The Backpacking Freelancer - Part V

25 June 2011
bed for a night or two
After making flight reservations and paying for the online flight booking, the next logical step is to go search for a place to stay.

A lot of travel agencies hawk a range of budget hotels and luxury accommodations bundled with free city tours for a "fair" price.  The risk though is hard to ignore: Whether you push through with the trip or not, the money you spend will not be refunded.

The frugal freelancer has two alternatives to finding an economical bed in Hong Kong:  

* If enjoying the creature comforts of a hotel is your preference, book your stay via Asia Travel.

* If true-blue backpacking is your thing, then go find a guesthouse or a hostel. 

Hotel Deals at Asia Travel - Are They Safe?
The website presents a comprehensive list of licensed hotels and offers discounted deals when you book through the system. I have personally tried using the site and could vouch for its safety and reliability. What I like most about is that you do not have to fork out the whole amount to make a reservation.

The system merely requires your credit card information (or that of your sponsor) and deducts the rate for the first night of your stay. You are then expected to settle the balance upon your arrival at the hotel of your choice. You * might * be asked to present an authorization letter and a copy of the credit card holder's valid IDs later upon check-in if the credit card used to reserve the room is in someone else's name. 

Arranging your stay via Asia Travel puts you at ease in case you are unable to fly to Hong Kong (or some other travel destination). Better yet, cancellations within the specified period are free of charge. You might not have to shell out money after all for a botched up travel plan.

Hostels and Guesthouses - What's the Catch?

These specialty accommodations do not offer the creature comforts of standard hotels. Do not expect to find an in-house restaurant, a bellboy service, a decent lobby and a full-time concierge to attend to your needs.  Some hostels may offer free breakfast, but for the most part, you are on your own. What you do get is a bed to come home to after a long day out shopping.

The low rates are the main selling proposition. Whereas decent hotels charge anywhere between 600 and 1,500 HKD a night for two-person occupancy, a room at a guesthouse will only fetch as much as 300 to 400 HKD. A bed space at the hostel will cost even less. 

The payment method varies. Reservations for hostels or dorm-type accommodations can be coursed through sites such as Hostel Bookers and would most often entail credit card payments. Booking your stay at a guesthouse will mean contacting the owners directly. These family-run businesses tend to cater to a smaller circle of clientele and usually accept partial deposits via PayPal or bank transfer only. You can read more about payment methods in the post Ways to Get Paid Working from Home.

Up next: You really want to get the cheapest accommodation in Hong Kong but do not want to compromise safety, sanitation, mobility and location. You want to use your lappie and get free internet too. Which places should you consider? Stay tuned as I dish out the details of my favorite places to call home in Hong Kong. * 
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