Thursday, December 23, 2010

What Backpackers Talk About

Backpackers like to brag about the great deals they found on lodging and the cost of things is common conversation. Other common topics include:
  1. Where you're from
  2. How long you're traveling
  3. Where you've been
  4. Where you plan to go

I'm spending $20/night for 3 nights at Lake Toba and almost feel slighted when I relate my accommodations to some German guy who's traveling for 6 months. He'll naturally share with me the awesome (read: clean) room he got for $4 and how there's no way one can properly experience Sumatra in only the 2 months that he's spending here before moving on to Thailand.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Selecting a $5 Room
1. Does it appear to be clean? If so, you have found a suitable $5 room.
2. How many nights will you be here? The mattress is concave, but that doesn't really matter if you'll only be here for one night.
3. Did you bring along your own sheet or sleeping bag liner? You won't need it to keep warm because the fan doesn't actually stir the air very well, but there's most likely only a bottom sheet provided on the bed.
4. Cold shower is okay, right? Good. There's a good chance it's hot where you're traveling so you can use the cold water to try to lower your body temperature a couple degrees before you start sweating again.
5. Are you one of those paranoid people who wipes down a toilet seat before sitting on it? If you are, then at least you probably brought your own toilet paper (or something similar), which is good, because this room does not come with toilet paper. Feel fortunate, though, because at least it's a western-style sitting toilet and not just the squat hole that you'll encounter in public places.
6. Are you an early riser? Perfect! Then you'll love the built in 4:45am alarm clock of either (a) crowing roosters or (b) call to prayer from the mosque down the street.

If you're willing to spend a few more bucks, consider:
  • $7-$10 -- as above plus breakfast and a nice garden
  • $11-$15 -- as above plus toilet paper. May also have hot water and air-conditioning
  • >$15 -- as above plus wi-fi and a good location
There you have it. Now go forth and travel thrifty!

1 comment:

Ed Kohler said...

Solid tips. Setting proper expectations appears to be key to getting one's money's worth for a $5 room. Quite a deal.