’m a bit nostalgic for my childhood, but I still enjoy the B&B experience. Not only, is it a cost-effective alternative to a hotel, but it’s a more intimate experience for the social butterfly types. If you tend to be a grumpy recluse in the morning, you may have some issues with the, sometimes forced, pleasantries. The best part of B&Bs…breakfast is included! Breakfast, the glorious breakfast. Usually there is enough food to fill you up through lunch. If there isn’t, some B&Bs even leave out a spread of free snacks, coffee and tea to enjoy throughout the day.
B&Bs are also an advantage when you’re staying in smaller towns or remote areas. The owners tend to be friendly with businesses in town and you can sometimes get discounts because you’re staying at a B&B. If they don’t have discounts, your proprietor tends to be friendlier, and perhaps more knowledgeable, than the concierge at a hotel. Unless of course it’s Concierge Marie.
These days I’ve experienced B&Bs in Vermont and Canada. And let me tell you, when they leave out free food, I certainly get my money’s worth! Finally, if you stay at a B&B remember Dwight Schrute’s immortal words: “TripAdvisor is the lifeblood of the B&B industry” so review your B&B. Special bonus: Schrute Farms has a real TripAdvisor page!
Where do you tend to stay while traveling? Do you have a favorite B&B?