The most obvious answer for solo travelers. Hostels provide a cheap and convenient option for people, but that does come at a cost.
- Can be extremely cheap
- Flexible booking, can usually be booked up last moment
- Meet new travelers
- Usually have a cheap bar attached
- You’ll have to share a room with multiple people and form to their schedule
- Sometimes can be overpriced
- Laundry/Kitchen facilities are not always present (critical for extended travel)
Where to bookThis is the tricky part. Sometimes it is worth looking on all the major booking sites (Expedia, Hostelworld, Booking.com, etc.) instead of booking directly on the hostel’s website. I’ve found hostel prices on Expedia for as little as $6 a night when it would have been over $20 when booked directly through the hostel.
This is usually the best option when traveling as a couple or with a group of people. They also come with facilities that you usually wouldn’t find at a hotel or hostel, which can really help save costs over time. Pros
- Most come with kitchen/laundry use included (helpful for extended travel)
- Roommates can be fun and make you feel at home
- Most hosts are more than happy to provide recommendations of their favorite spots
- Some have discounts (~15%) for staying at least a week
- Some of the Airbnbs can be VERY cool and unique
- Often more expensive than hostels as a solo traveler
- Won’t have as much of a “going out” atmosphere as a hostel
- Sometimes you’ll have to operate on the schedule of the host (checking in/out, not being noisy, etc.)
Do some research ahead of time to find what neighborhood you want to stay in (check out some of our city guides section of this blog to get started!). Once you have a good idea, use Airbnb’s map function to find good options in that area.
The most expensive option, but if you’re an introvert like me, sometimes very necessary to recharge. Pros
- Quiet and easy to recharge
- Some cities have tough regulations on Airbnbs, making hotels a more necessary option
- Can use hotel/credit card points to book
- Expensive. Even the cheapest hotels usually aren’t as good of a deal as most Airbnbs
- Lonely, harder to meet people
- Most large hotel chains aren’t located in areas conducive to going out/finding local activities.
Where to book Same rules apply for booking hotels as they do hostels. Shop around on different booking sites to find the best deals (Booking.com is a good starting point) . If you’re an avid hotel/credit card point collector, check out blogs focused on redeeming those such as The Points Guy for some sneaky ways to maximize your value.
Use your friend network to find connections in the area for a free couch to crash on. Most people are afraid to leverage your friends but don’t be! This is a great way to meet new people and explore the city through a unique lens. Pros
- Free (you should probably buy them a drink or some groceries though)
- Meet new people (who you’ll at least have something in common)
- Get to know their perspective on the local culture, lifestyle and mindset.
- Might be a little awkward at first, but that’s about it.
Where to book More often than not, you’ll probably know somebody who is in the area or might know somebody who is in the area you’re traveling to. Use Facebook, Whatsapp or any number of social media channels to reach out and make some connections!