When we plan our trips, and it is time to book our accommodation, we often default to searching for hotel rooms. Hotels are the most common form of accommodation all around the world as they’ve had the longest history in the travel industry, dating back to the middle ages.But, as the tourism industry evolved, so did the type of accommodation and facilities available to cater more specifically to our needs and demands. Below I’ll share six tips to help you choose the best accommodation that isn’t a hotel, based on your needs and travel style.
Consider a motel or roadside budget accommodation like a hostel or guesthouse. These tend to be cheaper than hotels while offering similar basic amenities, but more on the lower end. Your vehicle is an important part of your trip, so an advantage of a motel over a hotel is that more often than not, your parking spot will be just steps from your room. Hostels and guesthouses might offer a similar arrangement, but you must verify first with them (either on their listing or by contacting them), whether parking is available at their facilities.
Whether you want to rent an entire place for yourself or just a room in a local’s apartment, consider renting an apartment or room via Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, or similar sites. One of the advantages of these sites is that the longer you stay at a given destination, the cheaper it might cost you as they tend to give more affordable weekly and monthly rates.
It is important to know too that, unlike hotels, you will be entirely responsible for cooking your meals (or go out to eat) as the whole premise of this system is to let you live like a local. For people on a tight budget, this could be an excellent choice, even if for just a few days. Another advantage of renting a room in someone’s place is that if they are available, they might hang out with you, show you around the city, and even become friends.
Some travelers love to party, and this is not reserved just to backpackers. People of all ages and travel styles love spending time at hostels as they are some of the most economically friendly accommodation you can find. Even though not all hostels are social and party hubs, they tend to have this reputation. Several hostels work hard to keep a social environment by providing a lounge or lobby area equipped with comfortable seating, tables, TV, games, and even a bar to provide a central spot for all guests to meet and spent time there.
But again, not all hostels are party hubs. Some hostels are just as quiet and calm as most hotels are. I recommend reading the reviews other travelers have left on the hostel listing to learn more about their unique environments.
If you’re not into the party scene and still want to keep it affordable, you ought to look into staying at a Bed & Breakfast (B&B) or Guesthouse. These are oftentimes homes turned into lodging and are typically run by the family who might still live on the property or nearby. Similar to Airbnb’s, B&Bs and Guesthouses rent you a room in the house, but unlike the “exclusivity” of having the place to yourself or with your host that Airbnb provides, B&Bs and Guesthouses tend to include more travelers by renting other rooms to them too – but, these tend to be just a handful.
As the name suggests, B&B tend to include a delicious breakfast that is often prepared by the owner of the accommodation. Often they also spend time in the kitchen during the morning to greet their guests and chat with them. A nice way to start your day, if you ask me!
Most luxury accommodations in exotic destinations want to provide the very best to their guests without disturbing too much the scenery with a big hotel structure or unsightly building. To blend better with nature or the scenery, many hotels and hostels resort to the use of bungalows. These can be on the side of a mountain, by the beach, over the water, or wherever you can imagine.
Bungalows then to give a more luxurious look and feel to the experience, without costing too much more compared to a “regular” room. But of course, a bungalow can also cost thousands a night, depending on the property and location (think of the over-water bungalows in the Maldives!)
We all feel the pinch in our pockets from time to time and need to think of our budget without restricting our experiences abroad. Airbnb (or similar apartment rental sites), hostels and guesthouses are often the most budget-friendly accommodation options compared to hotels. You’ll be able to stay closer to the city center or attractions of interest at a fraction of the cost of a hotel room.
Even though I recommended specific accommodation options for certain budgets, styles, and needs, know that these are not strict to each category. There are all kinds of hotels, apartments, hostels, guesthouses, and more that can cater to all these experiences and needs. I would recommend doing your research, reading reviews of the places that catch your attention, and booking based on the best match to your budget, trip style and needs.
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Norbert Figueroa is an architect who hit the pause button on his career in 2011 to do a round the world trip. He's been blogging for over three years at globotreks.com, where he shares his travel experiences, budget travel tips, and a good dose of world architecture. From hiking Mount Kilimanjaro to diving with great white sharks, he is always on the search of adrenaline and adventure. Norbert is originally from Puerto Rico and he is currently based in Milan, Italy... when not roaming around the world, that is. He has traveled to more than 80 countries in 5 continents and his goal is to travel to all 193 U.N. recognized countries. Follow Norbert on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus.
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