When it comes to places to stay, some people can overlook the less conventional options. Besides saving a ton of money, opting for free digs also opens opportunities for new friendships, fascinating encounters and hilarious stories. When we visited Perth, Australia, we found these things in abundance. Here we present a guide to three of our favourite alternatives to hostels, hotels and Airbnb. House sitting House sitting can seem like quite a strange concept. Also known as pet sitting (most “assignments” include animals to take care of), the deal is that homeowners find trustworthy strangers to come and take care of their property (and pets) while they go on vacation. Fido/Felix aren’t sent to expensive, stressful kennels, the owners get peace of mind knowing everything is well-cared for and and you get a free place to stay! There are numerous websites that allow hosts and sitters alike to sign up, log in and search for a good match. We used https://www.aussiehousesitters.com.au/ to find gigs in Western Australia, but there are global ones too, such as https://www.trustedhousesitters.com and https://www.nomador.com/. Sites usually charge a reasonable yearly membership fee, giving you access to potential house-sits all over Australia (and with the latter two, the rest of the world). It’s also important to get some reliable, sterling references, so that homeowners can see you’re the ideal candidates to look after their pets. We recommend starting with a few from friends whose animals you’ve cared for, then after a couple of actual assignments you should have the ideal pet-sitter’s resume; it won’t be long before homeowners are contacting you to come and sit for them! It’s worth noting that this exchange relies of faith in humanity rather than any sort of monetary transaction. We’ve heard of sites that charge both homeowners and sitters, but in our experience, it’s better to avoid accepting payment as it changes the dynamics of the relationship. This deal is all about trust and mutual generosity, not a service just to gain free digs. A word of advice: Try organising Skype conversations with your potential sits too, as it gives you a better idea of what to expect. We speak from experience when we say that not all house-sitting assignments are a walk in the park… But generally speaking, pet sitting has been a wonderful, fruitful experience for the two of us and in our blog post “Why pet sitting is perfect for travelling animal lovers”, we go into greater detail about why we still look after animals all over the world. Couch surfing Another way to make new friends and have a more soulful travelling experience is to try couch surfing. Some people claim that the website and its concept plateaued in the mid-2000s, but we recently did it in Perth and can vouch for the community’s size and popularity both there and the rest of the world. Travellers can sign up to http://www.couchsurfing.com and create a profile, then search the database for thousands of like-minded people who are offering a place to stay, free of charge. The accommodation isn’t always a couch, either; most hosts offer a private room to sleep in, and have had so many guests stay in their home that they are very well prepared when it comes to hospitality for their sofa-surfers. To bag a decent place to crash, it’s crucial to have an honest, interesting profile and the intention of genuinely wanting to engage with the host. Members want to feel that they’re inviting someone fun, interesting and considerate into their home, so a blank or vague profile is bound to be unappealing. Another thing to remember is to engage with them in online conversation before you show up, asking questions related to their own profile and travel experiences, to see if you would get along in person. It’s important to read their profiles carefully, as some hosts have certain stipulations, such as individual guests only, or a specific gender preference. If all this sounds a little bit kinky, you’re right to be apprehensive. There are a few couch surfer hosts who besmirch the concept with a hint of seediness, although it will be fairly obvious from their profiles if they are looking for more than just a conversation about travel. Look out for “naked sleepers” or “share a bed” in the tags, and stay well clear if sexual adventures aren’t a part of your agenda. Site moderation also helps surfers to stay safe, and there’s a whole section on the website devoted to it, so it’s simple to find the right kind of social experience for you. We stayed with a friendly, fascinating German couple who lived in downtown Perth. They had hosted hundreds of surfers and provided us with a very comfortable private room and even our own bathroom, which goes to prove how well-equipped and generous some hosts can be. We learned about their work in Alice Springs, their conservation efforts all over the globe and got to know Perth a little better thanks to their guidance as locals, which is what couch surfing is truly all about. WWOOFing/WorkAway If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and chipping in to help with physical tasks, this third method of finding free accommodation in Western Australia will certainly suit you. Whether you want to help an eco-tourism company in Broome or try landscape gardening next to the Margaret River, there’s a variety of work to be found in Western Australia. With websites like http://www.wwoof.com.au/ (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) and https://www.workaway.info/ travellers can find ideal hosts to live with in exchange for a few hours of work per day. Like couch surfing and house sitting, registration with the websites allows you to search a database of ideal locations, accommodation, hosts and employment. From large organic farms to private smallholdings, you can help people who don’t have enough workers, or those who can’t do the work themselves, such as the disabled or the elderly – it’s a very positive, productive way of travelling. Our note of caution with working in exchange for accommodation is to be sure you understand the work involved. This isn’t just so that you are sure of fulfilling your requested duties, but also to safeguard against employers who might take advantage of their free workers! Fortunately, the websites we’ve listed in this post list vetted hosts and offer plenty of advice and support, which should protect you from any unscrupulous farmers. With a great profile, excellent communication and the right attitude, “WWOOFers” and “Workawayers” can find meaningful encounters with the locals of an area. If walking someone else’s dogs on the beach, going on graffiti trails with couch surfer hosts or picking oranges near Perth sounds like a unique way to spend a vacation, take a look at the links in this post and give it a go. You’ll be rewarded with more than just a free roof over your head. Byline: This post was written by Mark J Newton, one half of the artistic duo the Escape Artists 11:11. He and his partner Nate Evans have been living a nomadic lifestyle since 2014 but have only recently begun to document their travels. To learn more about life and work while being location-independent (and what 11:11 means to them!), head to their site www.escapeartists1111.co.uk.
Finding life’s little bargain is what every individual searches for in desperate times to save those extra dollars. Whether it is finding a great deal on eBay, discounted goods in a supermarket or in this instance, coming across the best budget hotels at your intended destination for your next holiday.
Everyone has their own personal budget in mind, there are those who can splurge on a five-star resort where money is of little issue, and those who need to keep their accommodation cost to a minimum in hope they can find that hidden gem and have a little money in reserve for spending.
Less money doesn’t necessarily mean you need to find some broken down hotel with hollow walls, rude staff members and a creaky old bed, far from it. Finding the best budget hotel is actually a simple process that requires absolutely no skill whatsoever. It’s a matter of doing your research, narrowing down the options and picking a winner.
How to Find the Best Budget Hotels
Hotel Search Engines
There is a tonne of hotel search engines out there and quite often the prices do vary from one to the other. Even if the amount seems minimal at the time, the costs can begin to tally when you add five or seven nights to the equation.
Doing your homework on a variety of hotels is an important part of finding the right deal. Jump on to the computer and check out the various search engines such as Booking.com, Expedia or Hotels.com to name a few and start comparing. I bet you may even have a little fun while exploring potential hotels as you countdown the days to your holiday.
TripAdvisor is every traveller’s favourite companion. It is the most proficient way check hotel ratings, read reviews of thousands of real guests who have stayed at those particular hotels, scope pictures from real travellers and even find your own potential bargain with the TripAdvisor price check.
TripAdvisor is here to help millions of travellers worldwide, utilise it, take in the tips and secure your hotel without fear of mind. Keeping it mind at the same time, what works with others may not work for you.
Read Customer Reviews
Customer reviews and ratings is the best way to get an experience of a hotel without actually having been there. Reviews like you see on Booking.com and TripAdvisor are meaningful, honest reviews from guest who have in fact stayed at that hotel and who love to brag about their experience whether it is good or bad. Especially the negative experiences which will often make their way into the review area more often than not.
On most reputable hotel search engines, there is an average customer score from guest who have rated their hotel experience out of ten. If you study various hotels at your destinations, you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll find that two or three-star hotel that has a high average rating and there is a good chance it will be an adequate hotel for you.
What does the Hotels offer?
Does the hotel or resort have what you are after? For instance, if required, does the hotel offer airport transfers? If needed, does the hotel provide free parking? Do you get a complimentary daily breakfast or an afternoon tea?
Even when you think are paying more, perhaps you are actually saving, because the more expensive hotel may offer a necessity that you require over the other hotel which is a little cheaper in price but has no frills.
Every traveller has their ideal wish list and when searching for that perfect hotel it is important to know what the hotel offers and the facilities they have. Personal desires that may be important, such as swimming pools, a personal gym and Day Spa. Check off all the pros and cons before booking your hotel.
Location, Location, Location
An important bit of detail when searching for the right hotel is the location. Is the hotel close to shops or do you need to fork out $20 for a taxi ride to the nearest attraction?
Know what you are paying for, because you are hardly saving any money if have pay for a taxi every time you leave the hotel because it’s too far by foot. Location is pivotal and it’s important to know the surrounds before booking. Check if the hotels is close to shops, banks and restaurants.
While being in the heart of a city is not always ideal or preferred, you do want to make sure that you are not completely isolated from the action.
On a recent trip to Bangkok, Thailand, I needed a quick transit stay that was not too far from the airport and I didn’t want to break the bank account. I did my homework, I went on to Booking.com and searched for prices for hotels in the area. Sure, I could have stayed at the airport and paid a fortune at their own hotels without going through customs, but no, I found the perfect transit hotel that was only a five-minute drive from the airport, The Thong Ta Resort.
The Resort offered a complimentary shuttle bus to and from the airport, it had free breakfast and the locations was perfect with markets and restaurants nearby. The best bit however was the cost, only $30 a night, and I found this bargain all because I did my research and studied the reviews.
If you are a traveller seeking the best value for money, do your research and you too will be able to find the best budget hotels that will suit your own personal desires.
Some links in this article may contain affiliate links, therefore if you click on it and make a purchase, I could receive a little income. Don't worry though, it will not come at further expense for the customer. Happy travels.
The Nannup Hideaway Spa Cottages and Retreat is one of the most picturesque pieces of accommodation you will find in the South West of Western Australia. From the great Bush that surrounds the cottages, to the Deluxe suites at the big house, you will see in picture why Nannup Hideaway is the ideal choice of stay for couple or families. It is a hideaway where good times are made and memories are created.
Be Mesmerised in the Australian Bush
The Australian Bush is what you first notice at the time you drive into the Nannup Hideaways Spa Cottages and Retreat. Taking the drive into the woods along the gravel road all the way to the big house, you will be mesmerised by the nature and the bush around. It is fair to begin this gallery with some great outdoor shots of Nannup Hideaway.
The Hidden Spa Cottages
The two cottages at Nannup Hideaway are neat and cosy. Whether it is the Treetops Cottage or the Jarrahwood Cottage, both come with stunning scenic views. You will enjoy the fact that the cottages are hidden and that privacy is maintained away from the busy world, your only neighbours will be the surrounding wildlife.
Enjoy the benefits the benefits the cottages have to offer, each comes with a kitchen, private bathroom, queen beds, a wood fire, television and a wonderful deck with stunning views and private spa that will help to make your stay even more memorable.
The Jarrahwood Cottage
The Treetop Cottage
The Deluxe Suits at the Big House
At the big house, where the reception is also located, you will find comfortable suites that are ideal for couples. The suites come with a comfortable queen bed, common kitchen, bathrooms, television and a large sharing balcony that creates even better views of the surrounding Hideaway.
If that is not enough, wander the grounds of Nannup Hideaway Spa Cottages and Retreat and take in the fresh outdoors with a visit into the bush, perhaps take in some yoga or a sauna, or simply relax with a glass of your favourite wine. The choice is yours.
Imagine staying in a place so peaceful that the only disturbance you will ever find is from the cool crisp breeze amid the stunning nature. Or perhaps you will get a flicker of noise courtesy of the Australian wildlife that is quietly rustling in the outside bush. Imagine no more, because at Nannup Hideaway Spa Cottages and Retreat that is the only disturbance you’ll ever have to worry about.
There is no big city noise, or the manic traffic flowing through area, neither will you find overcrowded people gathering near your doorstep while you are trying to relax. At Nannup Hideaway, you are so far secluded from the real world that sometimes you will think you are in a dream. Not quite, instead you are living in reality amongst the stunning backdrop of valley in the distance.
It is Nannup Hideaway and it is breathtaking.
Getting to Nannup Hideaway
The Hideaways may be a little out of the way, but it is a pleasant drive through South West region as you explore farms, wineries and lush forests on the down. Nannup Hideaway is approximately three-hours from Perth, Western Australia, and situated off the scenic Balingup-Nannup Road, which is accessible either from the Vasse Highway in Nannup, or off the South West Highway in Balingup.
Enter through the Forest
Taking the turn off into Nannup hideaway off the Balingup-Nannup road, keep an eye out for the signs that will lead you to your destination. Drive over the slim access bridge that takes you onto the gravel roads, it is at that moment you know that you are heading into pure nature. From there take beaten track through the forest, all the way to The Hideaways. Keep a look out for the wildlife as there is a strong chance you will encounter a few emus and kangaroos on the drive in, before you know will have reached the cottages at the Nannup hideaway. Let the privacy begin.
Feel at home in the cottages
The cottages are spaced apart, so there will be no disturbance and privacy is well maintained. On the outside, there is an antique look as if you are heading back fifty years in the days of cosy wooden houses with a pleasant hint of crisp freshness from the nature around you. Once on the inside the cottages, your first memory will be of the gorgeous valley that hits your vision once you take that first step inside. It is breathtaking, and you’ll appreciate the view once again when you step outside onto the deck, but more on that later.
There is a choice of two cottages at Nannup Hideaway, the Jarrahwood or treetops cottage. The Jarrahwood is perfect for a family stay, queen- size bed and two single beds in a separate room. The treetops cottage is perfect to rekindle the love that accommodates a queen-size bed and makes it perfect to snuggle up-close with your loved one. Both cottages have a stunning interior edge that comes with a full kitchen, lounge with television, bathroom, air-conditioning and a woodfire which will come in handy during the cool winter months.
For dining at the Hideaways, you have a few choices, you can bring your own food and cook up a feed I the kitchen or out on the deck where a barbeque awaits you. You can drive into the Nannup for a counter meal at lunch at a few selected pubs or café’s. Lastly you can order food from the Hideaway itself, whether it is a breakfast or cheese platter to have with the wine, the options are aplenty.
The action will happen on the deck
With all the luxuries that you have inside the cottage, the lure will still be towards the deck. Not only because you will be greeted with the mesmerising view of the open green valley, out on the private deck you can grill up a famous Aussie BBQ, relax with a glass of red and a good book on the lounge or enjoy the comforts of a warm spa with the sounds the Australian nature close by. Not to mention the stunning sunrise that will greet you when you wake up in the morning.
Perfect for families even better for couples
A family fun trip or a romantic getaway? The choice is yours as Nannup Hideaway has you covered either way.
For families, there is plenty of interests for both adults and kids. You can go bush walking deep into the forest and keep a close eye out for the wildlife, play board games that are supplied in the cottage (twister will get a work out), watch a movie or two from the DVD collection, or tell stories by the firewood late into the night.
For couples, everything is straight forward when in need to rekindle the romance. Nature, peace, a cosy cottage and a spa on the deck, it really does speak for itself when it comes to romantic getaway, just don’t forget the wine.
Stay at the Executive or Deluxe Suits
Another cosy area that is situated at the big house, while there may be no spas on the balcony for you, it still offers everything else that the Spa Cottages give you. In the main house, there are fou separate bedrooms, a balcony and plenty of wilderness to give you that memorable stay at Nannup Hideaway.
Come along for a Wellness Retreat
The Retreat is popular with guest who are visiting Nannup Hideaways in a large group and offers a home away from home and can accommodate group for those seeking a different kind of stay, while still provided with comfortable rooms and, you guessed it, the famous valley views from the spacious balcony outside the room.
There is plenty of activities on offer with the retreat, you can participate in yoga classes provided in the yoga room, take in a sauna session that gets plenty of use in the winter stay, squeeze in a relaxing massage, enjoy delicious home cooked meals, experience a bush walk with the owner and simply unwind in the comforts of the nature around.
For more information on the retreats or packages, contact Leisa Harding at Nannup Hideaway.
Fair Dinkum traveller’s verdict
For peace and quiet, serenity and the perfect getaway in the Australian Bush, it really doesn’t get much better than Nannup Hideaway. The cottages are well maintained, the deck is incredible, the views are stunning and the incredible nature is just waiting for you to visit. If Nannup is calling in the South West of Western Australia, Nannup Hideaway Spa Cottages and Retreats is the perfect place to come and unwind.
Want to stay at Nannup Hideaway? Check Out TripAdvisor for reviews.
The convenience of the Thong Ta Resort cannot be underestimated with this boutique resort literally being a stone throw away from the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, it makes the perfect transit resort to spend a night or two in the fine confines of this suitable accommodation at a budget price.
The Shuttle Bus
Getting to the resort from the Suvarnabhumi Airport is as simple as riding a bike. Once you make your way out of customs, make your way to gate 3 to 4, and in-between you will see bunch of guys carrying signs to certain hotels. Find the sign that says Thong Ta Resort, with in a moment you are in a shuttle bus and five-minutes later you are at the resort.
Even better, upon your return to the airport, the same shuttle bus will return you to the airport free of charge.. The shuttle buses leave the resort every half hour over the 24-hour period.
The Thong Ta Resort
The Thong Ta Resort has the basic facilities but at the price you could let it pass for luxury. It is surrounded with lovely gardens, decorated artwork spread out the resort, a neat restaurant which serves daily breakfast, a spa centre and a souvenir store to buy that little piece of Thailand.
The Thong Ta Rooms
The Thong Ta rooms are large with plenty of space to move about, and it comes with comfortable bedding so you can enjoy a good night sleep while in transit. Whatever amount of beds required, depending on the amount of travellers, you’ll have no such issues in finding the a suitable size, even if you do need to purchase an extra room. It won’t break the bank.
Inside the room amenities include, tea and coffee, air conditioner, cable television with about a hundred channels, a private bathroom, slippers and a dressing gown to rug up in the evening. Thong Ta even provide a convenient room service facility with a menu of various cuisines.
Around the Resort
Even though the resort is still a little way from the action of the city, there is still plenty of life going on around the resort, with an abundance of food stalls, drinking bars and restaurants to afford a decent meal and local beer. If you seek a little relaxation therapy and shopping, you’ll find plenty of massage parlours and market stalls that are commonly found within Bangkok, Thailand.
Even if you do want to make it to the heart ofBangkok, and time allows it, grab a city tour through the resort and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the big city.
It is the perfect transit resort, simple as that, and even if you are seeking a few nights stay in Bangkok, you won’t go wrong at the Thong Ta Resort. It is clean, convenient and most of all, an affordable resort that is situated close to Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Want to stay at Thong Ta Resort? Check out TripAdvisor for reviews.
Bali – a holiday destination so unbelievable that choosing an ideal location, while fun can also be a little stressful. Questions fly through your head, is that resort right for me? Is the dining ideal? What is the customer service like? Or is the resort in an ideal location?
So many questions and so many reviews to look at. Some people give rave reviews, others such negative reviews and on the very same resort. That wonderful app of TripAdvisor where everyone’s point of view is different. There is no right and wrong answer, it is just the way people think. Opinions differentiate.
Talking about point of views, how about I throw in my two cents. I have been fortunate enough to stay in some magnificent resorts/villas throughout various countries, including Bali. And whether it is on the beach or in the beautiful rice fields, these four resorts or villas will make your Bali stay that much more enjoyable.
The Sakala Resort
- Where is it: In the Tanjung Benoa area of Bali and on the doorstep of Nusa Dua. The Sakala Resort is in a quieter part of Bali, that is famous for its adventure on Beach. The resort is only about twenty minutes from the Airport.
- The features: The stunning Sakala Resort contains large rooms, fabulous dinning and swimming pools that are surrounded in tropical gardens with great pool bars to sip down a few cocktails in the Bali sun. The Wellness Spa is also incredible experience that needs your time. Relax, be pampered, and enjoy an incredible massage in gorgeous rooms. The Sakala is your 5-star resort and is worth the dollars you will spend during your stay.
- Dining Experience: Two amazing restaurants that will have you licking your plate clean. One on the resort side where breakfast, lunch and dinner is served, with delicious local and International cuisines.
Then cross the road for a different dining experience altogether. The Sakala Restaurant not only has a fine-dining area, but a sparkling swimming pool, with deck chairs to enjoy the views of the nearby beach.
Alaya Resort Ubud
- Where is it: Alaya Resort is smack bag in the middle of Ubud with plenty of action all around you ad only 200 metres from the Sacred Monkey Forest. The Alaya Resort is a good hour from the airport.
- The features: Great dining, spacious rooms and the Dala Spas are the main treats at the breathtaking Alaya Resort. Not to forget the boutique swimming pools that is surrounded by gorgeous landscaped gardens and rice fields. It makes it easy to unwind and take in the nature that you are surrounded in.
- Dining Experience: You will love the Alaya Resort dining experience with their pick of two tantalising restaurants. The Petani and Manisan. The Petani, is situated at the front of the resort and off the streets of Ubud, near the lobby. It has a lively vibe about it with some live entertainment during the evening and a menu that will have you spoilt for choices.
Then there is the Manisan. Tucked away in the middle of the lush rice fields, with the fabulous resort in full view. Serving divine Indonesian food, it is a great dining experience and even better with your loved one opposite to you.
- Where is it: Ellora Villas is situated in Sanur and close by to beautiful beaches. There is shopping, restaurants, and massage parlours all nearby. It is about 20 minutes from the airport or the popular Kuta area.
- The features: The feature is own your very own villa with a private pool. Great for families, with the two bedroom villas and even single room villas for those who require a little less space. You will have a perfect time at Ellora Villas with its large rooms, bathrooms and even a private kitchen area by the pool.
- Dining Experience: The Beach Café and Club is a small walk from the Villas and serves fine meals. The treat though is at breakfast time when you get your own personal chef to cook you up some excellent foods, such as waffles, eggs of your choice and pancakes to name a few. It is a five-star experience each and every day at Ellora.
- Where is it: Alaya Jembawan is tucked away in Ubud. A short drive from its sister resort, Alaya. While hidden away from the busy Ubud streets, you will still find many activities and boutique market stalls to find on the streets nearby.
- The features: It is a Wellness retreat for those looking for ultimate hideaway With only 38-rooms, you won’t get the large crowds that you get with some resorts. But you will get some rejuvenation for your body with the Dala Spa and daily yoga classes. Of course, there is the blissful swimming pools to occupy your time, be it in the water or sunbaking on the deck chairs.
- Dining Experience: Healthy eating only at Alaya Jembawan, in the laid-back Herb Library Restaurant. Mainly a vegan menu but it does have its selected choices of white meat. At the end of the day, the food is all good for and their juices, incredible.
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