When I talk to friends about mine or their upcoming trips, I always get asked about which accommodation I prefer to stay at. I’ve at all and each have their own perks (and disadvantages) depending on the type of travel. So, from my perspective, here are the yays and nays for staying at each accommodation type:
- Feel like a local
When you leave an airbnb you generally don’t scream ‘tourist’ which is a nice feeling. You live like a local, whether in a fancy apartment across from the beach in Coogee or a shoebox apartment in the Bronx. I did groceries, did everyday things nearby but also got to see all the things I wanted. If you’re after an authentic stay and don’t have friends or family to stay with, this is your next best bet.
- Better service (in my opinion)
The hosts with more positive reviews and badges generally get more bookings, so the service I’ve had from all my hosts has been some of the best in any of my travels. From little breakfast or coffee/tea sets, to little individual trinkets in rooms.
- Meet new people
If you stay in a spare room in someone’s house, sometimes they’ll be around for a chat or even welcome you to join them. When I stayed near Port Douglas my hosts had friends over for dinner and invited me to join them for a fire and drinks on the porch. Getting to know some hosts from different ages and places is just as cool as meeting someone new in a hostel.
- Cheaper (sometimes)
I’ve found in busy seasons, Airbnb prices generally don’t change as much as hostels and hotels. My shoebox apartment in the Bronx over Christmas and New Years was cheaper than two dorm beds anywhere in Manhattan for the same period. The only time I’ve found the price change is over weekends, when some hosts have an additional fee.
I’ve heard some horror stories of last minute cancellations from hosts on the day of. That freaks me out as Airbnb has your money and there isn’t always options for the same price available. I haven’t had this happen to me but whenever I mention staying in an Airbnb this scenario comes up.
- Generally further away
Not always the case, but Airbnb’s aren’t always placed as well as hotels or hostels because their original intention was not was tourists. Check the maps option and you might score a good steal, but as long as you have a car or are near a station you should be fine.
They know one big factor for choosing where to stay is proximity to the big tourist sights, so of course the locations are generally ideal.
How good is it to stay in your own room after being in mostly dorm rooms? Or not having to get changed in bathroom stalls or behind the curtain in your bunk? Or knowing that the only people with access to your room are trusted staff.
Depending on the individual hotel, sometimes the service is spectacular with knowledgeable staff. I mean, room service! Only thing is when I have someone waiting to open a door for me. That feels strange and generally unnecessary.
I like feeling fancy every now and again, but my bank does not always agree.
- Meeting people
I like staying in hotels when I’m staying with someone else or meeting up friends as generally most people keep to themselves in hotels. Particularly in big hotels, everyone has their own things to do. Sometimes in locally-owned hotels, i’ve had fantastic service.
- Meeting people
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve stayed in some hostels where I didn’t talk to anyone. But generally, there’s always someone who is also solo and up for a chat or day trip. I have friends all over the world now by just sitting at the bar at the hostel for a drink.
Budget travelling has it’s perks, like the price, sometimes including free breakfast.
With most having kitchens and lounge rooms, you have the main benefits of home and are able to keep the costs of eating down too. Sometimes they have cool rooftops, bars, movie rooms, etc. Check them most recommended if you’re ok with paying a little more than the absolute budget price.
Backpacker hostels sometimes have the best locations, which is usually my biggest factor when I choose where to stay.
Yes I’ve had passive aggressive light switching arguments with groups of people who don’t speak English in a 12 bed dorm before (I mean, if you’re going to wake me up at 2 & 3 in the morning, I’ll do the same at 5 when I have to get up). And the occasional snorer or cougher. Earplugs or noise cancelling headphones are recommended for big dorm rooms.
I always prefer a dorm room with curtains so I feel like I get my own little area. But even then, changing in your bunk or in a cubicle does not scream luxury.
- Check those reviews/ friends recommendations
Make sure you check reviews on whatever site you’re booking on before booking. Sometimes recommendations about the hostel being a party one, great for solo travellers, or not very social has been handy in choosing where to stay. Sometimes you just want a good night sleep and staying at a party hostel is not going to be a pleasant experience. Sometimes staying at a hostel with a lot of group tours booked is not going to help you make friends. Important thing to remember!