Our accommodation in Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia.
People always ask me about I decide on which country or city to travel to next, but the truth is that my selections are often based on what I estimate the total trip cost will be. I usually have an idea of how much I can/want to spend, so it’s simple arithmetic:
Cost of getting there + Cost of lodging and food + Cost of activities and/or entrance fees to monuments/museums/other touristic sites
To cut costs on the “getting there” part of the equation, I typically try to travel in the region I’m living in at that moment — tickets are naturally cheaper when you travel closer to home. This then means that when I lived in London, I travelled extensively in mainland Europe — it was just logical since the abundance of low-cost European air carriers (think Ryan Air, Norwegian Air, Easy Jet, etc) enabled me to fly to most places on the continent on the cheap. With a few notable exceptions (our trip to Peru being one, my trip to India being another), I didn’t stray too far from my home base, all in the name of saving money on expensive plane tickets.
At any rate, I tell you all this because one of the main reasons we chose to vacation in the Balkans this past summer is that we knew it would be cost effective, especially when it came to lodging. This area of Europe is still regenerating itself after a long period of political and economic strife, so prices are still low (though expect them to rise astronomically as the countries in the region accede to the European Union). We stayed in really nice, affordable places during our jaunt in Montenegro, Bosnia, and Croatia, and in the interest of sharing my finds with my fellow travellers, I figured I would detail them here.
Name: D & Sons Apartments
How much we paid: $101 USD/night
We spent three nights in this large two bedroom apartment located in Kotor’s Old Town. Though we ate all of our meals at local eateries, it was comforting to know that we had the option of making our own food in the fully equipped kitchen. It was just Liebling and I, but apartment sleeps up to four people.
Name: Shangri La
How much we paid: $68 USD/night
This was by far the best deal on accommodation we got the whole trip! Our room was newly renovated and so nice! My only complaint was that the wifi was absolutely terrible.
(Note: we stayed in two different hotels in Dubrovnik)
Name of Hotel #1: Apartments Dalmatino
How much we paid: $122 USD/night
This place was modern, beautiful, and secluded. However, beware: Dalmatino located in Lapad beach area of Dubrovnik, making it a 15 minute or so bus ride from the old town (and thus, most of Dubrovnik’s touristic sites).
Name of Hotel #2: Villa Sigurata
How much we paid: $163 USD/night
We spent the last night of our vacation in this hotel, situated right in the thick of Dubrovnik’s old town. While the location was stellar, I didn’t love the place: after revelling in fantastically cheap and spacious accommodation the other nights of the trip, this place felt small and too expensive by comparison. Still, the owners were very nice and our room was clean and newly renovated.
Notes on how we source and choose accommodation
+ We scour TripAdvisor and spend hours poring over reviews, particularly focusing on the pictures that guests at the hotel have taken.
+ When we finally find a hotel we like check rates on booking sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, Agoda, and Booking.com. Usually the prices are pretty much the same but every once in a while one of the sites will have a better deal.
+ Before booking through one of the sites above, we always check the hotel’s website (if they have one) to see if they have lower rates. While it’s highly unlikely that they do, it’s always good to check, just in case.
+ Location, location, location. As a rule, especially on a shorter trip, we try to stay in areas that are close to all the tourist attractions.
+When Liebling and I travel together, we tend to stay at nicer places — hotels and B&Bs in the 4-star range. However, staying in a newer hotel or B&B ALWAYS trumps staying in an older construction, even if the older hotel has a higher star rating. I am obsessed with cleanliness and hygiene in hotel rooms and somehow it is more comforting to me to know that, if a place is newer, less people have slept in my room, used the toilet, touched the doorknob, etc. Sadly, hotels are a hotbed for germs.
How important are price, location, and amenities when you are selecting a place to stay on your travels?