Enjoy a Few Quirks at Budget Hotels

  • 01 of 05

    Warm-Water Hotel Rooms in Central America

    You might get a hot shower in Costa Rica from a shower head like this one.
    (c)Mark D. Kahler

    Willing to embrace a few hotel quirks to save money? Let's start with water temperature.

    As you travel on a budget in Latin America, you'll discover that rooms are often priced according to hot and cold water.

    So-called "cold water rooms" offer a place to wash your hands or take a cold shower. Some are available for around $10/night.

    You'll pay a bit more if you seek a budget hotel with warm water.

    The shower you see pictured was within a small hotel in Costa Rica. The apparatus on the top apparently heated the water enough for a shower.

    Can you enjoy quirks such as this?

    If so, you can save some money and enjoy all sorts of budget rooms throughout the world.

    Keep reading, and discover how enduring a few small quirks could result in big discounts on your travel spending.

    Continue to 2 of 5 below.
  • 02 of 05

    Small Hotels in Beach Resorts

    This off-street parking is just a few feet from the highway.
    (c)Mark D. Kahler

    If you look for accommodations along Fort Lauderdale's Galt Ocean Mile or along Las Olas Blvd., you'll encounter some steep prices. After all, the beaches here are world-renowned, and the nearby shopping and entertainment options are also in high demand. It's typical to pay $275-$400/night in season at the big-name resorts.

    But just a few miles up highway A-1-A is Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, a community of 6,000 that offers a variety of tiny hotels where you'll walk a block or two in order to get to the beach, but spend less than half the nightly rates at the high-end hotels. These places date back to the days when Fort Lauderdale wasn't quite so famous.

    Naturally, there will be a few quirks.

    At Castle by the Sea hotel, parking spaces are sandwiched between the pool, the sidewalk and the street. They'll call to see about your arrival, and they might even upgrade you to a bigger room if space is available. My room had an ironing board but no iron.

    None of the rooms are large. You'll find just enough room for beds, a television and a mini-fridge. Bathrooms are scheduled for renovation and tend to be small. If you like to cook your own food to save money, they have efficiencies.

    The rate during high season at Castle by the Sea is about $100/night. They'll give you a key for the municipal tennis courts that are two blocks to the west, or you can walk two blocks east and be in the heart of the town's beachfront entertainment district.

    For many of us, these location-related amenities far outweigh cramped parking and a modestly sized room. Look for a place like Lauderdale-By-The-Sea when you visit an expensive resort area.

    Continue to 3 of 5 below.
  • 03 of 05

    Convent and Monastery Stays In Italy

    Convents and monasteries in Italy sometimes rent rooms to travelers.
    Franco Origlia/Getty Images

    When in Rome, would you consider staying in a monastery or convent to save a little money?

    Many orders maintain a separate section for providing hospitality to tourists. You won't be asked if you're Roman Catholic. So long as you can respect their way of life, you'll be welcomed.

    As for the quirks: the rooms are clean but tend to be rather plain. Many convents have curfews for their guests to observe. Some are not set up to process credit cards and will require cash payments at checkout. It might be difficult to find someone who speaks anything other than Italian.

    Obviously, this isn't a good choice for everyone. But if you can process these small issues, you'll find affordable nightly rates in the heart of Rome and close to Vatican City.

    One example: Little Sisters of the Sacred Family offer a double room with breakfast included for €64-€85/night ($73-$96 USD). The location is close to Vatican City and mass transit stops.

    There are chain hotels in that price range, but few are located in such prime neighborhoods.

    Continue to 4 of 5 below.
  • 04 of 05

    Converted Apartment Houses in Big Cities

    Converted apartment buildings make great budget hotels.
    (c)Mark D. Kahler

    Saving money on New York Travel often hinges on your hotel deal. The expensive real estate in big cities commands some of the world's highest nightly rates outside of resort locations.

    Within New York City, the average nightly room rate is about $300. That means you easily could pay $400/night for a rather ordinary room at certain times of the year.

    But some former apartment buildings have been converted to hotel space. Rooms in these places can cost about half the city's average room rate, but there will be a few quirks with which to contend.

    Some will have small, slow elevators. A few might even lack elevators. You might also wait a while for the hot water in your shower, or hear a few pipes rattle as the water is shut off. There will be no opulent, spacious lobby. Don't look for a hotel restaurant or room service.

    Can you handle these quirks?

    If so, you'll find some of these small hotels are nicely located. Park79 is, as the name implies, located at 79th street and Columbus. Great restaurants, mass transit, museums and Central Park are all a short walk from the front door.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Tiny Rooms in Europe

    Some budget hotel rooms are quite small.
    Sean Gallup/Getty Images News

    Some North Americans insist that their stays in Europe resemble time away in their home countries. They'll find a franchise-owned hotel with big rooms and oversized beds. They'll pay dearly for each night in one of these establishments and then complain about the expense after arriving home.

    Europeans are accustomed to smaller hotel rooms. Space often is at a premium. There are some quirky rooms in large cities that will cost a fraction of what guests at the high-end hotels are paying. This is especially true in places such as London, Berlin, and even Paris, where room rates tend to be high.

    If you're only going to spend the night, do you really need a large suite? Downsize the room, revel in the quirks, and pay less.