This year, we decided to join the Affordable Travel Club http://www.affordabletravelclub.net; one of our best travel decisions yet! This is what the ATC’s website says about their club: “Would you like to travel with low-cost accommodations, meet interesting people, and share travel experiences? Does the warmth and hospitality of a bed and breakfast experience appeal to you? Then we have an exciting alternative! Join a host of other friendly travelers in the growing family of the Affordable Travel Club! You stay in private homes of travelers like yourself, paying a small gratuity. In the ‘private home hospitality accommodation’, the hosts are individuals who enjoy meeting other people, sharing their homes and communities, and perhaps even serving their favorite breakfast recipe.”
Affordable Travel Club was started in 1992 by Suzanne and John Miller and has grown to a membership base of over 2400 households in 49 states and 50 countries. The annual cost is $65 ($75 if you prefer a printed directory, rather than an online version) and the fee (“gratuity”) to stay in a home is $20 for a couple or $15 for an individual, per night. If this sounds interesting to you, check out their website; it’s definitely worth a look! And, if you decide to join, please let me know so I can refer you. They even offer membership discounts for referrals!
Last November, we stayed at a hotel in Ocala on our way down to Sanibel and on our return, to break up the 9-1/2 hour drive. This time, we contacted ATC members, Mary Ann & Hugh, to see if they would be available for us to stay our their home. They were available for both requested days, so we were in luck. And, what a great way to start and end the trip it turned out to be! They could not have been more welcoming and hospitable in their comfortable home. We ended up having terrific conversations and a really nice time going out for Mexican food at a different restaurant each time. And, their guest room was very comfortable. Not only did it beat staying at a hotel; we made some new friends in the process! And, for the cost of the annual membership and two nights gratuity (a total of $105), it was less than the cost of two nights at a hotel. But, we still have the remainder of the year to use our membership as guests and hosts.
Mary Ann & Hugh, thank you for a wonderful experience as Affordable Travel Club newbies!