Vacation Accommodations: how low will you go?

We are leaving for St Martin at the end of this week.

Our preferred vacation involves Caribbean beaches, sun, good food, alcohol, etc. The dead last least important variable to us is where we sleep. Each day we awaken with the sun, wake/bake, use the facilities, then head for a beach, grabbing breakfast on the way.

We return to our rooms after dining/drinking/dancing and collapse in bed for a few hours sleep, only to restart the cycle at sunrise.

Instead of spending money on a nice place to stay, we shift that pile of cash to the food/drinks pile.

My gf and I agree 100% on this, and so we constantly are on the lookout for a cheap place to sleep. Our past few trips we stayed at The Royal Turtle Inn, located right by the airport, and a real deal. They closed down recently.

This year while on the island I’ve convinced my gf to stop and check out Jeffries’ Auto-parts and Fantastic Guesthouse, rooms located above an auto parts store in Marigot. Next door is a bar owned by a family with the last name Skanky. Of course, the sign reads Skanky Bar. Ambiance!!!

So, anyone else willing to sleep cheap?

I’ll certainly go for cheap compared to the average adult of my income, but too cheap turns into sleeping with bug infestations. Sometimes, you get what you pay for. I go good enough to get a mattress I can sleep on and sheets that will actually be laundered, at least.

There is something to be said for the very occasional luxurious evening in a posh hotel, though. “Look, they provided plush bathrobes!”

We don’t go super cheap, but we don’t go high end either. It’s mostly a place to sleep, like you I’d rather spend the money on doing fun things.

I try to avoid sharing rooms with other people, even if I know them. It’s hard enough for me to get to sleep in a room by myself while away from home, and I find it more difficult if there are other people in the room.

I don’t travel often, and I am kind of scared of accomodations with bedbugs, and am not entirely sure how to avoid them.

As long as it is reasonably clean, and not downwind of the guano processing facility, I go for cheap.

I though I did pretty good in 2012, finding a place for $45/night (the carpet was very worn, but the sheets / shower were clean), but last year I found a place for $33 (it was small but OK)

This for Tour da U.P, the night before the tour (which I tent camp). Since I am at the motel for 3 waking hours, I don’t need much.


We’ll be going to St. Maarten with 3 other couples at the end of the month, but we’re going the opposite path and splurging on a 5 bedroom house. It’s beautiful, with every amenity possible, including pool, exercise room, elevator, sweeping views of the Caribbean Sea, gourmet kitchen, Bose speakers piped out to the pool area, en suite bathrooms for every bedroom, etc. We’re celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary, so we’re picking up the housing tab for everyone, but otherwise we’d split the cost among all of the travelers and pay about $200/night – basically what we would have each paid for a mid-quality hotel room. Traveling with another couple, or a group of people, and splitting the costs (including rental car) is a great way to enjoy upscale places at a moderate price.

Where I will gladly cut is food. Some people don’t see “vacation” without eating out every meal. I’m not one of them. I like to cook, especially on vacation when I’m not pressed for time, and actually prefer to visit the local grocer and make my own breakfasts and lunches. In fact, we always bring along a soft-sided cooler so that we can picnic at a different beach/park each day. In addition to eating healthier, eating in really helps mitigate the cost of the rental. Most nights we go out for dinner, but we are also fine grilling out.

As far as how “low” I’ll go, I also love camping. I’ve had fabulous vacations sleeping on an air mattress in a tent. But staying in a low-rated hotel, on a bed that has seen better days, with carpet that hasn’t been cleaned in a coon’s age? No way. That’s something I won’t even consider. I don’t need the lap of luxury, but I do need clean.

We did it on the cheap in the past, staying at many of the cheaper pousadas in Portugal, which are usually converted convents, monasteries, manor houses, etc., and staying at cheaper accommodations in places like London. We don’t do that any more, as bedbugs are a concern, as is cleanliness. Also, location is a factor. We also don’t do expensive five-star hotels, so I guess we’re in the medium-high category now.

I can see where living quarters are secondary in the VI. I lived on St. Thomas for five months back in the 70s. Almost none of the locals frequented places like Frenchman’s Reef or Bluebeard’s Castle, which were for tourists. The best bars in Charlotte Amalie were dives with names like Joe’s Bar, The Sandbox, Pier 6 and The Safari Club, all of which are now defunct, I’m sure. That five months is largely lost to a perpetual alcoholic rum-induced stupor, but it sure was fun. I used to crash on the pool table at Joe’s, or sleep on the floor at some bartender’s crib. I guess the island is now uber-tourist, which is a shame.

I go on the cheap, also. I figure when I sleep my eyes are closed, so I don’t need to see pretty stuff.
I remembered I rented a room on an island. I guess they didn’t have a saw. So they broke the particle board to make the shelves. Definitely not pretty. I found lodging at another place the next night.
I related this story to a French woman who had a restaurant. And she said, “Yeah, when you are traveling alone you need a nice place, because there is no one else to look at.” I thought that was good advice.

I tend to go cheap as well. I have never tried going hostel-level cheap, but I’m usually Motel 6 kind of guy when I’m vacationing. If I upgrade a little, it’s often so that I can get a breakfast included or have a kitchenette or something, where I’m able to offset the cost of meals.

I don’t mind sharing accommodations as long as my wife and I can get a private room. In my college days, I once shared a hotel room with like four other guys Sleeping on the floor was not a problem… listening to that one guy snore - deal breaker. You don’t want to be on vacation thinking “If I go back to the hotel room this afternoon, maybe I can get some sleep while everyone else it out doing X.”

My only vakay in Caribbean was Anse Chastanet which at the time was medium-low end pricy. It was right on the beach and was all-inclusive and remote, which satisfied all our priorities then. Worth it.

How low will I go? what about a twin bed and rusty metal shower at a military base in enlisted quarters? Cheap, safe and clean but no amenities. Was way off the beaten path but Cheap was the mission that time.

Lower yet? Picnic table at a rest stop. Floor of a hippie van.

Usually we compromise. He votes for Cheap/doesnt care how far it is from the action; I vote for on-location and Nice/4-star-ish. If I feel strongly about it, I buy the room/he buys the food and tickets.

Heh. That reminded me of the vacations I did decades ago in Assateague. Primitive camping, cold showers, meals of crab/clam/fish caught myself. Good times!

If you need any St Martin tips/pointers, lemme know. I’ve been there 7 years in a row and my gf had a 9 year head start on me.

I value location over most other factors. When I’m on vacation, I want to walk out my door and be immersed in whatever it is I’ve come to experience, whether it’s the beach, or downtown, or the jungle. I don’t mind cheap, but I’m willing to pay for location. My most valuable is my time and I’m willing to spend money to save time getting to my destination.

I’ll go cheap as long as (i) it’s clean, (ii) it doesn’t require me to pack up my shit and drive 40 minutes away from where I’m spending my time, and (iii) it’s safe.

I recently went to Mexico and stayed at an all-inclusive resort, and the place was beautiful. It was nice to wake up in the morning in the lap of luxury, but I wouldn’t have stayed at quite that nice a place if it wasn’t included in the cost of the trip. I won’t go out of my way to save a couple of bucks, though. When I go away, it’s nice to pamper myself a bit.

I find if you check the Lonely Planet or follow people’s tips you can go super cheap but still clean. I’ve never had a dud that way. (Knock on wood!) So yeah, we go super cheap and love it. I’ve also slept under the stars or camped, it’s all fine by me. Only thing is I can’t deal with the ground being too hard, it hurts my joints. So I need some kind of mattress. Anything else I can deal with.

I was going to say my sister is there now, but you won’t be needing ideas then! She’s staying with her in-laws (damn it, why did she get the in-laws on the tropical island?!) and it’s pretty nice judging by the pictures (stupid fucking pictures).

Not very low. I am not a good person to be around if I don’t get a good nights sleep.

Here in the UK, we will stay in Premier Inns which are almost always quiet clean rooms with comfortable beds. Overseas, we’ll typically go for four stars with the occasional five star splurge. Neither my husband nor I drink alcohol, so that frees up a fair amount of change for swanky digs!

I’ve finally mostly stopped sleeping in hostel dorm rooms. I’m at an age and financial situation where it’s usually worth the money not to have other people in the room.

If it’s clean, safe, and has a lock on the door - great! I’m just there to sleep. I really don’t need additional amenities and I get mildly annoyed paying for them. I will pay more for location. Being unintentionally out in the middle of nowhere with no way to get around is unpleasant.

I’m gonna brag here. My record is a cavernous suite with antique furniture and palm-sized cockroaches in the dark corners atop a gambling den in Mysore. $.75 a night, fifty cents more if you want lunch.

I bunked in a military style barrack in the woods (meant for school groups, I think) at Great Zimbabwe. I’ve lived three days atop a sack of rice on a cargo boat to Timbuktu. I’ve fit six people on a double bed (pro tip: remove mattress from box spring- it’s like having 2 beds!) From the tent city at the Everest Base Camp to a horrid closet at a hostel in Bangkok, I have no standards. I’m fine if I have to to bring my own lock and the “hot water” comes in a bucket from the front desk. It’s cool of there are prostitutes lined up in folding chairs in the lobby or if the bathroom is an open field. And I’m even happier if I can save money by sleeping en route. In some countries they’ll let you stay out the night on the bus for journeys arrive in past midnight. Love it!

Last time I travelled on business, I turned down the Hilton for a private room in a hostel, much to management’s bafflement. It was great- right in the center of town, cheap food and beer with lively company, beautiful courtyard, free wi-fi and a great staff. Who wants to sit in a hotel room alone?

I think a private room in a good hostel (most have them) is usually waaaay better than a cheap hotel room. If you haven’t tried it, I strongly recommend it. More charm, usually great staff, well set up for travellers and no nickle and diming.

I fold.

The roaches in St. Martin / Saint-Martin / Sint Maarten are not palm-sized, but maybe half that (about 3 inches / 8 cm long, I’d say). I was staying in a nice villa on the coast and the one I saw in my room was, thankfully, smaller than the ones just outside my screen door. Just saying.

I stay in super low budge hotels. My friends were slumming it at the Mirage as opposed to their usual swankier choices in Vegas. I elected to stay in the Quad, formerly the Imperial Palace for $27 (plus a $17 “resort fee”). Average yelp ratings were 1.5 stars. It really wasn’t that bad!

I’ve stayed in a hotel (it was more like a closet) in Siem Riep for 2. Although I did meet a girl who stayed in a hostel in Luang Prabang, Laos for .50 while I splurged for the $5 room.

Hmm, I think I paid about $5 in Bulawayo when I went to Great Zimbabwe.