Do you know how I was able to accomplish all that in a week? Without kids! It is amazing how much time you have to yourself when you are single. There were more photos from this trip, but I don’t want to bore you, plus it was hard to choose since the photos were taken with a decade old 35 mm camera and we had to stand far away to get the view, so you can hardly see the face.
Enough with the small talk, let's get right to the topic of this article, which is travel tips for staying in a London Bed and Breakfast, or any bed and breakfast for that matter.
1) Friendly and Welcoming: If being in a new city and new country kind of freak you out. A bed and breakfast will certainly provide the friendly and welcoming feeling. Usually bed and breakfast places are run by small ownership, not like the big hotel chains. The benefit is that you will be speaking to someone directly in charge, not some corporate personnel.
2) Useless Amenities: Bed and Breakfast is a great option and choosing to stay in one can save you a lot of money if you are NOT going to use the gym, pool and spa. There is plenty of London bed and breakfast that starts at $23.27, and comes with breakfast. Why pay for all those extra amenities that you don’t use? Pay only for what you need and you will be surprised to see all the things you actually don’t use.
3) Internet Searches or Gift Certificates: You can save even more if you can find a place that offers Gift Certificates (GC). Purchasing GC for so many times a year will reduce the cost of a stay. It can be used as gifts for friends, or a surprised get away with your spouse. Some Bed and Breakfast have affiliates and the GC will allow you to stay in any of their participating bed and breakfast inns.
4) Private or Share Bathroom? Be sure to ask if the rooms have a private bathroom. There are many bed and breakfast that do not have full bathrooms in the rooms. If having your own bathroom is important to you, don't get stuck sharing the bathroom with everyone at the Bed and Breakfast, ask first.
5) Smoking, Non Smoking: Check to see if the Bed and Breakfast had allowed smoking in the home. If you don’t ask, they won’t tell. When you search for London Bed and Breakfast make sure you asked or look for nonsmoking if you are a nonsmoker. But if you are a smoker, ask about the designated smoking area. Some places might require that you smoke a few yards from the house.
6) Kitchen Use: You’re on vacation, so chances are you don’t want to cook. But if you do, there could be regulations in certain areas that do not allow guests to cook in a Bed and Breakfast. Still, you might be on a diet that requires consuming certain items daily, and you need to ask about refrigerator access. And chances are if you're allowed refrigerator access, you probably can use the microwave as well.
7) Breakfast? What type? I stayed at a Bed and Breakfast once and was very surprised to be told that the breakfast was self-catered. I didn't know what to expect, but it normally means the food is cooked, you need to put the food together and get your own plates. Do ask what type of breakfast they offer. Do they catered to dietary needs? Is the breakfast hot cooked and served individually? Is breakfast a buffet, continental, or self-catered? Is the seating a group setting or are there individual tables. Depending on the type of vacation, but it matters to me whether I am obligated to sit with a bunch of people, or have a table to myself.
8) Internet Connection: Almost every place has internet now, even in third world countries, but you never know. Secondly, bed and breakfast is usually a house with rooms, but quite a few are little cottages. Internet is often available in the main place, but not necessarily accessible in the rooms. Lastly, don't assume that internet comes with the room fee. Yes, it is important that you ask these questions up front. Otherwise, don’t promise anyone that you will email them while on vacation, or you might just be very unhappy to find out the email comes with a cost.
9) Phone for Emergencies: Almost everyone has a cell phone now, but if you are traveling to a different country, perhaps you might need to buy and international plan. That isn't going to happen for most of us, so we need to beware of phone access. It should be standard that the bed and breakfast provides a telephone to call in case of emergencies. If you have children then it raises the bar for safety and precautions. I recently stayed in a place that did not provide phone access. It was quite spooky given that we were the only ones in the complex surrounded by water and a mile walk from the main desk.
10) Walking Distance: Ask about the walking distances to sightseeing or how far away to the nearest transportation? It's important that the bed and breakfast is close to some attractions and bus or public transfers, because people don't normally have a car while on vacation. Not only the walking distance to public transportation is convenient, but it will also save you a lot of taxi fares.
What is your bed and breakfast tip or story? I can't wait to hear about it.