We've always been big fans of bed and breakfasts for their cozy, personal feel, not to mention the amazing first meals of the day that you're always treated to. But beyond that, staying at a B&B also means access to localized advice on what to do, being able to borrow trip essentials that you might have forgotten, and getting the opportunity to meet smart people from all over the world. While it typically requires a bit more effort to book yourself into a B&B -- they aren't listed on traditional hotel search sites, though the likes of bnbfinder.com are starting to try to address that -- the rewards can be tremendous. Here's how to make the most of your stay the next time you check into a B&B.
Things to Ask Your Host
Innkeepers are great resources for keeping you away from tourist traps and steering you toward attractions and activities that’ll make your trip memorable. They know the town, they understand the weather patterns, and they know the shortcuts (or scenic detours) that visitors simply don’t. Heck, they may even know the owner of that eatery that’s all booked up for the evening. Chances are, your host will have been in the locale for quite some time and be rather familiar with the area, so feel free to chat with them over breakfast or an evening coffee about the town's history and culture -- in addition, of course, to the typical recommendations for restaurants, hikes, day trips, and other things to do around town.
Tips for Mingling with Other Guests
Is soaking in the local culture a big draw of travel for you? At most B&Bs, you’re able to sit alongside other explorers who probably have a few interesting stories to share as you partake in breakfast. If you'd like to strum up conversation and hear your neighbors discussing something you're familiar with, feel free to politely jump in. Or start with the basics: where they're from, what they do, and what they’ve seen or done around town that was enjoyable (or worth skipping!). At worst, you’ll get personal recommendations of how to spend your time. At best, you may find yourself a new friend or travel buddy.
Resources to take advantage of
Hotels may provide you with soap and shampoo, but at a B&B, you’re effectively home. Need to ice your knee after a long day hiking? The innkeeper will likely oblige. Didn't bring a towel or ice cooler for the beach? No problem. Looking for a corkscrew and glasses for a bottle of wine to wind down with? There's one for you to borrow. You can also ask about using the washer/dryer, the refrigerator (for keeping leftovers fresh), the kitchen (for a bit of home cooking on the road), or the local phone (great for making calls to confirm appointments if you’re in a foreign country).
Have any other great tips for maximizing one’s stay at a B&B? Let us know in the comments section below!