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Sid KaplanEven if your budget only allows you to stay in cheap hotels is no reason to put off your dream vacation.

Because a cheap hotel (I’d rather call them inexpensive) can be a great option for the frugal traveller.

You’re not going to be spending a lot of time in your hotel room anyway, are you? You’ll be out and about seeing that sites in the country you’re visiting. All you are really looking for in a hotel room is a nice clean bed to sleep in. Well, maybe a little more than that.

So how to you find budget accommodations? You can search the Internet, of course, but while inexpensive hotels may be on the Internet, it can sometimes be hard to find their listing. Because they are more apt to be independent they tend to show up far, far down on a search page. It is easier to find these little gems while travelling by stopping and checking them out when you need a room.

So what can you expect from cheap hotels? You will probably be staying in an older place. New buildings with a spiffy lobby, an elevator, and a reception desk staffed for 24 hours do not fall into the cheap category.

Look for small family-run hotels. They may look a little shabby from the outside, but they could be very nice inside. Don’t judge them until you’ve walked through the door. Look at the room to see if you can live with it for 24 or 48 hours or however long you’re going to be there. Remember, however, that you’re only sleeping and showering there.

You’ll most likely have to climb stairs to your room and carry your own bags, though some places do have very small, and “atmospheric,” elevators. You know the kind: those little old rickety cages, the ones that might even make you want to take the stairs.

Keep in mind that some very cute little places are forced to stick with only one or two stars only because they don’t have elevators and a reception desk. If you come across one of these, it is definitely NOT a cheap hotel but rather a travel BARGAIN.

Bargain hotels may have just a simple bed and the chairs could be mismatched. The light bulbs may be a little dim, the carpets and wallpaper may be dated, and perhaps even faded. You’ll probably find a small TV, but you may not have a phone. The closet is apt to be a small, free-standing one, or maybe an old armoire.

Most will have ensuite facilities with showers and toilets in the room. In the U.S., almost all cheap hotels come this way. In Europe and on other continents, these facilities may have been fitted into a corner of the room. You do need to check, though, because there are still some cheap hotels that have the toilet and shower down the hall.

This is the minimum you should have to settle for. Sure there are worse almost everywhere in the world. I’ve even stayed in some of them in my younger days … at least for a day or two.

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