Travel Tips on Accomodation |

In all my personal travels, accommodation selection is a very important part of the planning process. I try not to travel on group packages when exploring Asia, they usually take me to cashew nut factories, gem merchants and bird’s nest restaurants, none of which appeal to me. I also often get put up in hotels which are crammed and fairly worn by groups of travelers brought in by the travel agencies.

The internet is my best source for planning a trip, I get great deals on hotels, transportation and on-the-ground arrangements and very good information such as reviews and recommendations from fellow travelers.

When doing a personal trip on a mid-range budget, it is not as easy as business travels where I can pick a reliable hotel chain and book a room. I personally choose my accommodation based on the following:

1. Location – close by to the following, depending on purpose of the trip:

a. The skytrain/underground (for places such as Bangkok, Singapore, London and etc)

b. Shopping centre(s) or point of interest, within 10-15 minutes walking distance is acceptable

c. Good hangouts, e.g. eateries or pubs/bars/clubs

d. The beach or nothing for that matter (for pure relaxation, isolation can be therapeutic. I personally like views of the paddy field when in Bali)

For location, I would try to stay away from being located on main streets, on the entertainment row (pounding music at night is no fun nor the sight of men picking up scantily clad women), brightly lit neighboring buildings (which is quite common in Hong Kong),

2. Price – a very important factor, several sites offer very good discounts, here are some I recommend, Asia Travel, Asia Hotels, Asia Best Hotel, PYO Travel. Asia Travel has been most reliable and no issue with internet payments so far. For country specific travels, there are other sites, some local, which offer better discounts. I’ll cover this in a related article. Best is to always compare offers from several sites, you can sometimes save quite a lot – extra money can always go towards the shopping budget :p

3. Traveler reviews – I use the Tripadvisor site religiously, they provide rankings of hotels as rated by travelers based on several criteria. This is important as images of the rooms provided by the hotels are usually not accurate. Often I’ve passed on some hotels as travelers did mention that it was old or dirty, important facts that you cannot obtain on brochures or hotel websites.

4. Cleanliness – I’m Virgo and a clean environment is very important to me. Clean carpets, sheets, room walls and bathroom are necessary. Heaven forbid that the room or sheets smell. I can’t sleep otherwise. I’d sacrifice a small room for cleanliness anytime. Try to pick hotels which have been newly opened or recently refurbished. For the latter, make sure they put you in the new wing.

That aside, go out, explore and have fun! Accommodation is important but please don’t stay indoors and explore the room walls when traveling. It should only be a place for peaceful rest in preparation of the exciting travel ahead the next day.

Bon Voyage!

Travel a Lot For Business? Don’t Forget a Travel Pillow! |

Business travelers that are on the road a lot should always carry their own travel pillow. A good travel pillow can serve many purposes. It can be a pillow, a neck pillow, a back pillow, something to keep the light out of your eyes, and much more.

It’s also a good idea to have your own travel pillow for sanitary reasons. Airlines disinfect their pillows, but there is still a good chance that dust mites or other things could be living inside. I don’t know about you, but that is gross to me. Yuck!

When you have your own cushion that is soft and clean and has not been used by a thousand other people that week, you will be much more relaxed. And, as an added bonus, you will sleep more soundly on your pillow.

When you are buying a travel pillow for yourself or a loved one look for a pillow that has a flexible stuffing, so that it can be reshaped and used as a neck pillow or padding, if need be. It should also have a removable cover that can be taken off and washed. A small pillow should be able to be wadded up and shoved into a pocket or purse because you might not always be able to get to your carry on bag easily to get your pillow.

If you are crafty you can make your travel pillow or make a pillow for someone you love. Choose a soft but easily washable fabric for the cover and put a zipper or a snap on it so you can take the cover off for cleaning. If you want to make the pillow more relaxing, put some fresh herbs like Lavender flowers or some Chamomile or Peppermint in a sachet and tuck that inside the pillow.

When the herbs get stale you can just take that sachet out and put in a new one. Be careful that the herbs you use are not too strong though or the rest of the other people on the plane might object to you using the pillow.

Along with your travel pillow you should also carry a travel blanket. A light travel blanket will make it easier to sleep on the plane and it will give you a little extra warmth on the airplane and in the hotel if you need it. A cashmere shawl or large scarf can do double duty as a light but warm travel blanket that you can easily carry with you.

So, next time you boss sends you off another trip across country, don’t forget your handy dandy travel pillow. Here’s to your rest, so you can have a great meeting.