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What is a pension?

A pension is a small, down-to-earth type of accommodation that appeals to budget travellers. Like bed and breakfasts, pensions are often family-run and set in houses, but unlike B&Bs, they typically offer more than just breakfast to their guests. Guests at a pension can choose from half-board or full-board rates, depending on the number of meals they'd like to have. Pensions are a good way to immerse yourself in the history and culture of your destination, as most of them are in historic buildings and managed by locals who are thoroughly familiar with the area.

Why should I stay at a pension?

A pension is a budget-friendly lodging option that allows you to have a taste of the local culture. It's a simpler, more low-key alternative to a bed and breakfast, and gives travellers the chance to socialize with other travellers in cozy public spaces. As pensions usually offer cooked meals, you'll get to enjoy regional dishes in the comfort of your lodging and at an affordable price. There's a communal atmosphere in a pension that you won't experience at a hotel, although this does mean that most pensions have shared bathrooms.


Where do you find pensions?

Pensions are abundant in various destinations around the world, including France and Italy, and Asian countries like the Philippines, Japan, and South Korea. These options are also available in certain parts of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as countries like Brazil.

Pensions tend to cluster in districts beyond the outskirts of towns and cities. These accommodations are typically housed in low-key, traditional structures in the countryside, which makes them perfect for travellers who are interested in immersing themselves in the culture of their destination.


How much does it cost to stay in a pension?

Pensions were designed for travellers on a tight budget, and are thus considerably cheaper than conventional hotels. While most pensions are in small, no-frills buildings, you will occasionally spot a few that are in airy apartment blocks with balconies, such as the ones you'll find in Barcelona. These types of pensions tend to be a little pricier than the more basic ones, but are still more affordable than a stay in a standard hotel or even a B&B in the same area.

How to book a pension

Booking a pension on Expedia is the same as booking a standard hotel with Expedia's search tool. You can then filter the search results according to accommodation type. While looking up pensions, you might also want to check out flights and car rentals, as you're likely to score a good deal by packaging these with your accommodation booking.


What do pensions offer?

Staying at a pension has many perks. You get to experience the local culture, save some money, and possibly even make new friends. In terms of amenities, you can't expect much from a pension, as most only have the most basic facilities. You do get to stay in your own room, and many offer in-room amenities such as TVs and Wi-Fi. Some might even have balconies or patios. One of the best things about staying in a pension is that you won't have to worry about your meals. If you choose a full-board rate, all your meals are covered. Some pensions even throw in an afternoon snack for their guests to enjoy. A pension usually has communal dining areas and lounges, which makes a pension vacation quite similar to staying in a hostel.


Pensions vs bed and breakfasts

Many people might get confused between these 2 lodging options, so what's the difference between pensions and B&Bs? While it's true that both pensions and bed and breakfasts have a homey feel to them, pensions tend to be more affordable than B&Bs. B&Bs usually put a premium on their rooms, offering nicely furnished, individually decorated quarters that often come with en suite bathrooms. Pensions, on the other hand, offer rooms that are on the bare-bones side. When it comes to meals, however, pensions offer more than bed and breakfasts do, as they give guests the option to have lunch and dinner.

Pensions close to me

If you already have a destination in mind, you can use Expedia to search for a pension nearby. You can specify your ideal pension's features by using the filter function, and use the map tool to expand your search to other destinations. This will make it easier for you to select the pension that best fits your needs and budget.