I didn’t intend for this to be a series, but I guess it’s not such a bad thing to share a few tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the years.
I’ve made multiple lodging reservations for next week’s trip to Peru — all with a purpose and a plan that gave me maximum flexibility. Here are some things I kept in mind during this time.
Don’t be afraid to spend time in the airport if you want to save money. Many overseas airports take care of travelers better than those in the U.S. Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport is a great example. Many flights arrive late at night and domestic flights to the popular tourist areas commonly leave early in the morning. I’ve spent the night in the airport many times (along with hundreds of other travelers). This has saved me a night’s lodging cost as well as the taxi fares and travel time to and from the hotel/hostal. Lima in particular is safe with lots of food options all night long. Dozens of people sleep along the walls so you won’t be alone.
I always try to lock in reservations as early as possible at an acceptable place with as flexible a cancellation policy as possible. For example, I first made a reservation at a place in Iquitos that I knew through Booking.com. This way I had a place confirmed over the busy holiday time at a hospedaje (in Peru, that’s a small “hotel”) that I liked. The only problems were that it was far from the center of town and had no hot water — two things I can deal with, but preferred to look for a closer place.
Then I began searching for another location closer to the main plaza which met as many of my “requirements” as possible. Lots of internet searching and posts asking for help in various internet groups were also very useful tools. Eventually I found what looked like a great hospedaje on AirBnB, but I couldn’t get a response from the owner, so I made another reservation at a second place only a few blocks from the center while I waited. Eventually the owner wrote through his personal email and I was able to reserve a large room with air conditioning and hot water about 7 blocks from the main Plaza de Armas — easy walking distance! With a lot of great reviews, I think I’ve got a deal for only $18/night.
More on this place when I get to Iquitos…