Bookings, beds and being bloody organised
In our minds eye, we all have that perfect vision of what we want our holidays to look like. Me? I like the thought of modern luxury: grand, marble lobby’s, steel laced stairways and rooms that look like they’ve flown straight out of the year 2020 in Marty McFly’s time machine. Of course we all want our so called ‘accommodation ideal’ on a budget, and when we set out to plan our Asian adventure, my best friend and I agreed amongst ourselves that a £50 each/a night rate would guarantee us budget luxury without absolutely slaughtering our bank accounts.
17 nights accommodation? £850 (…or less, if possible). Ouch. It sounds like a hell of a lot of money for a traveller, but after working hours and hours of overtime, I realised that even an extra tenner here and there would amount to the difference between staying in a hostel on NYE or an actual four star hotel, and I knew what I was going to choose from the offset. Picky traveller 1, bank balance 0.
Along our room tracking journey, we’ve found that some places are incredibly good value for money. We’ve booked the Doubletree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur, a five star resort with Trip Advisor travellers choice awards, for £36 each a night which quite honestly, is a complete and utter bargain. Great location, swanky, and all for a good rate- fantastic. We’re also staying in central Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah (Borneo) for around £20 each a night in a hotel which again, has good reviews on Trip Advisor. We’ve found Trivago and Travel Supermarket indispensable for finding the best rates online, and Last Minute’s 15% off hotel discount code was fantastic when we booked Disney’s Hollywood hotel.
Trivago- a bargain hunting tool that even David Dickinson would be proud of!
But in some of our other stop offs, in particular Hong Kong and Tokyo, we kept hitting metaphorical brick walls that may as well have been ten miles high. We’re due to start our trip in Hong Kong on the 28th Dec-1st Jan, which happens to fall over one of the businest weekends of the year. GREAT. Try and book anything remotely nice/in a good location/not a shite hole for anything below fiftyanight and you’d be a hotel cheating pro; and it just wasn’t happening.
We knew that to make the most of our 2 full days and one half day in HK, we’d have to stay somewhere central with great transport links *one hit on the budget*. We also wanted a hotel with free wifi, so I could blog to my heart’s content *starting to crumble*. Try both of these factors with two twin beds, actual space around said beds to fit our luggage and an ok view, and we had a problem. The budget had to be upp-ed, and after ripping my hair out for weeks I finally succumbed and shelled out for three nights at EAST, my saviour. £77 a night for bed and breakfast is certainly not cheap- the thought of spending that much makes me want to die inside, BUT with that we’ve got a massive breakfast that’ll keep us going, a nice room and an amazing location next to a shopping centre. Ace. Lucky I signed my name down for overtime galore, right?
Tokyo- the world’s most populous metropolis (try and say that after a few drinks…)
Our Tokyo issue was actually solved pretty quickly, considering the city has a reputation for being one of the most expensive in the world. Hotel rooms were not playing ball, so I managed to find a long stay apartment-otel inbetween Shinjuku and Tokyo Disneyland for £61 a night, which seeing as though we’ll have actual washing facilities (amen) and a kitchen, I thought that was pretty damn good. Surely we’ll make up the extra tenner a night by eating in and washing our two weeks worth of dirt ridden clothes in our apartment? Either way, I’m satisfied.
So basically this accommodation lark wasn’t so easy after all and to be honest, I don’t even want to know how much I’ve spent overall, as I would probably just collapse from the grief of it all. However something I have learnt is:
1) To know how much everything will roughly cost before you set out, so budgets can actually be realistic. Ours wasn’t for what we wanted, that’s for sure.
2) Schedule to stay in the ‘cheap’ places over weekends so cities like HK can’t turn round to bite you on the bum/purse.
3) Try to travel in an off peak month. We didn’t have much of a choice due to exam restrictions but if you do, DON’T travel over New Year! It’s a royal rip!
And that’s my lesson over and out. But in regards to where we’re staying…
28th-31st Dec: EAST, HK
31st-1st Jan: Disney’s Hollywood Hotel, HK
1st-2nd: Hotel Sixty3, Kota Kinabalu, Borneo
2nd-5th: Shangri-La Rasa Ria, Kota Kinabalu
5th-7th: Doubletree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur
7th-11th: Residential Hotel B: CONTE Ariake, Tokyo
11th-12th: A Tokyo Narita airport hotel (yet to be decided)
We’re moving a lot, granted. But the everyday-I’m-shuffling motion was put into place so that we will waste as little time as possible travelling, and that our minimal time in each city will be maximised. This trip wasn’t about putting our feet up to relax on a sandy beach, it was about seeing the world and experiencing other cultures throughout our journey.
I’ll let you know how that one turns out whilst I’m out there. To all of the experienced travellers out there, have any tips for me? Tweet me over at @exploredujour!