The Benefits of Staying in a B&B

by Lexa Pennington /
Lexa Pennington's picture
Aug 04, 2008 / 0 comments

The benefits of staying in a B&B

I've always been intrigued by B&Bs. When I've traveled in Europe, we've often stayed in B&Bs. In the US, though, B&Bs have always seemed like special event accommodations. However, recently we stayed in a B&B on a weekend away, and it was glorious! Indeed, staying in this B&B *was* a special event! Eager to share this unique form of travel accommodation with our Wandering Educators, I contacted the Marti Mayne at to learn more about the benefits of staying at a B&B (and as a bonus, some deals!). Here's what they had to say...

What are some of the benefits of staying in a B&B? 

Bed and breakfasts offer a more intimate, individualized and distinctive lodging choice.  Since they're all independently owned, each innkeeper offers a different setting, often in a historically preserved home or mansion.  The opportunity to mingle with innkeepers and other guests is one attraction to B&Bs.  They lend themselves well to meeting other people.  For those that enjoy meeting fellow travelers, B&Bs aoffer a wonderful opportunity.  Sandy Soule answered this question better than anyone in a story written in the report.  She said:

It's worth comparing the difference between hotels and B&Bs in what's typically included in the cost of an overnight stay. Although every B&B is different, most of the extra charges you'd encounter at a hotel are free at a bed and breakfast inn.

While luxury B&Bs are not cheap, they are often a far better value than a hotel with the same room rate. If you place a value on all the "free" benefits included in the cost of your stay at a bed & breakfast inn, you'll be surprised how much you're really getting.

Telephone Charges

Hotel: Many hotels charge 50 or 75 cents for local and toll-free calls; long-distance rates are astronomical.

B&B: Local and toll-free calls are free at almost every B&B; guests are usually asked to use a calling card for long-distance calls, and some innkeepers will even sell you a calling card at cost. Many B&Bs do not have in-room telephones. Although most travelers prefer to use their cell phones, be sure to check with the innkeeper if you’re going to a rural area, where cell-phone service may be spotty.

Internet Access

Luxury hotels typically charge around $10 daily for Internet access; many budget-oriented motel chains offer free access in their guest rooms and common areas

B&B: Most B&Bs now offer free WiFi if they are located in an area where high-speed Internet access via cable or DSL is available.


At a luxury hotel, breakfast costs $7 to $30 per person; moderately priced motels often offer a free self-serve breakfast with disposable plates and cutlery.

Most B&Bs provide a free full breakfast, usually including fresh fruit and juice, main dish with breakfast meats, plus home-baked muffins, often served on elegant china and silver.


Room Service

Room service meals (with added service and delivery charges) are usually double or triple the cost of eating in a local coffee shop or restaurant.

B&B: Although B&Bs don't offer room service, some will serve breakfast in your room, usually included in the room rate, or for a small extra charge. A few will serve a special-occasion dinner in your suite. Some will allow you (upon request) to have a meal delivered, to be enjoyed in the inn's common area, or in your room, if an appropriate dining area is available; this service is normally free.



Hotel: Mini-bars are stocked with tempting treats, from candies to potato chips to soda to little packets of aspirin. While convenient, prices are usually double or triple their costs in a nearby convenience store.

B&B: Many B&Bs stock soft drinks, coffee and tea makings, wine and beer, snacks, fresh fruit, cookies, candies, evening desserts, and sherry in a guest pantry, dining room, and occasionally right in guest suites. These treats are usually free, but occasionally guests are asked (on the honor system) to contribute a small amount ($.50-$1) per item to cover costs.



Concierge services are usually available only at luxury hotels; tips are appropriate and encouraged.

B&B: Innkeepers are generally willing and able to provide concierge services, i.e. restaurant and theater reservations, advice on the best locations for shopping, antiquing, hiking, and so on, plus assistance in renting bicycles, canoes, kayaks, etc. Tips are unnecessary and would not usually be accepted.



Hotel: Extras like movies and faxes can quickly add $10 to $20 to your bill.

Many B&Bs have a video library that you are welcome to use for free. Innkeepers will typically send or receive a two- to three-page fax for you for free, or at a modest cost.



Although travelers are often forced to lug their luggage from bus to airport to bus to car unassisted, hotel bellmen are apparently instructed assume that travelers are incapable of carrying their bags a short distance from the curb to the reception desk to their room. While the assistance may be welcome, the constant tipping can be onerous.

The "bellman" at most B&Bs is likely to be the innkeeper, so no tipping is required. Most innkeepers are happy to assist you with luggage, but typically expect guests to lend a hand with the bags. If you can't carry heavy things, don't be shy about asking for help -- but remember to pack light, as well.



Hotel: Many hotels charge $15 to $20 (or more) a day for valet parking; the free or reduced rate parking may be a good walk from the lobby.
B&B: Parking is free at B&Bs, although the number of spaces may be limited in some areas.

The View

For a room with a view, whether it’s a city panorama or one of the ocean, guests typically pay a premium; standard rooms may overlook the parking lot or the lobby roof.

B&B: Most B&Bs take pride in offering magnificent views from all of the guestrooms. Your windows may overlook manicured gardens, mountains or your own personal patio.

  What are some deals that B&Bs are offering right now?

MM: Many inns and B&Bs are packaging overnight stays with free gas, for travelers feeling the pinch at the pump., the largest online online B&B directory and reservation network worldwide has been the leader in collecting free gas offers through the Tanks a Lot program, now in its fifth year.  Throughout the year, innkeepers post free gas offers under the Tanks a Lot heading, and at any given time there are more than 100 offers from B&Bs across the U.S., Canada and Carribbean islands listed on the site.  But free gas offers are not the only specials offers innkeepers are making.  Simply go to and you will find a host of wonderful special packages.  Simply click on the links from the home page or click on SEARCH then SPECIAL PACKAGES, and choose from over thirty different categories, from Babymoons to Senior Packages, Green Getaways, Family Fun and more in the drop down box located there.  However, makes searching for packages easy.  Sometimes, travelers would rather find packages by location.  Simply follow the instructions above, click on SEARCH then SPECIAL PACKAGES, and it's easy to search by state.  Simply click on the drop down box, and then search by state or province.

Here are a few examples of some of the creative free gas offers on


Beall Mansion...An Elegant Bed & Breakfast - Alton, IL
Until 09/30/08

For a limited time—reserve a getaway at The BEALL MANSION for two or more consecutive nights*, 1. mention “Tanks A Lot!” at booking (or if booking online type “Free Gas” in the “special instructions or requests” box), and 2. you will receive a $50.00 QuikTrip® Gas Gift Card at check in. What could be better? 3. What could be easier? With The BEALL MANSION and “Tanks A Lot!” you can put your money where you need it most—in your gas tank. * Note: If staying only two nights stay may include a Friday or a Saturday—but not both. Conditions apply. See our website or call for details.



China Doll Guest House - Chicago, IL
Until 10/31/08

A gift from China Doll to say..."Tanks" for coming! Mention this article at check-in and receive a $25 Shell gas card for each paid night of your stay when you stay with us for three nights or more. Must pay for at least three nights at the full published rate to qualify. If you are using a buy-one-night-get-one-night-free coupon, your free night does not count toward the three-night minimum.



Benjamin F Packard House - Bath, ME
Until 10/31/08

TANKS A LOT! - To "tank" you for staying with us - we are offering FREE GAS! We know that gas prices are putting a pinch in vacation budgets. To help you, we will give you $25 towards your next gas purchase when you stay with us for 2 or more nights. This offer cannot be combined with any other offers or discounts. So don't stay home, stay with us and we will help you have a memorable vacation.

How can travelers find out more about Bed and Breakfast Inns? 

MM: is the leading online bed and breakfast directory and reservation network worldwide, listing nearly 7,000 B&Bs and inns. A variety of search functions and extensive maps enable inngoers to find the perfect B&B. Travelers can make reservations online, purchase The Getaway Gift Card from, welcomed at nearly 4,000 B&Bs in the U.S. and Canada, subscribe to free newsletters, read and write independent reviews, and post questions on expert-hosted message boards.

Additionally, for information on a range of independently owned distinctive lodging, visit's sister site,

Thanks so much, Marti! I appreciate all your help and information on this! I can't wait until our next trip...

For more information on B&Bs, please see: