Stay on Budget in Armenia
Anna is a part time tour guide and and occasionally writes for traveltoarmenia.am. She’s been almost everywhere in Armenia from popular everyday monasteries and to unbeaten paths through mountains.
Traveling to Armenia suits every budget. Whether you prefer top-rated hotels, where presidents and famous artists have spent a night, or simple hostels, where every guest is treated by a special mood of hospitality, you will find your own legend in Armenia. Before you set out discovering the gems of the Armenian culture, here are a few suggestions for every budget traveller.
Armenia is a developing tourist destination, where some old archaeological finding hits the news almost every year. Naturally, tourists from all over the world come here to see monasteries and temples, the most ancient shoe, the oldest winery in the world or the biblical mountain of Ararat. This is why the country is filled with top-rated hotels. Some of them are branches of renowned international brands, others are Armenian names. The prices, of course, are quite high. Expect to pay more than $50 for a night, and that’s just the bottom price for 2 or 3 star hotel. High tourism season starts in spring and continues till mid autumn. Hotels are almost full and as always and as everywhere not meant for budget travelers.
However, if you plan to travel to Armenia in late autumn or winter, you can actually catch juicy deals in the most popular hotels. You can find rooms for $40 in November and winter months. While winter resort town hotels are expensive during that time of the year, some of them often announce discount packages like 2 nights for $40 or a bit more. So, the secret of traveling on budget and staying in top hotels is planning your trip during the low season, when hotels in Yerevan are easy to get and those in resorts offer numerous discount packages. The downside of this is that you miss that “touristic” atmosphere of Yerevan.
Hostels are a more convenient option for budget travelers. There are around 15-20 hostels in Armenia, and the vast majority of them is centered in the capital city of Yerevan. Due to the rapid development of the tourism industry, number of hostels is growing like mushrooms after the rain.
As for now, hostels can offer you a bed in a dormitory and a breakfast. Some hotels have double rooms, which are priced slightly more than the dormitory beds. Bathrooms are shared, and the cost per night starts at $8 for a room with old furnishing to $12-$18 for hostels with central location and good facilities.
When staying in a hostel, you can use the chance of meeting other travelers and go sightseeing in a group. This way you can save up the transportation cost; ask the reception to hire a cheap taxi to take you out of the city.
New Trend of Bed & Breakfast
Although the idea of Bed & Breakfast is pretty new in Armenia, it’s very common outside of the capital. Some resort towns and villages have B&B houses, a part of which is available for early booking in the Internet.
As a rule, the smaller the accommodation is, the more attention the owners grant to the visitor. So, if the hostel reception can help you with planning a sightseeing tour, B&B owners in Armenia are extremely friendly and can help you with valuable tips and not only. Ask them about anything that interests you. They can tell you the local legends and stories, show the easiest and cheapest ways of getting around, and so on.
Rooms for Rent
If you’re planning to stay in Yerevan for a longer time period, for example, a week or two, you can rent a room in an ordinary apartment. Rental apartments available for tourists are always expensive, but rooms in downtown can be affordable. Renting rooms is a common practice here. Students coming from far regions usually rent rooms for study semesters. Some home owners focus on tourists. Find local contacts and ask their help, as these rooms are seldom on display in popular websites. Also, while you won’t get an atmosphere of friendly service and the company of fellow travelers, you’ll have a chance to see the Armenian urban lifestyle from within.
Rooms for Free
Once you step out of the urban areas, you will find a community that loves tourists (for staring and exploring, too). Local contacts can help you find room rentals in villages and small towns completely free of charge. The population of rural areas loves having guests and will gladly host you. If they like you, they might also organize a small tour around nearby attractions. So, keep smiling, don’t complain, and work your charm.
Camping in the Wild
Armenia is a very safe country, especially if you’re a budget traveler or a backpacker, who doesn’t carry too much cash along (you know cash is always dangerous to carry anywhere on this globe). You can try camping, provided you do some research on your destinations and the surrounding sites suitable for camping. If you’re hiking in the mountains or woods, you basically have no other option than set up a tent and light a fire. Despite this, it is not advisable for women to camp alone. Make sure you’re in a group or accompanied by the locals. The safer, the better.
As you can see, Armenia doesn’t require millions. You can have a fantastic vacation, explore the ancient monuments and climb the legendary mountains not possessing a limitless bank account. Of course, you might miss a little on the Armenian brandy (good brandy is always expensive), but you will always be overwhelmed with the hospitality and warmth of this ancient country, which is always ready to welcome the curious.