How to Choose the Perfect Bed & Breakfast for Your Travels
If you’ve never stayed at a bed & breakfast property, you might be considering it for your next travel trip. And while many people certainly know what the renowned “B&B” acronym stands for, not many people have experienced a true bed and breakfast property.
First and foremost, it’s important to know the difference between a bed and breakfast and a hotel. Bed and breakfast businesses are much more “homey,” have local hosts to greet you, and distinct room styles. You’ll get homemade breakfast every morning (compared to the standard continental breakfast served in cookie-cutter hotels), stellar (free) amenities, and can even opt for personalized services.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why you should give a bed and breakfast a chance. Whether you’re visiting Florence or Texas, here’s how you can choose the perfect one:
This goes without saying. Naturally, you’ll of course read the ratings and reviews for any property you’re considering. However, when it comes to the place you’ll sleep at the end of the night, you should read reviews with a much more keen and critical eye. For example, on platforms like Booking.com, you can see the ages of reviewers. This gives a roundabout estimate of the average age of guests. You may notice discrepancies among negative reviews, which should also be looked at critically. Read dozens of reviews—not just the top three or four. Not what these reviews have in common, highlighting key things that matter the most to you.
What’s the Breakfast?
The breakfast component of a bed and breakfast is, well, the bread and butter of the business. You can check out this bed and breakfast competition to see what we mean. If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then you’ll want your day to jumpstart with a delicious platter.
Find out what they serve for breakfast and compare different establishments’ breakfast to one another. Every place has their own breakfast style, and ideally, the breakfast style will match the place you’re visiting. For example, if you’re staying somewhere in the South, phenomenal biscuits and gravy might be on the menu, while in France, traditional croissants and cured cheeses fit the bill.
Know the Bathroom Situation
It might be hard to believe, but there are some bed and breakfasts that have communal bathrooms instead of in-suite bathrooms. And in some cases, guests have private access to bathrooms that are outside of their bedrooms. After all, these businesses are housed in houses, and most houses weren’t built with a bathroom in every room. Be sure you understand the bathroom situation and are okay with it before you make a decision.
Nearby Emergency Assistance
Having a thorough understanding of where nearby emergency places are is important. After all, you want to feel confident knowing that in an unfortunate circumstance, help is never too far away. Roads to those emergency places should be easily accessible, and there should be sufficient staff on site to support medical needs.
“Not only is it important to know where nearby hospitals and clinics are, but you should also be sure to always have travel insurance and local emergency numbers,” says Community Health 1st ER, a 24 hour emergency room in Deer Park. Many vacations have been ruined by medical emergencies that weren’t covered because the injured didn’t have proper insurance. Believe it or not, travel insurance isn’t very expensive, especially for shorter vacations.
Conduct a Price Comparison
From a financial perspective, on average, you’ll spend less on a bed and breakfast than on a hotel. One survey conducted by HomeAway found that the average hotel in New York City was $127, compared to the average bed & breakfast, which was $169. Generally speaking, you can find this sort of price gap in every city and town. However, it’s important that you do your own price comparison. If you notice your bed and breakfast is charging significantly more than local hotels, ask yourself why. Do they offer special accommodations, amenities, or is their location particularly impressive with amazing views? With these establishments being so personal in nature, you want to choose options whose hosts aren’t just in it for the money.
Like any place you choose to stay, you may find that your bed and breakfast is a little out of the way. Map out the directions from your airport, bus, or train station directly to the front door of the bed and breakfast property. Is there public transportation? Can you walk from the center of town, and what’s the terrain? Is it easy to catch taxis? Many of these details you can find online, but the good thing about bed and breakfast properties is that passionate hosts are usually readily available, happy to answer, and even happier to go out of their way to arrange your transportation for you.