Choices, choices, choices! So many different accommodation options. Some people are happy to bunk down with a group of strangers in a backpackers and others prefer a touch of luxury.
I’ve personally stayed in accommodation from one extreme to the other and where backpackers have been concerned, I’ve only ever been disappointed on a couple of occasions.
These days, many hostels are quite lovely and some look like hotels. Most provide the option of having your own room if you prefer not to share with a stranger.
Here are the benefits of staying in a hostel:
- They’re usually cheaper so any money you save can be used towards other things, and you can also stay longer at any given destination.
- If you’re intending to stay a while, some hostels will provide free accommodation in exchange for a few hours of work.
- If you’re travelling with a group, you can share a dormitory with your friends.
- Often in great locations and some are quite unique. You might find yourself overnighting in a castle or a converted prison for example.
- They usually have a fully equipped kitchen where you can prepare your own meals – another savings. Some will provide a free breakfast.
- Many have a lounge and games room where you can relax and chill out so you’re not confined to your room. They may even have a courtyard or outdoor area where you can catch some rays.
- They often have free Wi-Fi and sometimes lockers.
- Some may offer discounts for various things.
- You meet people from all over the world.
- You tend to socialise more with other guests so you’ll meet new people. They will be able to provide you with a wealth of information on do’s and don’ts about destinations they’ve been to.
- Hostels usually organise activities such as pub crawls (if that’s your thing), barbecues or movie nights for example.
- You may be able to team up with some and share a ride.
The negatives are:
- If you choose to share a dorm room, you could be kept awake all night by a snorer.
- Lack of personal space.
- Worrying about how safe your personal stuff is whilst you’re sleeping (in which case look for hostels which provide lockers).
- Being interrupted through the night by people arriving late.
- Having to share a bathroom. Not all private rooms have ensuites either.
If hostels are an option for you, I’d recommend Hostelworld (www.hostelworld.com). When you select a destination, they provide ratings and lots of photos as well as give you a complete run down of location, inclusions, cleanliness, staff, whether there are curfews and lots of other tips.
If you prefer to stay in a hotel, make sure you check the location. A lot of sites offering cheap luxury escapes, often use hotels which are out in the suburbs so it could end up costing you in getting around.
The benefits of staying in a hotel are:
- Your privacy is guaranteed.
- You have your own bathroom.
- They usually offer 24 hour room service.
- Many have in-room safes where you can store your valuables.
- There’s no curfews and you can come and go as you please.
- Breakfasts are usually better – some include buffet breakfast in the rate.
- There are usually more amenities such as pool, sauna, gym, bar.
- And last but not least, the furnishings are usually more pleasant with some being just downright luxurious (if you can afford it). Hostels tend to be very basic.
Besides hotels and hostels, you might also want to consider housesitting. Some people just want someone to be in their house while they’re away and others might want you to look after the pets or water the garden. Homeowners usually prefer older, experienced people as opposed to young people and more often than not, they prefer not to have children running about their home.
- Great if you’re wanting to be somewhere for a longer period of time – although some might only be for a week or two.
- Location – you could be out in the suburbs somewhere so make sure you check the location as to whether it’s going to be suitable.
- If it requires taking care of the pets, you may not be able to go away weekends.
- House parties are generally a big no-no.
Some sites will charge a small annual fee whilst others are free. Here are a few sites to look at:
Make sure you check the terms and conditions and what’s expected of you. If you’re intending to work from home, find out whether they have high speed internet.
IMAGES – on Unsplash
- Image 1 – Toa Heftiba
- Image 2 – Matthew T Rader
- Image 3 – Joseph Costa
- Image 4 – Spencer Davis
- Image 5 – Jonathan Borba
- Image 6 – Zsofi Perganczky
- Image 7 – CoWomen
- Image 8 – Toa Heftiba
- Image 9 – Allen Dewberry Jr
- Image 10 – Daniil Vnoutchkov
- Image 11 – NeOnbrand
- Image 12 – Jesse Schoff
- Image 13 – Michiel Ton
- Image 14 – Andrii Podilnyk
- Image 15 – Cassidy Phillips
- Image 16 – Robson Hatsukami Morgan