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This post about sleeping in unusual places on the road is the result of an exciting exchange I had a few months ago with Annalisa, a fan of my Facebook page, but above all, a great traveler and lover of the unusual.

We both agree that where to sleep is also an experience, and sometimes it can be just the real travel experience. Sleeping in the ranch in Tombstone, for example, was the main reason for my unforgettable stage in the heart of Arizona, and I could mention many other similar accommodations.

However, Annalisa and her husband Dario are real experts in this type of unusual accommodation. I asked her to tell me about her favorite experiences, how she organizes her trips, and advise me about the unusual places that I should include in my bucket list.

Annalisa & Dario

Sleeping in unusual places: Annalisa’s advice

My name is Annalisa Dei, and I live near Arezzo (Tuscany), but I come from the area of Florence. I am an administrative manager in a web agency in Arezzo, and I graduate in foreign languages and among my thousand hobbies (photography, TV series, anime, reading, writing, gardening, etc.) I love traveling.

I travel all year round around Italy on weekends to take part in several exhibitions of MOC Lego. Unfortunately, we can only grant ourselves a proper vacation once per year for work reasons, always in August and always lasting three weeks.

I usually keep a notebook on my smartphone, divided by continents and then into states, and every time I find an interesting location, I add it. To select the various locations, I use any means, from online travel diaries, TV series locations (for example, Sedona and Atlanta for The walking dead), or I do a targeted search for parks/zoos/aquariums, dark places, unusual places or I search by photo, entering the name of the place and from there broadening the search.

I have been traveling with my partner Dario since 2012, and each one has its own task: I find all the “pearls” (especially the non-touristy ones), then I propose them to Dario, and if he likes them too we start searching all the related details.

Once we defined the places we want to visit, we open a map and start adding all the selected spots: green for those we need to see, orange for those to see only if we have time, and red for those we could also skip. Once the spots are set, we decide the itinerary, checking timetables, rates, arrival times, and the average duration of the visit based on online reviews and our priorities. We both love photography and know more or less how much time we need.

The tour is virtually established; Dario looks for all the GPS coordinates: hotels, parking lots, landmarks in desert areas, etc.

In the meantime, we select and book the accommodations, mainly based on strategical hubs to arrange all the visits and following stages. Once everything is defined, we transcribe routes and info on our logbook, which is actually a big ring-binder.

Basically, we have already paid for flights, rental cars, accommodation, and tours when we leave. Extras on-site include fuel, meals, parking, and personal purchases.

The first three years, we have thoroughly visited all of Great Britain, which has many hidden pearls, then Scotland and the Outer and the Inner Hebrides, then Iceland, then the parks in the western USA, and last year the south of the USA from Atlanta to Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and back (about 9700 km).

Every trip has its peculiarities, there is not a single one I liked more than another, ’cause each one is realized following our own desires.

Unusual accommodations in Wales

In every trip, if there is a possibility, we treat ourselves with “special accommodations.

In Wales, we slept in a beautiful Mansion: Llanmihangel Plas, £ 35 per person. Inland from the south coast of Wales does not have a specific address. It is located in the village of Llanmihangel.

A mansion fully furnished according to medieval-style (bathroom included). It is gorgeous, and the friendly owners told us, “do as if you were at home.” Rich and delicious breakfast served in an elegant dining room that made us feel like two nobles, seated at the head of a very long table.

I recommend a stroll in the small garden and in the grove, always part of the property.

The only cons: it’s not easy to find it without GPS!

In Wales we also slept at Gwydir Castle: £ 85 per night. It’s located in the village of Llanrswt (North Wales). The price of the rooms varies according to the chosen one (there are three available); ours was the Duke of Beaufort’s Chambe.

We were the only guests and it was a unique experience as it’s considered to be a “haunted” castle.

A spectacular place, serving a delicious breakfast in the dining room, which closes right after the meals being part of the official exhibition. Same thing for the gardens, reserved for the castle’s guests till 10 a.m. and open to the public.

We were handed the keys to the private chapel, accessible by car, and visiting it by ourselves was another treat upon request.

The only cons: light in the room virtually nonexistent…

In Dorset

In Dorset, we slept in a beautiful bookshop: Booklover’s B&B in the antique bookshop “Sanctuary” – 65 Broad Street, Lyme Regis, Dorset. 28 pounds each.

After the shop closes, the owners leave, and guests are left alone in this paradise. There is a room where you can eat surrounded by hundreds of books. Very nice bedrooms, obviously packed with books, and books surrounded even our bathtub with lion’s feet. They serve an excellent breakfast, and if you want, you can even book a Japanese one as Mariko, the owner’s wife, is Japanese.

The book store is fascinating, composed of many rooms and niches where you can sit on sofas, read, relax and observe old toys.

The only cons: the parking lot next to the B&B is not a free one, but the owners do help with this too.

In Iceland

In Iceland, we slept at Glamping & Camping, in Vestman Islands, in a bungalow at € 75 a night. They are hobbit hut-like huts built at the foot of the mountains.

Furnished in Ikea style but very stylish, including a mini sitting area at the entrance and a bedroom. The bathrooms (public and with showers) are located at about 200 m, in the main residence, where you can also use the kitchen, internet, and other services.

You can also sleep in tents, but in August it was very cold and humid at night, and the huts are equipped with heating. Cars can be parked nearby.

The only cons: there are no market or shops to buy food nearby, but you can find a Bonus supermarket in town.

Unusual accommodations in the States

In the USA, we slept in a Saloon in Montana at the entrance of Yellowstone: The Range Rider Lodge – 109 U.S. Park County – Montana 59081 USA, for $ 94 per night.

The place is fantastic, and to get there, you pass by the Lamar Valley, and in the evening, you can watch out for the bison herds that cross the street.

As soon as you enter, you find yourself directly inside a mega saloon, and the rooms are located along the perimeter of the gallery, and each has a woman’s name (yes, they were the ones used by prostitutes). Small, quiet, and comfortable rooms with common bathrooms, always along the corridor.

The only dining place is a quaint mini restaurant right across the street. Very good, but it closes quite early at night. To get from the restaurant to the hotel, it is pitch dark (we found some deer next to the restaurant door), and therefore it is better to walk around with the lamp provided in the room.

After dinner, in the dark, you can sit on the rocking chairs under the porch to chat and watch the stars. There is no front desk, and the saloon is open only on certain days. When we were there, it was unfortunately closed.

In the morning a bison was waiting for us on the lawn just below our bedroom window. Highly recommended!!!

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Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.

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