Traveling is a wonderful thing. I love experiencing new cultures, tasting new food, and taking a gazillion photos. But traveling also means staying in places where the quality of the bed you’re sleeping on can vary greatly. Since the main reason for booking a room is so you have a place to sleep at night, it amazes me how many bad beds there are around the world.
My friend Amanda and I were really only in Senggigi because we wanted to get to the Gili Islands. We got in late, we were starving, and we just needed a room for one night, so we just grabbed the first place we found for a reasonable price. Mistake. The bathroom was barely big enough for a toilet and a shower hose and did not include a sink. The room was dirty and cramped. And worst of all, there was sand in the sheets of the bed. Neither of us slept much that night.
Gili Air, Indonesia
We actually loved this little bungalow we stayed in on Gili Air. The bed was comfortable enough, but this is where we realized those mosquito nets provided in most guesthouses in Southeast Asia aren’t just for keeping the mosquitoes out. We believe they are to prevent lizards from crapping on you in your sleep. Sound crazy? Well, it’s easy enough for lizards to get into the various guesthouses, and we woke up to a small pile of poo on the floor the next morning. I took a picture, but I was laughing so hard it came out blurry, and really, I think you can use your imagination on this one.
Known for being eco-friendly, the lodge we stayed at was in the middle of the rain forest near the orangutans and proboscis monkeys. Even though there were only two of us, we got a cabin with a double bed and a set of bunk beds. Unfortunately only the double bed had a mosquito net, and since the cabin walls weren’t fully sealed, tons of bugs flew inside. Amanda and I spent plenty of nights sharing a bed, so that wasn’t a big deal. However, our second night there almost resulted in an animal attack. I might be exaggerating a little, but at the time that’s what it seemed like. See for yourself and read about the Little Lodge of Horrors.
Vang Vieng, Laos
This town of intoxicated river tubing was never on my list, but I ended up there anyway. I spent about a week traveling with a girl named Jo who just wanted to stop there to break up the long trip between Vientiane and Luang Prabang. The guesthouse we ended up at was cheap, safe, had a great view, and was close to a dozen restaurants. But the beds were awful! Our room had four single beds, and the mattresses seemed to be filled with straw. We stacked them up so we had two each in a failed attempt to gain a little more cushion from them. I was happy to move on after two nights for many reasons.
I loved Istanbul. Andy and I were in Turkey in April for our belated honeymoon, and added it to our “must return” list. But we won’t be returning to the same hotel. For four nights, we stayed in an apartment-style hotel near Taksim Square, and each morning my body hurt more than the day before. The staff was friendly, the room was clean and spacious, but I might have been better off sleeping on the floor.
I would never let a string of bad beds stop me from traveling. You just have to figure out a way to sleep through the painful/uncomfortable/creepy situations and know that sometimes bad beds are unavoidable. If only there were more of the great beds I’ve experienced along the way, like this one in Bora Bora.
Over the years, experiences like these have led Andy and I to seek out higher quality hotels. Read about where to stay in Central America.