Hotel vs Airbnb vs Hostel: Which one is right for you?
You've just bought your plane ticket to the place of your dreams! You seriously cannot believe that you are about to embark on a trip of a lifetime and therefore everyone on social media needs to know about it. However, you realize you have no accommodation. You scrounge the internet and have a hard time choosing what is right for you and your needs. Should you stay in a luxurious hotel right on the beach, socialize with other travelers in a hostel, or live like a local and be welcomed into someone's home? Let's find out!
Staying in a hotel affords you certain luxuries that you might not receive in a hostel or an Airbnb. Room service, on-site restaurants, and nearby activities make it easy to enjoy yourself and hard to leave! You don’t have to worry about privacy or keeping an eye on your belongings once you arrive in your room because it is only you and/or your travel buddies. You’re not forced to share a room with a group of backpackers who return from a late night out singing and dancing at 4 am.
Cons If you’re looking to meet people and to socialize, a hotel is not the best option. Most hotel-goers are looking for privacy making it harder to find friends. With the on-site restaurant, pool, and Netflix package you might get, it tends to be harder to leave your room let alone the hotel. If this happens, you will miss out on the opportunity to socialize with other travelers who may have awesome advice on how to get to a secluded beach or where to find the best food for cheap. Be prepared for overpriced souvenirs and ridiculously expensive hotel-sponsored tours!
Recommended for: convenience, privacy, comfort, Not recommended for: social butterflies, penny pinchers, and solo travelers looking to meet people
Pros Hostels are live and very affordable. Imagine travelers from all over the world swapping stories over a community dinner made by locals. There is always someone to talk to that will you give you advice on where to go and what to do and how to do it. Most people who stay in hostels are looking to meet new people so you might have a brand new set of friends when you arrive back to your own country! Some hostels supply breakfast for free while others charge cheap rates for full meals and alcohol. The majority of hostels I've stayed at have free tours led by locals that run off of tips which are great for a traveler on a budget. If your hostel has a kitchen you can also save money by making your own meals.
Cons Your privacy is limited. A hostel can range from 2-14 people in one room which you can guess might get a little wild. The more people in your room, the cheaper the cost. Some places provide you with a locker and a lock to keep your belongings safe but I know it still bothered me to leave my expensive camera in a locker with 14 random people I didn’t know. If you are not willing to brush off the occasional drunk partygoer's loudness or sleep with earplugs you might have a problem.
Recommended for: social butterfly, fun, parties, penny pinchers, ALCOHOL, a good time
Not recommended for: social anxiety, privacy, a good night’s sleep (during normal sleeping hours)
Pros It took me a while to actually give Airbnb a chance and I am so happy that I did. The thing about Airbnb is that you could choose from a selection of homes. You can live with a local but have your own private room, share a room with another traveler, or rent out the entire home. The types of places you can rent are endless. From tree houses to poolside villas, Airbnb has it all. If you decide to rent out a private room as a guest of a local, you can really see what it’s like to live in that country and get an insider's secret to where the locals hangout (cheap food!). If you have a big group and decide to rent out an entire home or apartment, you can still have a sense of privacy as well as most of the amenities you might have in your own homes such as a kitchen or even a pool. Some hosts are even nice enough to provide airport pick up or visits into town. In Spain, I stayed with a wonderful family for about 3 weeks and I was taken to all of the popular places in the city and made to feel like a part of the family. It was an experience I will never forget.
Depending on your location, you may be required to take some form of public or private transportation in order to get to popular attractions. Unlike most hotels and hostels, some homes are further away from the city or beach which can make it difficult to go anywhere by walking. If you are not used to living with other people you may feel like you are infringing on their space or they are infringing on yours. Being that you are going to another country, you may not be familiar with certain customs or traditions that take place in their home which can make you uncomfortable. Lastly is the language concern. Some hosts may only speak a few words of your language. Be sure to filter your searches in order to find the best fit.
Recommended for: solo travelers looking for culture, privacy, social butterfly, big travel groups Not recommended for: I think there is an Airbnb for everybody!