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Budget Friendly Lodging Options

A Room with a View
When I was in my 20s, I had the opportunity to stay at one of the dorms in the University of Paris for $15/day. That was quite an experience deserving a full narrative! I also stayed at a student dorm in Switzerland where I had my own room overlooking a garden courtyard and a refrigerator space in the kitchen. Until one morning when I went to take a shower and found a man in his briefs showing off his diminutive frame to all the guests who happened to pass by the shower rooms. So much for exhibitionists! 

Over the years, I’ve found and stayed at more refined lodgings without emptying my travel wallet all too quickly. Many of these places are in Europe and run by religious orders like the Brigidine sisters. The room rates at some of these guest houses start around €35,00 depending on the period of stay and the location. The rooms are simple but have comfortable beds and usually have their own private bathroom. They are always kept clean. The only drawback for some travelers might be the 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. curfew imposed by these guest houses or convents. Personally, I find these places to be the best and safest option when traveling solo, which I often do. 

Here are the links to these accommodations:
Brigidine Organization
The Order of S.S. of St. Bridget was established in Sweden in 1369 and this community of women traditionally live a contemplative life and have a commitment to work for the unity of the church. The sisters of St. Bridget manage 16 lodgings in Cuba, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Switzerland and the USA. I’ve stayed at several of their locations including Assisi in Italy, Falon in Sweden, Lugano in Switzerland and Turku in Finland. Continental breakfast is included. Many of their accommodations are within easy access to the city center and close to public transportation. There is usually a Chapel in the premises which I find relaxing to sit and meditate on the day’s activities or to pray with the nuns when I have time after sightseeing. There are also conference rooms in some locations, handy for group meetings. You don’t have to be Catholic to stay at these guest houses.

Twin room at St. Bridget in Turku, Finland
St. Patrick’s American Community in Rome
St. Patrick’s in Rome has a list of religious guest houses in Assisi, Rome and Venice and also offers spiritual walks of Rome. I tried to make reservations several times at the Suore di Lourdes (on their list) near the Spanish Steps in Rome to no avail. It’s not surprising that this guest house is usually fully booked. it has one of the best locations in Rome. I did stay at the Don Orione Artigianelli Cultural Center in Venice and it is well located in the Dorsoduro neighborhood. I loved the beautiful cloister in this guest house. 

House for Women in Switzerland
Hotels and food are quite expensive in Switzerland. It’s a relief to find a place where women can stay for a few days or long term (6 months max) and pay a reasonable price for a comfortable room.

Josephine’s Guest House
Josephine’s Guest House for Women
I recently stayed at Josephine’s and was pleasantly surprised by the spacious room with a view, the breakfast room with a terrace, the availability of washing machines and dryers in-house and the accessibility to public transportation.

Staying at a Hostal in Spain (not a hostel)
A hostal is definitely not a hostel. It is a hotel without a restaurant and usually designated as a two or three-star hotel. Hostales are found in Spain. I have my own favorite in Madrid. It is the Hostal Triana on Plaza Del Carmen near the Gran Via in the center of the city. The Triana is within walking distance to most landmarks and shopping streets in the city. And there’s no shortage of dining options in the area. 

Tower Inn Makati, Philippines
My Aunt recommended this hotel to me in 2007 and I’ve stayed at this hotel over the years. They offer clean, comfortable and air conditioned rooms with free breakfast. They also have helpful and efficient staff. The Inn is in a safe neighborhood across from the popular Glorietta Mall and the chic Greenbelt shopping and dining complex. The hotel is only 15 minutes from Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Terminal 3. Tower Inn also has hotels in Davao.

Monastery Stays
Monastery Stays lists properties in Austria, Italy, and Slovenia. I have not made reservations through Monastery Stays yet but it’s worth checking out its vast network of convents, monasteries and guest houses if you plan to go to these three countries.

How to get free stays at a hotel:
If you travel often, it’s a good idea to join a hotel group like IHG, Marriott Hotels, Accor Hotels, Best Western or your favorite hotel chain. You can accumulate points that can be used for free or discounted hotel stays at any of their hotels worldwide. I’ve used my Best Western points for free lodging in Santa Barbara, California and Nice, France. Most hotel groups give members promotional discounts off their room rates as well as rewards for dining, rental car, shopping or transfer of points to an airline mileage program. I found Ibis Hotels from the Accor group to have the lowest room rates in France when traveling off season. Staying loyal to a hotel group has its benefits.

Guide books with lists of lodgings in monasteries, convents and guest houses
Lodgings in Italy’s Monasteries, Lodgings in Spain’s Monasteries by Eileen Barish
Bed and Blessings by June Walsh 

If you have stayed at a good hotel with reasonable room rates, please share with us in the comments below. Happy travels!


Images by TravelswithCharie 

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