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Do You Seek Out Unique Lodging?

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I have made a habit when I'm traveling of seeking out really unusual accommodations.  This little practice has given my family the opportunity of sleeping in an authentic covered wagon, in a hotel room with a loft, campsites with trees the kids can crawl under, and more.  

Unusual lodging

And that is how we found ourselves sleeping in this real-life tipi!  Let me share with you 2 things I've learned about tipis and then tips on finding your own unique lodging...

Tipi Teaching #1
Connecting With the World

It wasn't until all the kids were in bed and I myself laid down that I discovered this one.  Laying on my back, looking out the small oval shaped opening at the top of the tipi, the dark night sky seemed to come to life with white stars filling it up with their glow.  I was mesmerized.  I couldn't look away.  Suddenly I felt myself transported back two centuries to a time when Native Americans without shopping malls and video games and soccer games spent all their day surviving on what the out-of-doors provided them, and then laying down at night to reflect on the Almighty Spirit that provided it for them.  Looking out that small opening into that large sky put in perspective my small speck on the eternities and a new emphasis on what I am to accomplish here.

Tipi Teaching #2
Check the Weather Forecast

Our trip last week to the tipi was completely spur of the moment.  So when it started drizzling at 6am on our first night of sleeping, we had an unexpected problem.  I played brave mom to go out in the rain and close the opening as much as I could, but the poles still had to stick out and so a small amount of water could still get in.  I thought the water would be coming straight down so if we moved everything to the perimeter of the tipi, we'd be safe and dry to wait out the rain.  Wrong!  Instead, the water droplets hit the wood poles and then traveled down them until gravity decided it was her turn to take hold of the little stream.  Our perimeter became narrower and narrower as the water started dripping in a wider and wider circle.

Want to find a tipi (or some other cool place) for your family to stay in?  Here are a few tips to get you on your way...

Tips for finding unusual lodging

~Be Willing to Go A Little Out of the Way

Most of the time the restored 1950's AirStream or lighthouse bed and breakfast are not going to be on the main drag or in the middle of tourist mecca.  This tipi was about an hour from our main destination.  Expand the perimeter of your search and be willing to go there when you come across that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

~Don't Let the Price Scare You Away

The truth is that unusual accommodations are usually going to be a little more expensive than a cookie cutter chain hotel.  When you weigh the pros and cons against your holiday budget, make sure you consider the value of your kids bragging to their friends about the treehouse they stayed in over the summer and the grin from your spouse when he realizes you've struck gold once again.  Think of it this way, as well...the higher price usually comes with the added benefit of not needing to sanitize everything before you touch it.

~Make it a Surprise

This is my favorite part.  If the family thinks you're going camping and then you pull up to a rustic cabin or a yurt or a glamping tent, the expression on their faces will be priceless. If you've been staying in resort hotels for days and then pull up to 2-story bed and breakfast shaped like a dog, you'll love hearing shrieks of , "We're going to stay in that!?!" coming from the backseat.  These are the moments that become family vacation memories.  I promise you'll never regret the work it takes to make them!


Where is the most unusual place you have stayed?

Extra Information:
This tipi is at the Lena, IL, KOA and rents for approx. $40/night.

There are websites dedicated to unique lodging,
 but some of our favorite odd finds have come
 from simply google searching unique lodging
 in the area we are visiting.

All of the examples used in this post are real places you can stay. 
Use your imagination when you're looking!

Comments

  1. We've never really stayed in someplace that unique! I just never thought about the lodging being part of the experience - more than just a place to sleep! Great memories you are making with your children!

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  2. All my tent equipments are Coleman. We love them, resilient and very wisely made. Those little guys are going to have a lot of fun!

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  3. I used to be adventurous like you until one incident spoil my two night trip, and from then on, I am always hesitant.
    Before then, it was awesome to explore. :-)

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  4. The most unique place I’ve ever stayed is in a hotel that had a train running through it. I’m not that adventurous when it comes to lodging. I actually go out of my way to make sure I’m on the concierge floor at the Hilton. Hmmm.. I might need to consider some changes!

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  5. That hotel sounds pretty cool. Where was it?

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  6. I figure if we can make the place we're sleeping part of the destination, then maybe we won't have to try quite as hard to make the trip over the top. I hope you can try it sometime!

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  7. This looks like so much fun! We are couchsurfers, so we often find unique housing right in someone else's home. :~) One yard had a creek running through it! My kids love the novelty (for us) of a basement. I love the tip to google search for unique lodging. I'm going to try it.

    Glad I found you on SITS Sharefest today!

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  8. Terry My Journey With CandidaSeptember 4, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    I would love to sleep out in a tipi, but my Hubs idea of sleeping or camping out would be like the low end motels like Motel 6. Me... I don't care where it is, just so it is fun and unique. http://www.myjourneywithcandida.com/

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  9. Oh this would be so much fun! My kids would enjoy it, not sure my husband would though. He's not as adventurous for sleeping quarters. lol

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  10. This is about the coolest thing I have ever heard of! Your kids are lucky to have such adventurous parents!

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  11. That is awesome. My kids would have loved to stay in a tippee. They've actually asked me to get them one for the backyard but maybe if they see this they might want to stay in one instead. :)

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  12. I thought I replied to this, I guess it didn't take. I like that you stayed in a tee-pee, what a unique experience for you in spite of the rain!! Your description of looking at the sky through the top was great. I like moments like that one. :)

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  13. We actually have a play tipi that belonged to my husband when he was a kid. Our boys love having it in the yard, but staying in the real deal was something completely different for them!

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  14. Motel 6 can definitely be an adventure...not necessarily in a good way :)

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  15. I've looked into couchsurfing before, but always got gunshine to do it with the kids in tow. Good to hear from someone who actually does it.

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  16. Dawn Spatulas On ParadeSeptember 4, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    When my boys were little they would have loved this, actually dh would like it now. Boys you know, they never grow up.

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  17. These types of alternative accommodations (yurts, teepees etc) are becoming more avaiable and common in the Uk too! We have our eye on a yurt holiday once the kids are older.

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  18. Very interesting. I didn't realize these unusual accommodations are available. My boys would love to sleep in a tree house!

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  19. I really like tee-pees. You guys are so adventurous :)

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  20. I love sleeping in a tipi. (Thank you for spelling it correctly!!!) The stars are so peaceful - and it's my favorite way to fall asleep. Is it weird that the smell of leather, rawhide and buckskin still makes me sleepy? Coolest post about unique lodging EVER!

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  21. Bobbi's Kozy KitchenSeptember 5, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    That is so incredibly cool!!

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  22. That's awesome! Tipi-s are so cool to live in! The most unusual place i have stayed? Under my granny's bed just to make sure I can sleep and no one will be able to find me and wake me up hah!

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  23. That would be so much fun to stay in. I am glad you were the brave mom who faced the rain. I would have probably asked my husband to do it. :)

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  24. What an great experience for your family. We have camped in tents, slept outside, slept in our car, bad hotels... the whole works in our travel over the years.


    Great post

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  25. What amazing fun it looks like it must be so exciting doing something a bit different :) x

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  26. That is so cool that you got to sleep in a tipi (I've always spelled it teepee, oops). What an amazing experience. I'm sure your kids will never forget it and that is worth a lot!

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  27. Melinda Kuffler DunneSeptember 5, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    What a cool place to stay (except for the rain factor). I would love finding unique lodging to add some extra fun to my next vacation. Where is the B&B shaped like a dog located?

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  28. Oh wow, I would love to do this! (celebbabylaundry.com)

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  29. It is in Northern Idaho. http://dogbarkparkinn.com/

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  30. Ah, the entire lodging gamut! :) All make for good stories, I'm sure.

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  31. My husband has been working in Alaska for 4 months, so the option was me or nobody.

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  32. Thanks, Stormy. I don't think that's strange at all. Smells are a total vessel for nostalgia!

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  33. My 6-yr-old wants to stay in a yurt more than just about anything on the planet. Hopefully we'll be able to sometime this fall.

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  34. :) It's true, my husband is just as bad the kids! I love it.

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  35. Wow! This is so cool! I definitely would love to stay in a real tipi sometime!

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  36. there's a teepee at the state park near my hometown. I grew up on a native american reservation area.

    http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10365_24196-146858--,00.html

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  37. I would love too but with my two little kids, they will surely won't enjoy the uniqueness of a lodging yet. I like when it's unique because it means adventure for me! Thanks for the great tips!

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  38. looks like fun. My kids would love something like this

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  39. also following Via GFC

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  40. This is not only cute but could be so educational. It is great to move from you comfort zone and try something new.
    Surely some place to put on my today list!

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  41. That's a great point, Aida! When you can teach kids things without them even knowing, you've won!

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  42. I think even very little kids can recognize the difference between something square and boring and something that looks like it came out of a storybook. And Mom's need adventure, so I say do it!

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  43. Thanks for the tip! $30 is so affordable-is it hard to get reservations there?

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