Travel at its Best: Our Worst Accommodations

When you are traveling for weeks on end there is little doubt you’re going to get some highs & lows in the places you stay… especially if you’re on a budget!! We’ve experienced some incredible accommodations along the way… & on the other hand, we’ve had some real DUMPS!  Traveling on a budget, means no white fuzzy robes or room service. We typically spend $5-$15 a night on a room. Most South America and Asian countries offer cheap rooms– that come with dirty sheets, cold showers, and noisy neighbors… but it’s all in the art of backpacking.

Although many travelers book ahead of time during a long backpacking trip, for the most part, we prefer to turn up & figure things out when we get there… though that doesn’t always work out either!

So, have a laugh while feeling lucky that you didn’t have to sleep here, & read about our 5 worst  accommodations…

1. The Shed: Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
Our lovely little shed in Malaysia

Our lovely little shed in Malaysia

The Perhentians are one of my favorite places we have ever been. We swam with reef sharks, enormous sea turtles, beautifully colored fish, and relaxed on the beach each night with a hookah and cold beer. In turn, we slept in a shed. Literally, a shed. Not exaggerating this one. Holes between the boards that made up our walls, one dirty sheet stuck to the bed, with an old, holey mosquito net offering little protection from the insects hanging out in our “room”. It also happened to be disgustingly hot & humid. We had one lone fan above our heads and the power cut every morning at 6am on the dot, at which point we would be wide-awake, sweating, making a bee-line for the turquoise waters at the beach.  It would only be fitting that living in a shed meant showering in a barn. I had an ecosystem in the shower with me, a lime green frog clung to the side of the shower slyly catching mosquitos while a gecko observed on the opposite side of the shower waiting for his turn to gobble up some mozzies.

2. Robbing Theievs: Cusco, Peru

After a long 10 hour night bus we all wobbled into the first hotel we saw wide-eyed and in need of a shower. It was one of my dad and brothers first times abroad, I had carefully coaxed them into taking the flight South and exploring Peru with us for a couple weeks. I had visions of the trip going perfectly while they were here, no glitches, just smooth, smiling, care-free travels. Oh, how I wish. After wandering around Cusco’s gothic-eque streets and cathedrals for the day we came back to the hotel tired and ready for a sounds night sleep— until my dad opened his hotel room door and saw his clothes tossed around and $100 missing. Greeding thieves! Instead of taking out all of his money and taking the rise of being pick-pocketed he tucked $100 in a pants pocket buried it at the bottom of his bag under a stack of clothes. The maid ransacked the room and came out $100 richer. I went downstairs to tell the old grumpy owner about the missing money, so he’d be aware of what was going on and I was told I was a liar, my dad or brother had stolen the money from themselves, and I was having the cops called on me! Imagine the shock on my face. After waiting around for an hour for the cops to come, the owner gave up and kicked us out! It just kept getting better and better, so $100 down and now back on the streets looking for a room. I still can’t follow the logic, but oh well.

3. The Train Station Floor: Varanasi, India
It was like a refugee camp in the train station!

It was like a refugee camp in the train station!

India, oh India. The times we had there, are some of the most beautiful experiences of our travels and some experiences there have made me swear the country off for good. Our time there was a roller-coaster ride full of highs and lows. The night we slept on a filthy train station floor with thousands of other Indians, just so happened to be one of those low points. Our train was cancelled due to terrorists blowing up the tracks & Varanasi guest houses lock their gates up early– so there was no going back into town and finding a room at midnight. All trains were cancelled, all. In a country that relays on its trains… that meant us + thousands of other stranded Indians sleeping on the floor of one of the most disgusting train stations in the dirtiest country we’ve had the pleasure of traveling in. I kid you not, I had a bag of trash to the right side of my head with an old banana peel peeking out of the top, Rhys to my left, and four random men in all directions around me. Sleeping so close to me, if I rolled over I’d kick them in their head or ear. This is the point where I pulled out my trusted iPod, put on my happy song, closed my eyes, and imagined myself at the beach with sand tickling my toes. Anything to get through the night. It’s fair to say, this was our last night in India, and we were on the first bus to Nepal in the morning!

4. The Motel: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

The USA is famous for its old, falling apart motels. They’re in so many movies and scattered across the country. We checked into a motel that could have been used in the movie Psycho. Pulling up to it, the outside was built around an old empty bean shaped pool. The local skaters had taken a loving to it, and it reminded me of scenes from Lords of Dogtown. The motel was on the border of “gangster-ville”, my friend from Santa Cruz met us there and took one step in the room and said, “Why in the hell are you staying here? Have you seen the guys shooting up outside yet?” The beds had holes in the comforters from cigarettes and the room smelled much the same. California isn’t all glamor and Hollywood!

5. Hampi Night Bus: India

Night buses in any country are the worst. There’s only so much sleep you will ever get on a bus and at least for me, it’s never over a few hours. The rest of the time I’m caught between that area of being sleep and awake, floating in and out of dreams and songs on my iPod. However, India offers no time to find that weird state of mind. The roads are so terrible, I literally became a kernel of popcorn bracing myself on the walls around me as I was thrown up and down, back and forth in my tiny bed. By the end of the bus ride, my muscles hurt from being so tense as I tried to hold myself in bed and out of the aisle. It was more like a ride at a carnival on their cheapest, oldest, rusted ride than a bus!


Looking back on all of these nights just makes me laugh. But, you can’t really appreciate nice, beautiful rooms if you’ve never experienced the worst hotels have to offer, right? I certainly appreciate white sheets and hot showers now!

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