Why we stay where we stay

We gave up the lease on our apartment, gave away most of our stuff, and have been traveling the last 884 days. (Wow!) People are concerned about us. No home? They shake their heads. For us, home is where we stay. So, how do we choose where we’ll set our suitcases down, get a good night’s sleep, and call home?

As we plotted the regions or towns where we wanted to be for each season, we spent time looking at options for accommodations. Years ago we planned a long weekend in Bermuda and heeded smart advice that warned us of the necessity to find a place to stay BEFORE booking a flight. Good, affordable places to stay on Bermuda are not always easy to come by. How true! An important lesson we now use for all future travel.

SSCN0382-Joe in door

We loved Bermuda’s hospitable Salt Kettle House.

We plan our travel route early, and that means reserving wonderful places to stay well in advance. When we say wonderful, you might presume fancy, luxurious, and pricey. That’s not what we mean. We mean wonderful for us, which for us means fitting our needs simply.

Destinations worth a visit for a week – or two or three

When we took shorter trips, years ago when our kids were school-age and we had jobs, we’d often say, “Hey, we could be very happy staying here longer.” Now, in retirement, we can and do stay longer. Staying in one place for an extended time broadens, rather than restricts, what we can see on a trip. We’re relaxed, have time to enjoy our new “home”, to enjoy shopping in local markets, and to go “home” then to cook meals with a regional flavor. We also save money and time by limiting our travel days.

We stayed in an apartment in Cairns, Australia. We found a surprising number of foods new to us. Moreton Bay bugs?

We stayed in an apartment in Cairns, Australia. We found a surprising number of foods new to us. Moreton Bay bugs?

Key to our being happy is finding the right place to stay. We usually turn to AirBnB. Our criteria include a central location (so we can walk to everything we need), a kitchen, good wifi, a price that fits our budget, and top marks in reviews by previous guests. In Southeast Asia and Africa, we found hotels and restaurants very affordable.

DSC00051

Here’s what a $26/night hotel room looked like at Golden Temple Villa in Siem Reap, Cambodia (Dec 2013).  Did I mention that price included a hearty breakfast and free use of bicycles? We’d love to go back for a month.

Yes, we know it’s not everyone’s desire to sleep outside in a little two-person tent under the stars, but we also choose to camp on some of our trips.   We enjoy visiting places where the very best (and sometimes only) way to experience breath-taking vistas is to pitch a tent.

A great place to camp: Big Bend National Park, Texas

A great place to camp: Big Bend National Park, Texas

Great places worthy of a few days stop along the way

Our travel style is based on stays of several weeks. In order to get from one of these longer stay destinations to the next, we pull up a map and look at possible routes to connect them. We stayed in Crete for a month last year and planned our next stop for 3 weeks in Madeira, a Portuguese island off the African coast. The best way to fly was through Rome. Why not stop off in Rome? We determined we could afford (just barely) 5 nights in a little hotel not too far off the beaten path.

On our road trip across Texas, we stopped for a few days, first to visit friends in Houston and then our first visit to cousins in Wimberley. The visits were short and very sweet – making our drive across the mega-sized state of Texas memorable and a lot more interesting.

We stayed at the Gage Hotel, in Marathon, Texas – an old hotel built in 1927 by rancher Alfred Gage and designed by Henry Trost.

We stayed at the Gage Hotel, in Marathon, Texas – an old hotel built in 1927 by rancher Alfred Gage and designed by Henry Trost.

A quick overnight stay

Sometimes the best way in the US to get from point A to point B is to hop in a car and take a road trip for a few days, stopping each night in a new motel. What do we look for in an overnight motel stay? If the reviews are good-to-great we try to book a less expensive motel that still meets our requirements. So far, so good!

We plan ahead where we’re staying so that we balance our time between driving and scenic stops. Usually, we drive no more than 3 or 4 hours a day.

We stopped at Montezuma Castle for the afternoon on our drive from Phoenix to Flagstaff, Arizona.

We stopped at Montezuma Castle for the afternoon on our drive from Phoenix to Flagstaff, Arizona.

We consider where we stay one of the most important aspects of our travelling life – after all, for us, where we stay is home to us. We’d never leave where we live to chance or luck. Careful planning has rewarded us with some fabulous homes, wouldn’t you agree?

 

 

May 2015

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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12 Responses to Why we stay where we stay

  1. Merrill says:

    Thanks for stopping by Meet You in the Morning. Glad I found your blog; I can learn a lot from you! We’re just getting started on our travels – and are headed to Portugal and the UK next and then Spain. The advance planning is so hard, I like to be flexible, but we really need to slow it down! Do you discuss the Schengen Issue on your blog?

  2. terence says:

    completely agree that staying in a place for an extended period of time will give you a very different experience from location-hopping! I especially love the opportunity to pick up the local languages!

  3. John says:

    Great blog. We took a year off and find advance planning for Accomodation essential for comfortable stays. Currently in Cambodia and off for 9 days to Siem Reap.

  4. icelandpenny says:

    Love your values, love how you act on them.

  5. You’re giving new meaning to ‘home is where the heart is’! Bruce and I were talking about this just last night. It’s interesting that good planning is a big part of what make your travels so do-able. Food for thought as we consider longer stay-aways. Many thanks.
    …and yes, I know that stay-away is my term, not yours! 🙂

  6. cindy knoke says:

    Yes I agree wholeheartedly!

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