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Here we offer some different ideas and options when it comes to your accommodations. Be open to new experiences and trying things on your own that you may not initially be comfortable with. Think adventure…the more you do different from the norm, the more you travel experience will be one to remember and share with others.
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Accommodations - Search & Booking Pre-Travel  Transportation

To properly research your accommodations, you need to know what to search for.  The typical traveler will immediately go to the standard hotel websites searching for places to stay...and this is completely acceptable.  However, if you want to get more out of your travels and are open to new and different experiences, there are several different alternatives to consider for your accommodations.

Our goal is not to provide a list of links to popular websites for you to click and search for your accommodations, but rather to provide alternatives to the normal thought process when it comes to researching your accommodations.  Wherever you are going and plan to stay, look for opportunities to do something different and adventurous...something out of the ordinary that will give you a story to tell.

You can always try something different like staying in a Bed & Breakfast or even a Hostel for a night (Hostels are not just for teenagers backpacking their way across Europe).  Think of it this way, if you stayed in typical hotel chains everywhere you went, you wouldn't have much of a story to tell.

On a trip through Germany, we planned to arrive in Stuttgart one evening where we would stay the night.  We had selected a hotel not far from the tourist area and shopping district.  The plan was to check in to the hotel, find a place for dinner, walk around a little then retire early for the evening and a good night's sleep before heading out early the next morning to our next destination.  We simply wanted a cheap hotel for the night and that is what we got.  The room was nothing special but the beds were comfortable and we had a good nights sleep.  If you notice in the photo on the left, the shelf above the beds is hardly attached to the wall and hanging at an angle.  In fact, the shelf was so loose that we both decide to sleep with our heads at the opposite end of the beds just in case it happened to fall.  The other photo shows the train stop that was directly outside our room window; this was not the quietest hotel we had ever stayed at.  The room was cheap and served it's purpose.  Looking back, we would probably not stay here again, but it did give us an interesting story to tell.  On this same trip, we stayed at several different hotels and hostels in multiple locations, some very nice, some average and some not so nice.  Travel is all about the experience and the memories you make, so keep that in mind when booking your accommodations or the next time your hotel is not exactly what you expected.

Hotel in Stuttgart Germany with Train Stop directly below our room

Be sure to read our Travel Skills Tips & Tricks where you will find detailed information related to Accommodations including Hotels, Bed & Breakfast and Hostels.

Our Search & Pricing page will give you an idea of how different websites obtain and offer their fares.

Unlisted Mom & Pop Hotels

You may run across small, charming mom and pop hotels as you travel.  These may be family owned places that only accept cash and are run on a tight budget.  They may not be listed with other companies to avoid paying additional fees and commissions on sales.  The only way you may ever find these places is by word of mouth, their own personal website found in an internet search, someone posted a comment about them in their blog or you simply stumble across the hotel while you are on your travels. 

If you happen to run across an interesting place in a location you plan to visit again in the future, it may be worth stopping in and checking them out.  Get their contact information such as their address, phone and email so that in the future, you may contact them to make a reservation.

An good example of this is shown below for a hotel we found in Rothenburg Germany.

Researching your accommodations

  1. Start by checking Aggregator Websites such as, Momondo, Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotwire, etc. where you will find prices combined from multiple vendors displayed in a single location.  You may be able to book directly on their website or will be redirected to the actual vendor's website to complete your booking.
  2. Once you have found a price you are interested in, it's still worth checking the source to be sure you have found the best deal available.  For example, if you have found a hotel deal on visit the hotel's Website directly to confirm you have found the best deal.  There may be better deals or options that were not listed on the Trivago website.
  3. Before booking your hotel, you may want to consider looking in the same area for a Bed and Breakfast.  Often with a B&B you will have a more personalized and intimate experience compared to that of a typical hotel chain.
  4. If you are on a strict budget or looking for a different experience, search for Hostels instead of a hotel.
  5. You may also want to consider Specialty Hotels on occasion such as spending a night in a castle.

Be sure to consider your hotel's location and read our tips on Local Area Maps before you make your booking.  Try to find places that are easily accessible from your arrival point and are conveniently located to your planned activities.

Topic Details
Hotel Searches Of all the hotel booking websites, is still probably our favorite when searching for hotels in most locations.  The exception may be for specialty or small family owned hotels described below. has a deal that if you purchase a total of 10 nights, you will get get one night free.  They will average what you have spent on your 10 nights for the amount of your free night.  The catch is, you must use your free night, or purchase another night within a year of your last purchase or you will loose it.

Be sure to read our page on Hotel Tips & Tricks

Hotel - Rothenburg, Germany
Hotel Altfraenkischen Weinstube
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany


While exploring the town of Rothenburg, we stumbled upon this small hotel.  We were not able to stay there on our first trip, but were able to make a dinner reservation one evening.  The food was delicious and was one of the best meals we had during our entire trip.

Since that first trip, we have stayed here several times on return trips and always make a dinner reservation for one night during our stay.  We have told others who were going to Rothenburg to stay there or make dinner reservations and they always return saying it was one of the best meals they had during their entire trip as well.

To request either a hotel or dinner reservation, contact them directly through email.  They will replay back with a confirmation if available.

To avoid any confusion, be sure to print your email confirmation and bring it with you when you arrive.

Hotel Exterior Steak & Hunter's Schnitzel

Specialty Hotels As you research your travels, you may want to consider something other than your typical hotel.  You may have to spend slightly more for a specialty type hotel, but they can be well worth the extra expense.

On a trip where we were planning to drive through the Rhine and Mosel River Valleys, we had the idea of staying a night in a castle along the Rhine if possible.

We searched on Google: Rhine River Castle Hotels and found a list of castles where it's possible to stay the night.

Based on the location and our trip itinerary, we settled on the Hotel Castle Leibenstein.

The castle is the highest castle in the Middle Rhine Valley in Germany.  The castle contains a small family run hotel where you will enjoy medieval ambience.  It's located by the town of Kamp-Bornhofen and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

Reservations can be made made via email and details are on the website link below.

Castle Website:

We stayed at the hotel for a one night and this was probably the coolest hotel we stayed at during our entire trip.  We also reserved a special dinner for two which was well worth the price.

Photos show the castle, main banquet room, view of the Rhine River from our room and the dinner for two.

We recommend the dinner for two as it was one of the best meals we had the entire trip.  You must request the dinner at the time you make your reservation.

Hostels Hostels have come a long way from years ago when they were primarily for teenagers backpacking their way across Europe.  Now you run into people of all ages.  There may be different options available such as a private room, private bathroom, family rooms, dorm room style sleeping arrangements, or rooms limited to just a couple beds.

We have found rates as low as 15 Euros/night for a shared room with a shared bathroom.  At times during major events when hotels across town are booked, your may find that hostels are also full and their rates may be quite a bit higher.  This was our experience when we stayed at a hostel in Munich during Oktoberfest.

Be sure to read our page on Hostel Tips & Tricks

Bed & Breakfast Although most hotels will include breakfast or at least breakfast for an additional fee, you can always expect a good meal when staying at a B&B.  As most B&Bs are independently owned and run by people out of their homes, the rooms will be nice and clean.  Breakfast should include a selection of cold food like cereal, juice, fruit, meats, cheeses, breads, etc. and some places will offer a basic home made hot cooked meal.  Each B&B will be different and have their own charm.  We have found owners to be nice and often interested in where we are from and where we are going.

In some locations, owners may not speak English, but don't let that be a deterrent.  You may have to be creative to get your point across and do your best to understand, but it's all part of the adventure.

B&Bs are nice alternatives, so be sure to read our page on Bed & Breakfast Tips & Tricks