When travelling, there could be many things crossing your mind about where to stay. This could easily become a headache when planning your trip in the first place. This is going to be your home base for that trip and you want to make sure you will be comfortable and safe for your travels.
Nowadays, there are so many different ways to stay during your travels. There is the traditional route of a hotel, the budget choice of a hostel, or the form that is made less creepy by companies like Airbnb, of vacation homes or home sharing. All of these options come with pros and cons, and I am going to give you my personal opinions from my experiences.
Many people automatically think of staying in a hotel when travelling. However, if you are travelling on a budget, or going to a large city/tourist area these might not be the best choice.
Clean and tidy: You will be greeted with a spotless bathroom and freshly pressed sheets. After time away from home, the comfort of a bed could be the reason why you go this route. Private room & Bathroom: The comforts of having your own space and your own bathroom is something you will never think is a comfort until you do not have them anymore. As weird as it sounds, the peace and quiet of having your own personal bathroom is something wonderful. Not having to rush out or maybe even treating yourself and taking a bath seem like quite enjoyable options.
Safe: Out of the three options, I would consider this to be the safest. Your private room has a lock on it which you can deadbolt from the inside. Most hotels have peep-holes on the doors, so you can check before opening. Plus, there is more than likely a safe in the room for your valuables if you are inclined to leave them. Many hotels provide exceptional customer service if you believe something has gone missing - the security in a hotel never disappoints.
Luxury compared to other options: In my eyes, a hotel is luxurious in comparison to the other two options. The privacy and cleanliness coupled with the many amenities the building could have. Hotels are designed to take you away from the norm and give you an experience you will never forget. Above and beyond is one way to do that.
Pricey: Not all hotels are pricey, but more often than not it is the most expensive out of the three options. I have only stayed in a hotel on the last night of my travels, before a long flight home. I like to think that I treat myself to a relaxing night before the ordeal of venturing back home. To combat the price, you can spend hours and hours on travel comparison websites to find the best deal for a hotel. However, that is just wasting your time and that research could lead you nowhere. Strict with arrival times and check out times: Hotels have the most strict check in and out times out of the three options. Yes, you can always ask for a late check out, (which may come at a price) or tell them that you are arriving early. However, it still seems that most of the time you are still waiting for your room when you do arrive early. Plus, a hotel check in and check out time might not be flexible to your travel schedule. In the past, I have been stung by these policies, it is so exhausting and an added annoyance.
Charge extra for everything: This one is the stinger. With hotels, everything is extra. From parking to breakfast and everything in between. You can get room service, but with a charge. TV movies or special amenities, like the spa come at a cost. These charges add up, and because you are already there, they can charge these silly amounts because there might be nowhere else to go!
Just a room: There is only a room and bathroom, no kitchenette (most of the time). You always have to eat out, which can become costly in the long run. Be savvy in these situations; maybe eat a little more at breakfast to last until dinner, or make breakfast into brunch instead.
My opinion with hotels is that they are expensive places to sleep. You need to think why are you going to this destination. If it’s for relaxation, then hotel would be at the top of my list too. But, if it’s for sightseeing, adventure, or anything else, I would say save your money for the experiences and stay elsewhere.
The idea of hostels in some peoples’ eyes, are that they are unsafe and dirty. However, hostels are becoming a budget way to stay in a tourist spot.
Cheap: Hostels are cheap! The more people you share a room with, the cheaper it becomes. Hostels have many different room options: private, semi private, 4-bed to 16-bed dorm rooms. Single gender or co-ed. There are so many options! Find the option that you will feel most comfortable with.
Great place to meet people: Hostels are fantastic for this. Their communal style living concept, and the activities the hostel can host, can be great ice breakers. You develop a sense of community in a hostel that is different from any other sleeping establishment. Hostels can help you get out there - great environment if you are getting to know a new city.
Discount for activities via the hostel: This is something I discovered when staying in a major tourist city, the hostel provided discounts if brought via them. I know hotels do this too. When wanting to do everything tourist-y but on a budget, this truly helped make my money go further. It was definitely a huge plus!
Hostel Amenities: Hostel amenities are a make or break for me. The most important thing a hostel needs is a kitchen area. Most people that are staying in a hostel are on a budget, so they do not want to eat out every meal. Having a kitchen helps you cut down on these costs. Plus, having a bar is great too, oh, and a games room. These things can help you have a good time in the city without having to spend lots of money on a night out.
Shared bathroom: With shared bathrooms, they can be dirty, smelly, and the line up can be annoying as hell. A possible lack of hot water due to the lineup is a real possibility. But, if you have survived university dorm living, then a hostel is a piece of cake.
Security: Sharing a dorm room can get you thinking about the security of your belongings. You are living with strangers that you maybe just met. Is my stuff going to be safe? Well, most of the time you can lock up your suitcases and personal belongings. Most shared rooms come equipped with lockers to help put your mind at ease! Just remember your padlock.
In my opinion, hostels are a great way to travel if you are on a budget. It can help you stretch your money further, especially in a tourist area or expensive city. When researching where you want to stay: read the reviews. They have honest opinions on everything in the hostel from, if the wifi works to the state of the bathrooms.
Airbnb is one of the most popular online rental accommodation stays. You can pick whether you need a room, or a whole home. It is becoming an affordable way to travel in groups.
Cheap - if travelling with a group: Airbnb can be cheaper to stay, if you are staying in a large group. If you are travelling alone, you can stay in the room only option. This is a way to get the community feel like a hostel, but with the privacy of your own room.
Can be private: If you choose to have the whole place, it can be private. You can have your own place, cook, bathe, relax and enjoy your home away from home. Whilst traveling, you sometimes crave those home comforts you have been missing, and airbnb can give them to you.
Kitchen facilities: The same as a hostel, having a kitchen can help you save money in the long run. Making a home cooked meal can save on the money purse, and bring people together. Win- win.
Local guide to the area: Hosts like to leave welcome booklets with lots of great fun to-do ideas. It gives you a local guide into bars, restaurants, shopping and so much more. Plus, many airbnbs have guest books, so you can see what previous guests have said or even suggested.
Need to do a lot of research: The problem with going somewhere new, is you do not know where the ‘good areas’ of the city are. So, this is where you will need to do a lot of research. Research should include, where is the airbnb, is it close to attractions, close to public transport, and compare the airbnb to other accommodation options for cost. Can be hit or miss: As Airbnb is all online, images can be deceiving. Make sure you read reviews to help you make your decision. Look at the dates to see if they are relevant, and see if what they are saying matches with what you are seeing in the images. Unfortunately, sometimes airbnb can be hit or miss, so make sure you do not get your hopes up too much. Afterall, it is just a place where you rest your head at night. After visit charges can be a blindside: You have had a great stay, thought you followed all the hosts instructions, and then wham! You are blindsided by cleaning charges, or an extra charge for a late check out. These are pretty hard to combat, however with Airbnb you are encouraged to write a review about the host. This is where you can voice this. But I would voice with caution, as yet the host can also write a review on you, which will forever be part of your profile.
I have had many experiences with Airbnb, and it is my personal favourite way to lodge whilst travelling. I enjoy having a home away from home. In my opinion, it is the best of both worlds of hotel and hostel. You have the local insight like in a hostel with the privacy like a hotel.
When travelling, you should set a budget, think about what you need and want in your accommodation, and then go from there. Just know that there are many different ways to live whilst travelling, you just need to feel comfortable and enjoy your travels.
Airbnb - www.airbnb.com