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As we make our way across Latin America, on the long drive south to Patagonia, we often stay in cheap, budget hotels so we can stretch our travel dollars as far as possible.
Of course, when possible we seek out free places where we can camp out of the back of my truck, usually in the many incredible national parks along the way. But in the cities that we explore, the option boils down to paying for an expensive campground or grabbing a cheap hotel room.
Comfort in Budget Hotels
More often than not, the prices to camp per person, are the same as what it costs for a hotel room. These budget hotels range between $10 – $20 per night for a couple — some times even less, though that is rare.
While these hotels are perfectly agreeable for the most part, with a comfy bed, TV, WiFi, and secure parking, there are a few things we be sure bring along with us in our travel that make our hotel nights a little more comfy.
Many times we find only one electrical outlet in a room, and it is usually on the other side of the room, far from the bed.
A simple six foot extension cord is probably the most important thing we have for hotel life. It’s best if your extension cord offers up two or three connections so you can plug in phones, computers, charge cameras, etc.
I can’t stress the simple extension cord enough when traveling throughout Latin America and staying in cheap hotels!
Electric Water Kettle
A hot water heater was a recent addition to our arsenal and has made a world of difference. I’m not sure why we hadn’t thought of this earlier. Before we would bring in the JetBoil so we could heat up water, but now we have a simple way to boil water in the room.
Not only does this treat otherwise suspect water, but it allows us to make coffee in the morning, make oatmeal for breakfast, or heat up water in the evenings for tea, instant coffee, or an instant soup.
This simple purchase has been a game changer, and it’s obviously much safer than using a JetBoil in the room.
Three Prong to Two Prong Adapter
Along with the extension cord, a three-prong to two-prong outlet adapter (also known as a polarized grounding adapter) is crucial.
The vast majority of budget hotels do not have the three prong outlets available, which means I couldn’t connect my computer.
I keep it tied to my extension cord with a little twist tie so I don’t ever lose it.
Coupling that with the hand-held burr grinder and the electric water kettle mentioned above, and that means we can drink really good coffee for breakfast or whenever we want.
Some days we stay in the hotel to get work done, and I like my coffee while I work, so this means we can avoid going out and searching for a coffee shop (sometimes harder said than done in South America), and we save money by making it ourselves.
If you’re traveling through Latin America or the developing world, you know that you can’t drink the water (except in very rare places). Traveling with a SteriPen means that I can treat the tap water and drink it!
This means I don’t have to be buying plastic water bottles (extremely wasteful) and I save the time and money of searching them out.
It is handy that it is rechargeable by USB, so you don’t have to worry about batteries either.
I regularly drink tap water thanks to the SteriPen and I’ve never gotten sick yet.
Thanks to the SteriPen we also treat water for our morning cereal (with powdered milk) for another easy breakfast option without leaving the room.
Let’s face it, oftentimes a cheap hotel is often a noisy hotel. Even if you’re way out in the country side, you might have roosters crowing or dogs barking at all hours of the night.
The smartphone app Relaxio (totally free!) has been an absolute lifesaver for nights like that.
It’s basically a white noise machine, allowing you to mix and match your preferred noises which can include the ocean waves, a crackling campfire, rain drops, a running stream, and much more.
You can set it to run all night long to wash out unwanted noises, or you can put it on a sleep timer to help you get some shut eye.
Couple this with an eye mask, and you can still get your beauty rest in even the noisiest of hotels.
I’ve even used this with headphones while camping when my tent mate was snoring non-stop before a summit attempt.
Read Next: How to Stay in Luxury Hotels for Free
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