Hostel, Hotel or Airbnb?
You’re ready for your next adventure. Have packed your long haul flight essentials including the travel pillow. Everything is set for departure, the only thing you still have to think of is your sleeping arrangement. Where should you stay? Hotel, hostel or Airbnb?
The choice is often a daunting one. Each type of accommodation comes with pros and cons. Here’s a quick overview of these three options, so you can pick the one that best suits your needs.
Hotel Advantages & Disadvantages
Hotels are the typical go-to arrangements for most travelers. They can sometimes be an expensive choice but are usually great for weekend getaways or city breaks. The biggest advantage of a hotel is undoubtedly the luxury feel associated with it.
If you want to feel pampered, sleeping in a hotel room is your best bet. Around-the-clock concierge service, housekeeping, and even breakfast in bed are just some of the things you can expect.
Pros of Staying In A Hotel
Privacy – If you’re the kind of guy who hates sharing a room or bathroom with strangers, the hotel guarantees all the privacy you need. Most hotels have en-suite bathrooms and rooms to accommodate between one and three people.
Sleeping in a private room also means you won’t have to worry about your luggage. Except for the hotel employees and yourself, nobody else will have access to your room. This means you can leave your travel camera unattended without worrying it’ll go missing.
Location – Another great thing about staying in a hotel is the proximity to sights, attractions, and amenities. Hotels are often located near supermarkets, restaurants, pubs, and even airports. No matter what you want to be close to, chances are you’ll always find a hotel nearby.
Security – Staying in a hotel also comes with a wealth of security. Most hotels have a 24-hour concierge who is responsible not only of addressing your issues or concerns but also of taking care you’ll have a safe stay.
Most hotels also have a 24-hour reception which means you can check-in at any time. Hostels and Airbnbs may have a less flexible check-in service, which means you could end up spending a night outdoors if you fail to arrive within their timeframe.
Cons of Staying In A Hotel
Costs – Hotels are your priciest option. The accommodation will take up a big slice of your budget, and you’ll have to pay more for supplementary services including room service or doing laundry. Undoubtedly though, staying in a hotel is a great way to pamper yourself, especially if it’s a short trip.
Not for Large Groups – Another disadvantage is the structure of the rooms. Most hotels propose single, double, and triple room solutions, but if you want a room for four or more people, you might have an issue finding suitable accommodation.
More often than not, larger groups are split between various rooms and different floors.
Hostel Advantages & Disadvantages
Hostels are often the go-to location of teens and young adults traveling on a budget. They are cheap, unpretentious, and a great place to meet new travel buddies. Hostels are also preferred by adventurers and solo travelers. When it’s just you and your travel backpack, sharing a room with a bunch of strangers could turn into a fun experience.
Pros of Staying In A Hostel
Low-Cost Accommodation – Hostels are by far the most affordable type of accommodation – except for self-arranged solutions, such as sleeping in an RV or in a tent under the starry skies. If you prefer the security of brick and mortar though, know that a bed in a dorm usually costs peanuts.
Hostels make travel affordable for everyone, and they could be your best bet if you’d like to go on a trip but are short on funds.
Socializing – Hostels are a place where you can meet a bunch of interesting people. If you travel solo, chances are you’ll share your room with up to twelve strangers. Couples and families can usually opt for private rooms, but you’ll still share the bathroom and communal areas with other guests.
This is a great opportunity to meet new people from all over the world, make new connections and lay the foundation of international friendships.
Cheap Services – Many hostels offer a bountiful range of cheap or free services, including free laundry facilities, free local tours, free meal nights, game rooms, live music, and even movie nights. Wi-Fi is usually available either for free or for a small fee in all communal areas and sometimes even in the dorms.
If you’re worried a dorm mate could get their hands into your overnight bag while you’re sleeping or exploring the surroundings, also know most hostels offer free or very cheap luggage storage.
Cons Of Staying In A Hostel
No Privacy – A major deal breaker when staying in a hostel is the complete or almost complete lack of privacy. Sharing a dorm with other travelers means being subject to their habits too. Even when you get a private room, you’ll still have to share the bathroom and kitchen with other people.
Limited Staff – Hostels can offer great accommodation deals by keeping their costs low. A way to do this is by employing fewer people and cutting down the 24/7 check-in service. Staff usually goes home late in the evening, so if you want to get in after a certain hour but forgot your keys, you might stay out for the whole night.
Some hostels also have a curfew, and if you don’t get in by the stated time, you’ll simply be locked outside.
Theft – Sharing your accommodation with strangers also puts you at risk of being robbed. Due to their nature, hostels rarely have insurances that cover guests’ belongings. The only way to keep your stuff safe is by keeping your luggage in the hostel’s luggage storage room and carrying all your valuables with you at all times.
A travel wallet you can tie around your waist is perhaps the best solution to keep your money and passport secure even when you’re sleeping – albeit it could be quite uncomfortable.
Airbnb Advantages & Disadvantages
Airbnb may not be your standard type of travel lodging, but it certainly gives you the possibility to dive into the local culture of the place you’re visiting if you choose to book a room in accommodation shared with your host.
Airbnb is also the place where you can find interesting accommodation perks. From oceanfront houses to sleeping in a lighthouse, a castle, or even in a tree house, Airbnb is full of unique lodging solutions. Like anything else though, it comes with pros and cons.
Pros Of Booking Through Airbnb
Unique Lodging – Airbnb advertises itself as a marketplace that connects people who want to rent their homes with people looking for accommodation. “Homes” however, implies a variety of accommodations, from camper vans to luxury apartments.
Whether you’re looking for a remote house in the Scottish Highlands, a fancy apartment in the heart of Manhattan, or a luxury villa in the Maldives, it’s extremely likely to find the accommodation of your dreams on Airbnb.
Local Experience – The easiest way to discover the true essence of the place you’re visiting is by interacting with locals. Airbnb gives you this possibility if you rent a room in a home shared with the host. While they have no obligation to interact with you, most hosts enjoy spending time with their guests or at least share valuable insights.
Your host can give you tips on the best restaurants and pubs, tell you what off-the-beat places are worth seeing, and some may even take you out for a stroll or a drink.
Facilities – Most lodging options present on Airbnb are apartments or houses, and most hosts will give you access to a fully equipped kitchen and sometimes to free laundry facilities. If you’re traveling on a budget, you’ll be able to save a lot of money by cooking for yourself instead of eating out every day.
Cons Of Booking Through Airbnb
Last Minute Cancelations – Perhaps the greatest disadvantage of Airbnb is that hosts have the possibility to cancel your booking at any time. Yes, they will have to pay a fine, and you’ll get a discount on your next booking. However, if you’re planning to go on a trip in peak season – think New Year’s Eve, big concerts or festivals– it could be hard to find a new lodging solution if the host cancels on you just days before your arrival.
Extra Fees – When checking Airbnb, you can usually see the price per night for each accommodation on the list. However, the final price also comprises additional fees, such as housekeeping and sometimes fees for utilities. Add up all the extra fees, and you could end up paying more than you’d pay for a private room in a hotel.
In the end, whether it’s a hotel, hostel, or Airbnb, each type of travel lodging comes with pros and cons. Picking one over another is often preferred and in the end, what truly matters is finding the sleeping arrangement you know you’ll enjoy best!