Bed and Breakfasts: Room and Board on the Road
According to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, there were more than 20,000 bed and breakfasts operating in the United States in 2006. So you're hardly alone in thinking that a bed and breakfast might be a nice alternative to a bland hotel or roadside tourist trap. Whether you're planning a couples getaway, a family vacation, a trip for your boss, or a quick stop en route to a final destination, the Web sites we've found will help you discover the possibilities.
A visit to a bed and breakfast offers a more intimate type of lodging, with uniquely decorated rooms, luxurious private baths, homemade breakfasts, and plenty of pampering. This section offers a quick lesson on contemporary bed-and-breakfast culture.
- Almost every Web site relating to bed and breakfast lodging will encourage the visitor to make reservations online. Be cautious about booking travel until you have given yourself a chance to peruse multiple B&B sites and comparison-shop.
- Many bed and breakfast operations accept cash or checks only, but some allow you to prepay online with a credit card or through a third-party payment service like PayPal.
- Because these transactions are not always the most high-tech, make sure your online payment is done through a secure server. To do this, look for the Web address to start with "https" instead of "http" (the "s" is for "secure"), or look for a little icon of a padlock in the bottom corner of your browser.
- Many B&Bs have pictures of their rooms on the Web site. Visit sections entitled "Accommodations," "Rooms," or "Photos" to get a better look at the establishment.
- Check out general travel Web sites like Frommers.com or Fodors.com for travel tips that can be applied to bed and breakfasts. Type in the phrase "bed and breakfast" in their search bars to produce related articles, destinations, and message boards.
- Most bed and breakfasts on the Web have a section devoted to guest feedback. This page may be titled "Feedback," "Guestbook," or "Testimonials," but whatever it's called it's a good place to read up on what fellow travelers had to say about their stay. For more info on B&B quality, visit the "How do I evaluate the quality and reputation of a bed and breakfast?" section of this guide.
For comprehensive bed and breakfast sites ...
Karen Brown's World of Travel
is a thorough and user-friendly Web site particularly helpful to people who are getting acquainted with the bed and breakfast world. Click on the "KB Community" tab for message boards and trip photos. Use her Google Earth satellite maps to see what type of area a particular B&B is in. Or scroll through her lists of hundreds of stateside and international inns. And rest assured: any lodging recommended on KarenBrown.com
has been visited by Karen or her staff.
A Thousand Inns
is a good Web site for getting into bed, so to speak, with B&B culture. It has an inn locator, a free newsletter, and info on specialized lodging, such as wedding and honeymoon inns and resort-style B&Bs. This site can be translated into French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Be sure to read the "Why choose Bed & Breakfast?" section on their main page (scroll down to find it).
has some quality travel advice for the Internet surfer. The most important section of this comprehensive Web site is the "Travel Tips" tab at the top of the main page. Here you'll find the Inns.com travel library with plenty of advice on accommodations. Be sure to read up on the "Inn Traveler's Bill of Rights."
The Innside Scoop
, although a bit overwhelming to the eye, is endorsed by travel editors for its in-depth knowledge of bed and breakfasts. Visit this site for staff-selected U.S. B&Bs and sign up for a free subscription to The Innside Scoop e-zine. Scroll all the way down the main page for recommended reading and humorous articles that give important info on B&Bs.
For articles relating to bed and breakfasts ...
furnishes an article that examines how more and more business travelers are opting for the personal touch of B&Bs over motels and hotels.
posts a great list of "Cost-Cutting Travel Tips," most of which can be directly applied to a stay at a bed and breakfast. Take a look at the first and most important step to saving money: travel during the off-season!
is a Web site devoted to posting short travel videos that provide a glimpse of locations around the world. Check out this 45-second clip on bed and breakfasts in England. Browse through Travelistic's U.S. videos to find cities with B&B lodging.
A B&B's Web site is not necessarily the best indication of its quality or character, but there are other means of determining a bed and breakfast's standards. This section has Web resources to help you evaluate a bed-and-breakfast before you book.
- Utilize the virtual tour. More and more B&B owners are posting virtual tours on their Web sites. These videos usually include large photos and 360-degree views. They are a good way to make sure the B&B actually has the amenities it advertises. (Check for that claw foot tub and bay window!)
- Rely on the reviews of fellow travelers. Independent travelers are most likely to give you an unbiased review of a bed and breakfast they have recently visited. Follow up with a private message or e-mail if you need more information from a particular reviewer.
- Check professional travel sites like frommers.com for star ratings. These can occasionally be inaccurate, but a five-star B&B usually doesn't disappoint.
- Beware of overly enthusiastic reviews on innkeepers' Web sites. Is the testimonial section full of rave reviews, excessive exclamation marks, and annoying adjectives? Chances are, you're reading reviews from family and friends.
- Consider developing a cross-site review system. When you spot a bed and breakfast that appeals to you, look it up on multiple B&B finders. If the reviews are similar and unsuspicious, you are probably safe to reserve a room.
For online reviews of bed and breakfasts by fellow travelers ...
is an interactive travel community with candid reviews of worldwide accommodations by everyday travelers. From the main page, click on "Reviews" and then "Search Reviews" to find ratings on B&Bs in a particular area. Be sure to specify "Bed and Breakfast" as your search type.
can be difficult to navigate at first but the information this site offers is valuable. Click on "Read and Write Reviews" and type in your desired B&B location. For example, if you were looking for a bed and breakfast in Bar Harbor, Maine, type in "Bar Harbor bed and breakfasts" to find dozens of reviews by travelers on B&Bs in the area.
For general ratings...
is a comprehensive B&B site for foreign and domestic travel. All search results come with ratings so you don't have to navigate to a separate section of the site, making it quick and easy to do side-by-side comparisons of B&Bs.
is rather confusing to navigate but it provides helpful links to state inspection associations. From the main page, click on "For the Traveler," then choose a region to gain access to the bed and breakfast association for any particular state. These state-run Web sites offer the traveler high-quality B&B destinations.
The Bed and Breakfast Network
presents visitors with multiple pictures for each inn or B&B. Pass your mouse over the pictures of "Featured" B&Bs to enlarge them and get a better feel for what they have to offer.
Lodging Guide World Wide
has a busy, semi-confusing décor but a visit is worth it for the pictures. Search by city for B&Bs and find pop-up pics for each destination.
offers virtual tours of accommodations without having to visit the lodging's individual Web site. Although their list is limited in the United States, if you are looking for accommodation in Canada, these virtual tours can be quite helpful.
Each U.S. state has dozens (sometimes hundreds) of bed-and-breakfasts from which to choose. Below are Web sites devoted to every corner of the country, from southern hospitality to midwest charm, to the East and West coasts.
- Many Web sites with state-by-state B&B listings allow you to click on a state and then narrow your search by region. If you're not sure what region of a particular state interests you, click on the regions to see the cities in that area.
- It is sometimes more difficult to find B&Bs in urban areas. If you are staying in a place like Los Angeles or New York, try searching in the surrounding suburbs for accommodations.
- Don't forget about Alaska and Hawaii! Both states have beautiful and scenic lodging. Check out The Choice Bed & Breakfast Guide Web site in this section's Picks for a well-rounded list.
- For help finding historic B&Bs in your home state, check out the "What if I want to stay at a historic bed and breakfast?" section of this guide.
- If a travel site offers online quotes or price lists without making you commit to a reservation, take advantage. The cost of living varies greatly in the United States. One night at a B&B in Ohio may be a third of the cost for one night's stay in California.
For state-by-state B&B finders ...
The Choice Bed & Breakfast Guide
is a polished and pleasing B&B guide that is organized by two types of searches: the "City Search" and a "Region Search" that lets you choose your area on a U.S. map.
The Professional Association of Innkeepers International
provides a Web site with a state-by-state listing of B&Bs. The innkeeper must be a member of the PAII to be listed on the site, so this is not the largest group of available B&Bs but it does list many of the highest quality B&Bs in the United States.
Bed and Breakfast Explorer
allows visitors to search by state, and then narrow the search by city and region. Looking for some new ideas on where to go? This site is great for the "Featured Inns" section on the main page. Read up on one of their recommended B&Bs and you just might be inspired to head down a new path.
Bed and Breakfast List
allows a visitor to quickly and easily find a long list of bed and breakfasts in any U.S. state. It also links directly to each B&B's individual Web site.
has a surprise for B&B lovers: a long and detailed list of North American foodie-endorsed bed and breakfasts. This site goes the extra mile by listing the Web site, physical address, and innkeeper's contact info for each B&B.
For those bigger or more-populated states ..
California Bed and Breakfast
helps to navigate the busy roads of our mammoth West Coast wonder. From Crescent City to San Diego, this site covers accommodations from the North Coast to the South Coast and everything in between.
Hospitality Accommodations of Texas
, or HAT, is a statewide organization that inspects and approves B&Bs, inns, hotels, guesthouses, and guest ranches. Search the main page of HAT by region or city to find "the finest" Texas has to offer.
New York Visitors Network
features a special section for finding B&Bs throughout the vast and diverse state of New York. Whether you're looking to stay in the boroughs of New York City or the backwoods of Upstate, this site has you covered.
Bed and breakfasts have European roots, but are found all over the world. Peruse the sites in this section to find a B&B in almost any country, even remote locales like Greenland and the Pacific Islands.
- Consider booking a "package deal" when traveling internationally. Although this is easier to do with hotels, some Web sites offer bed and breakfast accommodations combined with plane travel and car rental. Not only will you save money on the package, but chances are the B&B will be cheaper than the hotels in the same area.
- Remember that B&Bs will vary from country to country. Australia will have different traditions than the United Kingdom, and the United States will be a different experience than Germany.
- As you search for accommodations, keep in mind that B&Bs are most popular in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Other countries may offer boarding houses or hostels but these are not the same as a bed and breakfast. Clarify with the lodging manager before making a reservation.
- If you've found the perfect international bed and breakfast but need to figure out how to get to your destination, the findingDulcinea Travel Guide can help.
Pillows and Pancakes
is a great way to search for B&Bs in top destination countries. Check out their list in the upper lefthand corner of the main page to find B&Bs in Canada, Ireland, England, Scotland, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand, or search the "All Countries" link to find your destination. Pillows and Pancakes has plenty of pictures and links to each B&B's actual Web site. However, one of the best features on this site is the collection of Google Earth maps that show you satellite footage of your B&B's location.
At B&B Info Canada
, travelers can search for bed and breakfast inns by selecting from a list of provinces or by clicking on the large map of Canada on the main page. B&B Info Canada also lets you compare and review Canadian B&Bs.
International Bed and Breakfast Pages
is another comprehensive site for hot destinations in international travel. This site is best used to find inn lodging in Europe, South Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. Make sure to read IBBP's bed and breakfast reviews, recipes, and travel tips, as well as search for discounts.
Bed and Breakfast Inns of North America
not only catalogs B&Bs in the United States, but also has an impressive listing of Mexican, Canadian, and Caribbean accommodations. On the main page, click on the Mexican flag to find B&Bs in 13 states in Mexico, including Cuernavaca, Acapulco, and Oaxaca.
For bed and breakfasts in Europe ...
is an Italy-based site with nearly 400,000 worldwide listings for lodging and a concentration on hotels and B&Bs in Europe. Go straight for the interactive map to make the most of Venere's site. Once you pick a destination, you can narrow your search for B&Bs.
appears to list mostly hotels but a closer look at this site is worth it. Based in Ireland, PlacesToStay is useful for finding B&Bs in the top destinations in Europe. Look for the "3 Vs Quality Mark" to find rooms that have been visited by the site's inspectors.
is a bit overwhelming to look at but if you have patience, this site can track down B&Bs in nearly any corner of the United Kingdom. Pick a county then click on the map to see local lodging. This is a popular site with the Brits.
For finding international B&Bs ...
While many innkeepers try to create a traditional ambiance and old world charm, authentic B&Bs can be hard to pinpoint. The sites below help you step back in time, authentically.
- One way to spot historic distinction is by the National Register of Historic Places. Any lodging with this label on their Web site is a bonafide piece of history.
- Visit the "About Us" or "History" page of a lodging's Web site. Innkeepers often post information on the building or its story that may give you some insight as to its history. You can also e-mail the B&B owner for more info.
- If your interests include history combined with international travel, be sure to visit the "Where can I find international bed and breakfasts?" section of this guide.
Top Ten Inns
is endorsed by the National Register of Historic Places for its expansive database of historic properties that offer lodging to the public. This site is a great way to start your hunt for a historic B&B.
Charming Country Inns
is a great resource for finding historic B&Bs. Check out their "Inn of the Month" on the main page, or scroll through the long list of "New Members" on the righthand side. To find a B&B that is very old and full of history in your destination, begin your search using the U.S. map.
I Love Inns
caters to "bed and breakfast lovers" with its quick search destinations, staff favorites, and most popular picks. This site concentrates on historic B&Bs and also occasionally features inns listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Bed and Breakfast Inns
, America's Inn Directory is not the best designed site on the World Wide Web but what it lacks in charm it makes up for with history. The site offers hundreds of historic B&Bs, categorized by region and state. Unfortunately, there are no international listings.
Passport To New England
lists old inns in the area. Search by state in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine or check last-minute availability anywhere in New England.
is a great Web site for traditional accommodations in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Click on the maps, the hyperlinks, or the pictures for reservation information.
Bed and breakfasts are notorious for their scrumptious AM offerings, and our Picks will point you to a mouth-watering compilation of recipes you can expect to find at inns around the world.
- Some B&B owners post their breakfast recipes online for guests to enjoy back at home. You can also e-mail the owners for a recipe; unless it's a top-secret family formula, they will most likely be happy to oblige.
- As is evident by the name, most B&Bs offer breakfast with each overnight stay. Many places offer two breakfasts, one for early risers and one for everyone else. Breakfast is usually served buffet-style and occasionally the meal is sit-down. Check the Web site of the B&B you plan to visit for meal times and a breakfast menu.
- Vegetarians interested in visiting a bed and breakfast should e-mail the innkeeper ahead of time to give them a heads up. Most B&Bs have a plethora of recipes from which to draw and finding veggie dishes should not be a problem. Check out the Web sites listed under this guide's "What if I need special accommodations?" section.
- Innkeepers sometimes invite their guests to make special meal requests. If you find this to be true with your B&B, visit their Web site to submit an online request form, or shoot them a quick e-mail request before you arrive.
- The Cooking News delivers a tempting article on recipes for best B&B breakfasts. How does Crème Brule French Toast sound?
Bed and Breakfast Inns Online
offers one of the most impressive B&B recipe collections on the Internet. You can find hundreds of meals on this colorful site, many of which you just might be served during your stay. This site also provides links to complete cookbooks by innkeepers.
Better Bed and Breakfasts
is a big fan of the morning meal. This Web site is devoted to the favorite breakfasts of innkeepers nationwide. Click on a particular section to see dozens of recipes, each one linked to the B&B from which it was created. You'll find Buttermilk Pancakes in Lancaster, Potato Strata in Asheville, and Tropical Breeze Cake in Key West.
The International Bed and Breakfast Pages
offers a collection of innkeeper recipes and categorizes them by food genre. Browsing these traditional bed and breakfast recipes can give you a good idea of what to expect on your visit.
boasts that it's "the most delicious Web site on the Internet." Their database of recipes is composed of hundreds of dishes sent in by B&B owners everywhere. This site is categorized by the type of meal and then alphabetized within each category.
's well-known site for domestic and international B&B booking has a nice section for foodies as well. Browse her recipes page for everything from main dishes to condiments, and sign up for Lanier's B&B newsletter for featured recipes delivered to your inbox.
If you can't leave home without your dog, cat, oxygen tank, or three screaming children, don't panic. You are entitled to a vacation. Take at look at Dulcinea's selections for travelers with special needs, whatever they may be.
- Use these sites as jumping-off points for finding bed and breakfasts that accommodate your particular needs.
- If a B&B promises an amenity on their Web site, call or e-mail to double check. You don't want to arrive to find no wheelchair access or a missing dog run.
- Most bed and breakfasts are designed to cater to an individual's needs. E-mail the innkeeper with your requests and don't be surprised if they grant your every wish.
- Many B&Bs have separate cottages or back rooms for families. If you're in the market for an overnight stay with a family of four, look for pictures or virtual tours that reveal extra space.
For travelers with physical disabilities ...
Access-Able Travel Source
prides itself on listing hundreds of accommodations for travelers with special needs. Although it takes a few minutes to navigate through this site, visitors can find listings for bed and breakfasts worldwide. Select "World Destinations" to get started.
is a search engine directory that takes some patience but the filter search feature allows you to search for lodging with wheelchair access. Type in your area of interest in the "Quick Search" section. This leads you to a more detailed search that can be filtered.
For pet owners ...
is the go-to site for travelers who can't bear to part with their pet dogs, cats, birds, or fish. Click on the "Lodging Listings" link to search for bed and breakfasts that allow Fluffy through the front door.
Pets on the Go
invites pet owners to read independently written reviews and professional advice on pet-friendly lodging. Be sure to visit their handy "Pet Travel Resources" section.
For families ...
The Independent Traveler
is actually quite helpful for families looking to book at a B&B. From the main page, search under "Family Travel" or "Hotel & B&B" to find a good fit for the whole family.
helps families find their ideal B&B. Pass your mouse over "Search" at the top of the main page, then select "Detailed Search" from the drop-down menu. Click the "Family Travel" button and choose your destination. The site narrows its list of worldwide B&Bs to those who can accommodate moms, dads, and kids in your desired location.
For vegetarians ...
's vegetarian-friendly travel site includes a "Global Guide to Vegetarian B&Bs." This simplistic site might surprise you with its comprehensive collection of destinations around the world.
Green Earth Travel
is a site devoted to finding destinations that are vegetarian and environmentally friendly. Veg heads will be happy: one of this site's best features is its "Vegetarian Bed and Breakfasts" link which offers dozens of veg-friendly B&Bs.
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