Many backpackers scrimp on accommodation to keep their travel expenses low. It is a sound idea because when you explore the world, you need to be outside and not spend your time inside hotels. The beauty of backpacking is the ability to intermingle with the locals, trying different culture, and discovering off beaten paths.
However, it doesn’t mean that you have to stay in dilapidated rooms filled with roaches and mosquitoes. I have my share of horror accommodation stories like sleeping on a bed filled with bed bugs, eating in roach-smelling rooms, and broken plumbing. It is so dreadful that I wish I brought my tent so I can just pitch it in the wild.
These experiences taught me a lesson, and that is “To economize but never compromise.” Personally, I only require two things in accommodation; it should be safe and clean. It doesn’t matter if I have to use a bucket to flush or sleep on woven mats, as long as the place will not be a threat to my life and property, I can crash into it.
My favorite backpacking spots are in Denver. The majestic fourteeners and trails are breath-taking. I have been there almost a hundred of times, but I still discover something new each visit. Aside from that, the accommodations are superb. I am yet to find any place that is unfavorable.
I asked my host about it in one instance, and she revealed that the secret to a fresh-looking house is to have regular pest control maintenance. With the number of guests they are entertaining, it is possible that the people could bring in pests that could infest their place. So, as a precaution, they keep pest control as part of their regular maintenance activities.
Regular homes should also heed this advice, you can set up an appointment and don’t be worried about any pests. My mother is already practicing this at home, and she is very much satisfied with the results.
You can never really tell by the looks of the place if it is pest-free, so best to ask the hosts. It may be awkward, especially considering the low-cost accommodations, but at least you will have a bit of assurance that your stay will not be bothered by pest problems.
Backpackers are sometimes discouraged to stay in hostels because of the idea that it is dirty and unkempt in the movies, but not anymore. The hostels now have leveled up and started to keep their places spick and span to attract more customers. The usual hostel is dorm-style, and you share the facilities with other backpackers. But if you are not open to sharing bed space with others, some hostels now offer rooms.
You can also network with local backpackers in the area to know where the best places to stay. Some of the places are even not advertised online so keeping tabs with other backpackers is a great resource. I usually start searching for accommodations this way.
Lastly, there are hospitality exchange sites that will allow you to find local accommodations, even for free. The idea of dwelling in an unfamiliar person’s house might creep someone, but with proper research and verification, you can find a decent place to stay the night. And did I mention, it’s free? Just always do your “due diligence” check to be on the safe side.