One of the most simple yet confusing decisions that one must make when going on any trip is deciding where to stay, especially when making that decision on a bus or sitting in a cafe. Throw in the fact that we have a child in a wheelchair (who is sixty pounds, which is hard to carry up and down stairs twice a day) and you would have many people in a tailspin. Thankfully after a few months on the road we have developed somewhat of a system to decide were to stay.
• STEP 1- Criteria for accommodations: Centrally located, wheelchair accessible (on ground level or has a lift), Price, Availability of suitable rooms, Air conditioning, internet (if possible).
• STEP 2- Do some research, often times using the internet or looking in the guidebook.
• STEP 3a- If a suitable place can be found through our research, and it seems to match our criteria then we will book ahead if possible. Often times we will try to book ahead in larger centers because it is difficult to just wander around and find a place.
• STEP 3b- If we can’t find a good place to stay in our research, “fly by the seat of your pants” and find a spot to stay once we have arrived at your destination. It is best however to have an idea of were you want to stay so that you can get a taxi to take you to an area where there is a hotel cluster. This may not sound important but often times in spots were buses unload, or train stations and airports, Touts will try to get you to their hotel, which can get frantic and can result in poor choices. However once you have left those high pressure areas you can scout out hotels in relative ease. If you have children like us, we let them watch the bags and have a drink at a restaurant so that we are not taking all of our bags with us when we are checking out hotels.
• STEP 4- Enjoy your accommodation, cause you’ll be doing it all over again in a few days!
Notes by Laverne
We expected to stay in a lot more hostels because of the services (kitchens, common areas and English speaking staff who can arrange onward travel) that they provide as well as the fact that they are usually in central locations but lower priced than comparable hotels. They also often have family rooms which is nice because then all of us can stay in the same room. Otherwise we usually need 2 hotel rooms. However most hostels do not have lifts so we find that hotels are turning out to be more suitable to our needs.
Some of the hotels we have stayed in are small family run operations, which means the family also lives at the hotel. These are almost always narrow tall buildings. The front of the ground floor is a lobby while the back is a kitchen. Sometimes the family will have a restaurant in the front lobby as well. At the end of the day, everyone gathers at the hotel. In most cases, if you come down to the lobby at night, you will see the entire extended family asleep on their mats, on the lobby floor.
Thanks to Lorraine for asking how we arrange our accommodations.
Bissky Dziadyk Family
Travelling the world as a family since 2008.
In September 2008 our family embarked on a four month journey through South East Asia. Traveling with a child who uses a wheelchair presented its challenges, but following the Mekong River through China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam with a wheelchair was truly an adventure.
When we move beyond our fears and embrace our dreams, the Universe has an odd way of not only supporting us but giving us more opportunities than we ever imagined. Embarking on a journey with an open heart we can not help but be changed forever by the experience. Indeed it would be a waste to return untouched in the spiritual realm.
September: China (Beijing, Xi’an,Kunming, Yuanyang)
October: Northern Vietnam (Hanoi, Halong Bay) and
Laos (Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiane)
November: Southern Vietnam (Hue, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta)
December: Cambodia (Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang, Kampot and Sihanoukville).