Hostel vs. Hotel: The Debate

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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.

Hotels:

The pros:

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.

The cons:

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.

Hostels:

The pros:

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.

The cons:

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.

Airbnb

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

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10 Comments Add yours

    1. Thanks, glad you enjoyed! Which do you prefer, hostels or hotels? Or another option?

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  1. Jessica Lim says:

    I think I prefer hotels although I’ve stayed in some pretty dirty or bad ones and I’ve never stayed in a bad hostel (although my expectations are probably lower). I have never tried Airbnb but would like to!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely have lower expectations for hostels too, they’re a fraction of the price! Hope you get to try Airbnb, it’s definitely been convenient for me more than once!

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  2. My preference is a really luxurious hotel!! (Don’t get it that often… sigh). Really though we like a mixture, sometimes hotels and if we’re in a place for a little longer I love an apartment, living like the locals!!

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    1. Ha me either. It is really nice to feel (and cook) like a local in an apartment though!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. angharadeyre says:

    We’ve had a lot of experience of hotels, franchised motels, and independent motels on our most recent road trip and I’ve been planning a rather similar pros and cons list blog post! I’ve only used air bnb in the States and it’s been really variable. However it was wonderful when I was a solo researcher on a limited grant budget in Austin. I was staying with a really friendly and interesting couple in a fantastic location really cheaply. I had my own bathroom and company when I wanted it. We also got the most adorable and private studio cottage in Northern California, which was called the hideaway and was a really romantic getaway. My most memorable experience of a hostel in Spain was waking up in the middle of the night to find a strange young man’s face right in mine – I didn’t really sleep the rest of the night…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds like a bit of a hostel horror story. I think the only bad things I’ve seen in hostels are gross bathrooms on occasion. I haven’t tried renting only part of a house for Airbnb, but it sounds like the company could be nice (as long as everyone gets along!). Looking forward to your list of pros and cons!

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  4. Inger says:

    My favourite is B&B. Cheaper than hotel, but compared to hostel you usually get you own bathroom. And I love getting to know the locals and get their insider tips!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like b&bs as well, we’ve had especially good luck in the UK and Ireland. Nothing beats the breakfasts!

      Liked by 1 person

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