The idea of staying at a bed and breakfast tends to elicit strong reactions among travelers. Many are decorated in a certain "ye old time-y" style or a L.L. Bean catalog. It is for this reason, that many of these establishments are going to great efforts to avoid the title of B&B. They have take to preferring terms like, lodge, guest house, or inn. Outside of the U.S., the same type of accommodation might be called something else entirely: In France- chambre d'hote, In Italy- pensione or agriturismo
So basically, what we are talking about here is a smaller lodging establishment where the owner is involved in day-to-day operations and breakfast is served to guests. This usually involves some amount of mingling with other travelers and closer quarters then you'll find in a hotel.
The problem is that these places don't necessarily show up on Web sites that list bigger hotels and resorts, so here's how you go about finding them... and finding the right one for you!
Where to look:
For the traditionalism, start at BedandBreakfast.com, a site that claims to list more that 25,000 establishments around the World... however, most are in the U.S. Another web site, BBOnline.com, smaller selection and slightly less polished but great to cross reference a potential booking.
Another strategy is to do an Internet search for your destination and "bed and breakfast" or "inn", which often turns up direct links to local establishments. The Professional Association of Innkeepers International also has links to state associations. Also, reference your guidebook. Those are well researched and trustworthy.
Questions you should be asking:
How many guest rooms are there?
Will you have to share a bathroom?
What's for breakfast?
What time can you eat?
Can you get Internet access?
What's the cancellation policy?
Are extra guests allowed?
Are there any common areas besides the dining room?
Is there a curfew?
Is the rate negotiable?
Depending on what's most important to you will direct your decision.