The lodging

Traveling to another place will always require accommodation.

And just like flying, the choices have now diversified into so many options.

Staying Smart

Location. Location. Location.

The best place will always be at the heart of where the action is.  And where public transportation is most accessible.

For example, if your 5 days trip will require you and your family to spend 3 days at a theme park, then book your stay at a hotel near the theme park! You can go to other places for shopping, dining and entertainment FROM the hotel near the theme park on the remaining days.  Hotels near the theme or amusement parks are usually far cheaper than those centrally located in the business and shopping district.

In short, your choice of lodging will depend on your itinerary.

Boutique or Standard?

I have always had preference for Boutique Hotels. They are quaint. Have more personal service.  Usually have larger rooms compared to commercial standard hotels.  Not too noisy. And smell better!

The downside with many Boutique Hotels is that most of them are located a bit further down the road.  And there are few Boutique Hotels that are chain hotels with reward benefits.

(These are The Haymarket and The Ham Yard Hotel during our travel to London).

With so much information at our fingertips, searching for hotels together with airline deals are available from or other websites that offer hotel deals like or  These third party sites actually employ people to stalk the various promotions of airlines and hotels (and other events). They also cater mostly to standard business hotels (very rarely do I see a Boutique Hotel on their sites). Personally, I have tried some of these sites and you do get better deals for hotel cost (compared to booking directly at the hotel site) more often than not. However (and this is the however part), if you’re a member of the chain of hotel and made a booking through Agoda or Trivago or some other third party site, your stay in the hotel cannot be credited to earning points for upgrades or future redemption for free hotel stays. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.  Please do not fight with the front desk by brandishing your Hotel Stay Rewards card without checking the finer details.  Pay less but don’t expect to get rewarded with the discount afforded.

You cannot have your cake and eat it too!

The upside of a busy business hotel chain is the smorgasbord treat to a heavy breakfast spread.  Or the unlimited wine and cocktails if you’re booked on their executive floors.

If you’re still interested in a Boutique Hotel, then I suggest or for your luxury escape.  These sites are uber luxurious and provide membership benefits.  Room upgrades (based on availability. Who doesn’t want to stay in a suite?!?!), late check-outs, free wifi (especially for hotels that make you pay extra for wifi use), free gifts and breakfast, travel and food vouchers, or simply escape to the world of being pampered?

(Photos of the Tokyo Station Hotel.  My favourite hotel in Tokyo, Japan)


Stands for Air-Bed and Breakfast. And it is a company.

Formed in 2007, it started as from a serendipitous alliance between friends.

Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia had just moved to San Francisco and became roommates.  Both didn’t have a job and needed money to pay rent. Both were designers and because the International Design Conference was coming to San Francisco in October and all the hotels were fully booked, the two thought that they could make some money by renting out their place and turning it into a bed and breakfast.

They got 3 airbeds and created a website called “Air Bed and Breakfast”.

People signed up to rent the airbeds and they cooked them breakfast every morning and acted like tour guides. Both Brian and Joe did not mean to start a business. It wasn’t a stroke of genius.  It was from a need – to pay the rent. It gradually became a big idea. They eventually expanded beyond their apartment and their three airbeds and shortened the company name to Airbnb.

The rest is history.

It’s an online marketplace that allows people to share their accommodations for a fee. Launched officially in 2009, it’s an online marketplace that allows people to rent out their properties or spare rooms to guests (“strangers if you asked me”).  Airbnb takes 3% commission of every booking from hosts, and between 6-12% from guests.  Not bad for just a website born from needing to pay rent.

The upside and why people are into Airbnb is, you can rent prime property at half the cost of having to stay in a 15 sqm hotel room. Easy to book. Personal communication with the host. Well maintained and up-to-date. And safe.  It’s like an Uber for lodging – anywhere from a room to a whole villa!

Relatives and Friends

Now this has never been a good idea to me.

They say that’s “what friends are for”.

So you decide to go on a trip and announce to the world that you’re traveling to some part of the world. And expect friends to host.

In all honesty, it’s always difficult to have guests over at your place.  Expecting them to put up with you, AND your family may be difficult for some. Place yourself in the position of the guest before considering staying with them.

Wherever you stay, remember that there are rules to be followed.  It is not your home.  There are others that are occupants in the place.  Being considerate is vital to co-existence.

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