Searching for lodging is one of the most important parts of traveling, as where you stay can make or break your trip. Being too far from city center or not getting enough sleep due to noisy neighbors leads to unnecessary frustration (at least for me!). Over the past year, our travels in Europe have brought us to hotels, airbnb rentals and hostels, so I’ve done a bit of a comparison of the pros and cons of each.
Privacy and your own bathroom. This is a big one and probably the main reason I prefer hotels over all.
Comfort. Generally, you can get a king sized bed, you know it will be clean and it comes with towels. Sometimes you even get free breakfast.
Tends to be more expensive. A lot more.
Less social. If you’re looking to meet other travelers, it’s a bit more difficult.
Best for: Couples, travelers looking for comfort and amenities.
Cheap and central. You won’t likely be able to find inexpensive hotels in city centers, which is where hostels come in. They are inexpensive and tend to be located in desirable areas.
Social. Many hostels have bars and lounges, and people who stay there are often looking to meet others and chat. You have the option to have roommates, which gives you people in close proximity to hang out with.
Noise. Sharing a room in a dorm means it isn’t going to be perfectly quiet.
Bunk beds and shared bathrooms are the norm. If you’re not ok with this, hostels probably aren’t for you, although some do offer private en suite rooms.
Best for: Groups of friends, solo travelers, families, people looking to meet others or travel on the cheap.
This is a bit different, as there are such a range of properties available, but I figured I should include it. We’ve mostly rented airbnb properties when traveling with a group of friends or family, so we can all have a central location to hang out, but still have the privacy of separate bedrooms. The locations and price vary, but usually there is something for everyone.
Best for: groups, families, stays longer than 2 or 3 nights.
Overall, I’d say I prefer hotels, mostly because the idea of sacrificing a morning of sightseeing because I got a bad night’s sleep isn’t appealing and since I’m usually traveling on quick weekend trips, I know what I want to see, and have a pretty well thought out schedule, so meeting people and changing plans isn’t always an option. On the other hand, hostels have been a good way to meet interesting people and have some great conversations.
Are you a hostel dweller or a fan of hotels? What about Airbnb or couch surfing?
Photo credit : freephotos.com