Booking accommodation can be one of the hardest parts of any trip, with so many considerations to make such as price, location, availability, facilities, etc etc. The easy option is of course to book a hotel, you know what you’re getting and the hard work is done for you. But we’ve always found hotels a bit lifeless, and when you’re travelling through some of the most vibrant places in the world why not stay somewhere that encompasses the real culture of the city? Here’s 2 options worth considering and why we think they could be right for your holiday.
The longstanding havens of budget travellers for decades now, Hostels have a unique charm to them that can change your entire holiday experience, for better or for worse! There’s always an element of surprise with almost every aspect of booking to stay at a hostel. Is it a party hostel with it’s own bar and a total lack of noise curfew? Are the staff locals with secret knowledge of the best spots in town? Is your room up 4 flights of stairs? We’ve always enjoyed the mysteries but for the inexperienced traveller it can be a proposition approached with a bit of scepticism. If that sounds like you, have a read of some of our favourite reasons why hostel life is worth considering.
1. Free Breakfast/food
Because who could say no to free food! Chances are if you’re considering hostel accommodation you already like to travel on a budget, and what better way to keep your costs down than to not have to pay for every meal. Plenty of hostels will provide free breakfast usually consisting of cereal, fruit, breads, tea and coffee, although sometimes you might strike gold and get a full continental with meat and cheeses too! Make sure you check the times breakfast runs til though, especially if you’ve been out til the early hours and are going to be in need of something to combat that hangover. Also in the interests of zero wastage, hostels usually have a ‘free food’ shelf, where other guests uneaten groceries are left free to a good home, i.e. your mouth. Keep an eye out to see what goodies you can snap up before anyone else.
2. People and Events
Has anyone ever made friends while staying in a hotel? By nature hotels don’t encourage interaction with other guests, which can make for a pretty lonely time if you’re travelling solo. Hostels on the other hand are designed around connecting travellers from across the globe and often give you the chance to learn some amazing local knowledge, from either the staff (who are usually travellers themselves) or other guests. It’s also pretty common now for hostels to host events for guests most days of the week, including pub-crawls, pot-luck dinners, games nights and walking tours, giving you no excuse to be that weird dude sitting in the corner on your Ipad while everyone else is 5 jagerbombs deep at the hostel bar. Don’t forget that even though you might be from different cultures, countries or walks of life, all hostel guests share one passion…travel! Get chatting and you never know what adventures might be just around the corner.
3. The right room for your needs
It’s easy to assume that staying in a hostel means sharing a dorm room with up to 11 other strangers (who may or may not hold the same standard of personal hygiene as you…) and sharing a bathroom down the hallway with every other guest in the building. Sure this may only cost you 15-20 euros per night, but if you aren’t getting any sleep because ol’ mate in the bunk next to you snores like a freight train is it really worth it? For sometimes only 10 euros more you can treat yourself to a private room or even one with an ensuite, giving you some added comfort and privacy without sacrificing the other hostel benefits. Definitely worth considering for travelling couples or mates who don’t mind some casual spooning, as double rooms are often cheaper than 2 dorm beds!
Ever wished you had your own loft apartment in Amsterdam? Or beach house in Ibiza? Well AirBnb is the next best thing! Basically Airbnb is a service where locals can rent out their room or entire residence to travellers, giving you a slice of local life on the road without sacrificing the perks of your own home. Having used the service in more than 5 countries now, we can safely say it’s an option worth seriously considering if you’ve never done so before. Most hosts speak good English and liaison prior to check-in via email or phone has always been a breeze. Sounds like your cup of tea? Here’s some of the best bits about Airbnb
1. Affordability for Groups
Surely renting out your own house has got to cost you an arm and a leg right? Wrong! More often than not the price of Airbnb accommodation rivals that of hostels, particularly so for big groups and when you’re booking during peak times of the year, for example during Oktoberfest in Munich. Just a few months ago, for the same price as being crammed into an 8 bed dorm, we managed to get our hands on a private apartment in Amsterdam with 2 double bedrooms, a roof terrace, full kitchen facilities and even a bathtub. No way could we turn that down! Be cautious though as you usually need to pay the full cost upfront to secure your booking, so make sure nobody in your group is scraping the bottle of the barrel for money or you might miss your chance.
2. All Your Own Facilities/Amenities
Don’t you hate the hidden fees that come up with having to use the laundry service in a hotel? Or having to wait 15 minutes for some wannabe masterchef to finish cooking their culinary creation in the hostel kitchen when all you want to do is boil some eggs? Airbnb will have you covered here, as due to the fact you are staying in someone’s house, all of the usual home amenities will be available to you included in the rental price. This is great if you like cooking your own food but don’t like sharing your kitchen space, or enjoy coming home from a night out to a shower that’s guaranteed to be hot every time. Outside of these bonuses, living in someone else’s house is sure to make you feel like a real local. Try a morning coffee on the patio of your own French villa and tell us we’re wrong.
3. One of a Kind Accommodation
No matter where you go in the world hotel rooms tend to look pretty much the same. Yes the building décor and architecture might vary from place to place but there’s definitely a template for what a hotel room looks like. Even hostel dorms tend to share a pretty generic layout. Sounds a bit boring doesn’t it? This is where Airbnb really shines, as you can find yourself in the position of booking a place to stay that only a true local would call home. A canal boat in Amsterdam? Yep. A treehouse in Grunau? You bet. An actual fairy-tale cottage in England? Definitely! While these choices may carry a slightly higher price-tag, the experience is sure to be nothing like ever before and set up your trip to be one you remember forever.
At the end of the day both hostels and Airbnb have their own merits. If you’re travelling solo or passing through somewhere for just a night or 2 then a hostel might be your best choice. On the other hand if you’ve got a crew of 4 or more and are staying in one town for a week, Airbnb may work out cheaper and give you some extra home comforts. So don’t book into another lifeless hotel, choose your accommodation like a real traveller!
Got a particular favourite hostel you want to recommend? Or found an Airbnb too perfect not to share? Let us know! And don’t forget to share this post with any mates who are planning their holidays!