One of the topics I researched a lot when we were preparing for new travel life was different accommodation options. It was actually quite overwhelming! There are so many ways to travel – Who knew!
But of course its one of the decisions you have to make when you travel. It doesn’t matter if its short term or long term, we all need a place to lay our heads.
However, there are so many accommodation styles and I have only tried a couple of them, so I enlisted the help of a few travel blogger friends. They each share their experience, the good and the bad, of one of their favorite styles of accommodation.
Nicole @ Suitcase Stories
This option appealed to us most because we were planning to travel for a very long period of time so we knew we needed to keep our costs down. House sitting is the best way to do that because it’s free! Its a great way to see the world. You not only get to live in some amazing homes – like the island home or the million dollar mountain home – but it also allows you to immerse yourself into the culture and customs of the country you are in. On top of that, you have the added bonus of having things like a kitchen and laundry, which is not only convenient but once again helps you to save money.
But there is a downside to house sitting. You are responsible for someone’s home and, usually, their pets. Sometimes this means waking up at 5am to walk the dog. Or ensuring you are home at certain times to feed the cat. With house sitting you can’t choose the exact location you want to live in, you just have to go with whatever is available close by. But, if you can live with these small inconveniences then house sitting is a very good way to see the world on a limited budget.
Jessica @ A Passion and a Passport
All-inclusive resorts provide a kind of luxury that is hardly seen elsewhere. Imagine wait service on your private beach, unlimited food (usually 24/7), and all the amenities you can ask for. All-inclusive resorts are just easy, everything in one place – basically a stress-free holiday.
Most resorts have a gorgeous pool, or two or three (some with a water slide), and a hot tub with views of the beach. Others come equipped with tennis courts, gyms, non-motorized water sports (think snorkeling, kayaking, and pedal boating) and other fitness activities.
What most people don’t realize is that when you’re booking an all-inclusive, it’s not really ALL inclusive. Yes, you get your room and meals paid for, and usually some form of alcohol, but other wants are not included. The spa is hardly ever included, and that massage and facial you’re craving will usually run you a hefty price tag. If you want to take advantage of other activities on the beach, such as parasailing and jet skiing, be prepared to pay extra for that as well. Also, premium alcohol is basically never ever part of the package unless you upgrade.
However, since everything is at your disposal at your resort, you have no need to leave. Hello hassle-free traveling, although some may feel trapped at the resort. It’s wise to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the resort since you’re basically paying for it up front. But hey, then you can eat (and drink!) as much as you like! No judgment there! If you want to relax, be pampered, and get taken care of, resorts are your ideal choice!
Emma @ Gotta Keep Movin’
Couchsurfing is a hospitality exchange and social media website whereby you sign yourself up with a profile and it allows you to connect with other travelers all over the world. Its primary use is to help people exchange details for accommodation purposes, in other words you stay in people’s houses for free or host other travelers in your own home. On top of that, it is also used to post events, meet-ups, or social gatherings for people in the same area that want to meet each other like-minded souls.
The obvious advantage of Couchsurfing is that allows people to travel the world with free accommodation. This is a serious perk of course but many people don’t like to focus on that. Couchsurfing is an excellent way to immerse yourself in cultural exchange and get to know locals instead of other backpackers. While there’s a time for hanging with your fellow nomads, seeing the place you’re visiting from the eyes of a local is a priceless experience, and a personal one at that. Many hosts like to take their guests out around their hometown, giving you the ultimate tour guide and an insider’s look into that destination. As well as showing you the city, hosts often introduce you to their friends, invite you to parties and events they’re going to, and really take you under their wing.
To me, the disadvantages are minimal. Obviously safety is an element that many people are afraid of, but the website has so many safety measures in play, and if you follow all of them your experience will be nothing but positive. If you’re after privacy, Couchsurfing might not be the best option but many people have spare rooms instead of couches, and the hosts normally exercise a high level of respect for their Couchsurfer’s privacy.
Megan @ Mapping Megan
Camping is probably one of the best forms of accommodation abroad, and everyone should try it at least once – hear me out here! Camping is a fun and convenient way to save money and allows you to truly experience and appreciate everything that the “outdoors” has to offer! While I do enjoy the comfort of a 5 star hotel, and the atmosphere of a hostel bar, I have camped all over the world – from the desert plains in Africa, to the outback in Australia. Some of the best times I have had have been under the stars, in great wide open spaces, waking up in the fresh air! There really is something amazingly magical about the wild! I’ll admit that camping can often turn crappy – for instance when it rains! – but I guarantee these will be the stories you tell when you return home, mainly because “roughing it” increases your sense of accomplishment. I mean, adventure travel IS all about challenge and reaching outside of your comfort zone right?!
But there’s no need to worry – many campsites now-a-days include amazing amenities which make “roughing it” not so rough at all! The majority of the time camping takes place in a designated area where there are regulations and rangers enforcing the protection of the environment etc. Pitching a tent on the side of the road may be a necessity on some road trips; however is not the safest option if you are unfamiliar with the country. So for your next trip, why not travel with a tent?!
Megan @ Meganotravels
I’ve stayed in a variety of apartments in various countries, including England, Croatia, and South America. The first time I tried it I was a bit unsure what to expect (the whole Apartment vs. Hotel debate!), but after I realized that apartment stays are a great option for accommodation.
There are several advantages to staying in an apartment rather than a hotel or hostel: you get the feel of living like a local; it feels a bit more like home, in that you can have several bedrooms, bathrooms, a living room, and kitchen; and it can often be cheaper, especially if you’re staying longer than a few nights (plus, with that kitchen you can cook!). Lots of apartments also have laundry facilities, which is a lifesaver on longer trips.
In my several apartment stays, I’ve only encountered one mishap: a property owner who wasn’t in the country while I was staying there. Generally the property managers/owners are local and can help with any issues you might have, but on this particular stay, the hot water went out and a doorknob fell off, leaving us to try to figure out how to fix these things in a foreign country! So before you book an apartment, be sure to check with the owner or manager to see if they are going to be close by to handle any potential problems.
A great place to find an apartment is FlipKey. They have listings worldwide and you deal direct with the owner.
Bex @ Leaving Cairo
I live in Greece. But just because another country has adopted me, it doesn’t stop me from travelling within it. All those islands to see! At the moment I am away on business. I’ve been sent to the old Greek capital of Nafpilio and put up in a hotel for two nights. Would I normally stay in a hotel? No. And coming to this very nice, four star place has reminded me why not…
I’m not being ungrateful, don’t get me wrong. I love the free smellies, the fact I can have a bath without worrying about my heating bill. But the staff are ingratiatingly polite. I feel like if I went up to them and yelled “Blah!” in their face, they’d smile at me and wish me a pleasant stay. My point is, hotels: mid-range, motels, all of them – they’re impersonal. I much prefer a small room in a Greek yiayia’s house [granny’s] and waking up to the sound of the cockerels’ in the front garden, or her yelling at Dimitri to feed the sheep. Off I go to bed now: queen size. Yes, there are some benefits to hotel accommodation.
Kathleen @ Our Favorite Adventure
Hostels can be a great option for accommodations. If you are a solo traveler they are more than likely the best option for you in regards to your budget. Like anything, the prices vary drastically in different parts of the world but generally you can expect a single bed in a dorm room to cost between $18-35USD. When the other options are a hotels between $80-150 sleeping in a bunk bed and sharing a bathroom doesn’t sound so bad.
If you are traveling with a partner or spouse you may not be quite as thrilled about bunk beds, and that’s okay because most hostels offer private room options(with or without en suite bathrooms) that can range between $50-100USD. Occasionally, hostels have single private rooms as well. Another benefit of hostels is that they typically have kitchen facilities which can majorly help with watching your budget if you are able to cook your own food and not eat three meals a day at a restaurant. Also, hostels tend to be centrally located in city centers which is a major convenience and cuts down on public transportation costs.
There are some disadvantages too, the crowds at hostels tend to be young and like to party and make noise until late hours of the night, you may have to share a community bathroom and even wait in line for a shower, and you can’t expect a lot of actual privacy. All hostels are not created equal so it’s good to read reviews and ask a lot of questions about amenities before booking.
Bed & Breakfasts
Daniel @ The Dapper Traveller
Whether you’re traveling for business or holiday, hotels and resorts are the standard form of accommodation. There is, however, another lodging option, one that provides a more intimate and personal experience: the bed and breakfast.
The concept is as simple as it is charming: a private home – typically a larger, historical residence – that provides a room with en suite bathroom. Breakfast is prepared by the owners and served family style. Unlike their corporate counterparts, there are no spas, restaurants or shops. Yet what they lack in amenities, they more than make up for in character. You don’t stay at a B&B for the pampering. You stay to reconnect with a tradition of family-run hospitality. Here you’re not just a guest – you’re family.
B&Bs can be a magical experience: antique-filled rooms to explore, four-poster beds to curl up in at night, and homemade preserves waiting for you in the morning. But be prepared: if you expect the 24-hour attention of a hotel, you’ll be frustrated. Likewise, there are a lot of shared spaces – privacy isn’t top priority. But if you’re looking for a way to unplug and reconnect with a more personalized lodging experience, B&Bs are a delightful alternative.
Which is your preferred style of accommodation option?