Hotels V. Hostels V. Airbnb
So, you’ve decided you’re ready to travel abroad. Now your next challenge is deciding where you’re going to stay. While you’re not going to spend a lot of time in your temporary residence (unless you’re a working digital nomad), you still want to be comfortable for the time you do spend in it. Thanks to the Internet, there are a lot of options out there from the traditional to the unconventional. Today, let’s compare and contrast the three most popular lodging options when traveling abroad.
Hotels are the obvious choice for a lot of people when they’re traveling short-term. They’re convenient in location, accommodations, and often offer free breakfast–which is a great way to save money and fill up before a long day of touring. And usually, hotels are pretty safe, so you don’t have to worry about someone breaking into your room and stealing your valuables–especially when you book a room with a safe.
They can also be a good choice for our fellow travel bloggers since most hotels around the world offer complimentary wi-fi, which makes keeping up with your work easier. You’ll be able to upload your posts and photos every night before going to bed.
They might be the most obvious choice, but they aren’t always the most convenient in terms of cost. Some hotels will charge you for extras like hot breakfast, room service, snack bars, and shuttle services, which will start driving up the cost of your trip. They’re also very limited on space, so if you’re traveling in a group or with your family, you might end up spending even more money on a suite so everyone can have their own space.
Hostels are a great choice when you’re trying to stick to a budget when traveling. However, they aren’t the most private or luxurious option.
When you’re spending the night in a hostel, you’re not booking a room–you’re booking a bed in a room that you’ll have to share with three to twenty other people (so it’s like your college dorm on steroids). As you can imagine, this can be problematic for a number of reasons and not just the ones Eli Roth told you about.
Theft is a common problem when staying in hostels if you’re not careful with your stuff, and language and cultural barriers can make it difficult to get along with your fellow travelers. A hostel is also not a good choice if you’re someone who really enjoys their privacy–because you’re not going to get it staying in a hostel. Everything from the bedrooms to the bathrooms to the kitchen is shared among residents. However, this how they’re able to keep costs down. Private rooms are available at a lot of hotels whether you’re traveling alone or with a partner, though they will cost extra.
But, with all the cons, there are also some great pros. Even though language might be an issue, hostels offer a great way for travelers to meet new people and make friends. They offer travelers the opportunity to meet others in their situation and learn about other cultures and maybe even some hidden gems within the city they’re visiting. Many hostels offer tours and day trips to their residents for a reasonable rate, giving you the chance to tour the city with others who share your interests. And some hostels will hold events guests can attend to help get to know one another and just have fun! And even though the kitchen is shared, there is still a kitchen you can use to cook your own dinner so you can save 20 to 40 dollars a day by not eating out every night, which sounds pretty good to me.
Airbnb is the newest option for accommodation on the list, but it certainly isn’t new in concept. When you’re using Airbnb, you’re looking for a house, condo, or apartment that someone owns and is offering to travelers to stay in for however long they need (in most cases).
AirBNBs come in all shapes and sizes. This is a great option if you’re traveling with family or a larger group of people and you all want your own space for the times you’re not exploring. Staying in an Airbnb is beneficial to both hosts and guests because it gives the host a chance to earn a little extra income while meeting new and interesting people, while guests get the same while spending less than they would in a hotel and get more for their money.
However, while staying in an Airbnb can be great there can also be a lot of drama in the process. YouTube is filled with stories of people having horrible experiences with their stay because the host wasn’t honest about the accommodations and vice versa. Sometimes guests, especially young guests can be really disrespectful of another person’s property and could cause damages during their stay that the host would have to repair before opening their home again. As a traveler, you can learn more about the residence by reading reviews from other users, and you can make it easier for your host by treating their property as though it were your own. And just a friendly reminder: hosts can review their guests as well.
Each option has a lot of pros and cons and it all comes down to your needs and your budget. But accommodation options while traveling aren’t limited to what on the list. There’s a lot more out there if you take the time and do your research. Remember, the most important part of finding a place to stay is making sure you’re comfortable in that environment. If your comfortable sleeping in a tent on the side of the road, then that’s totally okay too (although, make sure you check the laws of your destination first). Just remember to always be safe, smart, and respectful when you’re traveling.