The US is presumably one of the most noteworthy countries when it comes to travelling. It is picturesque, it is interesting, it is full of incredible things to do, and – what is important – it can be cheap. The following series of blogs aims at one question – how to travel every month with only the Fellow’s stipend in your hands? Based on my experience, it is more than possible – taken into account some budget tips.
One of them – how to find an accommodation (part 3). The last resorts
The previous parts are at https://bit.ly/2ELQz4L and https://bit.ly/2qgDeHW
6. Asking people
It happened to me several times – at Tijuana, at Maine and was about to happen in Seattle – but I found myself in an unknown city with twilights outside and no place to stay. It always can happen, and there is always a possibility that hotel cannot be an option for some reason. Since the moment when you realize you have this problem – you can (or even should) start asking.
Everyone. Everywhere. Speaking in a roundabout way. You will feel awkward, you will look awkward, you will sound awkward, but does it matter when you are in the middle of nowhere during the night? The good thing that Americans are pretty responsive people, and if you are lucky enough and does not look like a mugger – they can help.
It can be anyone – Uber driver, priest in church, waiter, receptionist, visitor center’s staff and – which I found the most useful – bartenders. Just have a nice conversation, wait for a question about what brought you here, explain your situation, asking whether he/she has any friend to host you for one night. It really can work. It requires luck, patience and straightforwardness, but it can really save you from the last available option which I describe below.
PS – Some people even use Tinder/Bumble for that – I am not sure how efficient it is, since the app imposes a bit different expectation than just snatching a nap. But anyway – always good to keep in mind.
Why it is good: if it works, it can be an amazing experience
Why it is bad: not very safe; you feel awkward; small chance to find a place
7. Sleeping on the streets
Just do not do that. This is it.
Seriously. I did it several times, and I am fine. But I know people who were not fine after this. Unfortunately, the US is not safe enough for this kind of adventure, so even in the safest states it can turn into problems with criminals, unfavorable weather, police or all of them.
But if it happens, that there is no way to go – what you should do is just walk. It really helped me a lot of times – in New York, Minnesota, Virginia and North Carolina. The idea is that you should just walk on and on, not staying still to avoid doziness. Even though it is never comfortable, it is less dangerous than sleeping, and it also has its beautiful sides. Without that, I would never see the specific charm of night Manhattan, would never see such a beautiful sunrises over the Brooklyn bridge, some interesting view over Mexican border, an, eventually, – it was pretty funny.
Why it is good: obviously, it is free
Why it is bad: dangerous and uncomfortable
8. Finally, normal accommodation
If you giving up with making it cheap, hotels and hostels are always available. Search for low prices usually relates to three factors – the choice of hotel aggregator, the playing with map and rewards. There is no the cheapest hotel aggregator – while some are lucky using Orbitz and Hotels.com, some would find better deals at Kayak and Expedia. For me Booking.com in 90% of trips worked better than all the mentioned above (however, not everyone would agree with me). The good thing about rewards at Booking.com is that you can get $25 for you friends – which can help you to get quite a lot of cash.
The only rule of thumb here is that you should play with all aggregators, with their maps and the reward systems – and, in my experience, in vast majority of cases there will be a good deal. Even if you do not expect it at all. I found $20 single room at the historic hotel at Deadwood – and even though it was creepy like it was a location from “The Shining” – it serves as an example that the good deals are everywhere.
Why it is good: pretty obvious – it is safe and comfortable
Why it is bad: pretty obvious – you gotta pay