One of the most important choices a traveler can make when planning their trip is deciding where to stay. This decision is one that can make or break your trip, so consider it carefully.
I’ve always used hotels in the past. I’ve never used an Airbnb before but I would if I looked and if I found it cheaper and I will absolutley never use a hostel. When I think about hostels, I can’t help but think of the torture porn movie called “Hostel” (Look it up…the movie is gross). Now I know thats not fair to judge hostels based on that movie,I just can’t help it. I feel more comfortable in a hotel
I will list the pros and cons of all 3
And now, the great debate: hotel , Hostel or Airbnb?
The question of what to expect when staying at an AirBnB is a little more complex. An AirBnB is when someone rents out their apartment or home and lists it on the AirBnB website. Travelers can then search by specifications of price, size, location, and more. When you get to your room, the owner/renter will stay somewhere else so you have the place to yourself. I like watching AirBnB horror stories on Youtube. The stories are wild plus you hear about people staying at an AirBnB and robbing the place on the news.
- Cheaper than a hotel in most cases.
If you’re looking into a medium-level accommodation (not a hostel and not a fabulous de-luxe suite) staying at Airbnb is cheaper in most cases. The price of a hotel room often includes breakfast but you can save even more money on lunches and dinners if you’re cooking at home. You can’t cook at a hotel.
- You get to experience the city as a local.
You’re living in a normal apartment or a house, you get to greet neighbors, find out where the closest grocery store is, where to drop off the garbage and stuff like this. No matter how good the hotel is you can’t get that level of authenticity in a hotel.
- More options for unusual, weird, experimental, non-traditional places
Yeah, there are plenty of non-traditional hotels as well, but their variety is not as huge as on Airbnb. On Airbnb you can try to live in a cabin, in a treehouse, in a plane, in a taxi cab in a middle of Manhattan, in a fairytale-style gingerbread house, you name it. Plus prices for unusual and design hotels are extremely high which you couldn’t say about Airbnb.
- It is more convenient for a medium-term stay.
Some people could argue on that but let’s be honest – staying in a hotel for, let’s say, a month (or even two weeks) is awful.
- Airbnb could be an introvert’s dream
With the rise of self-checkin and self-checkout options coming to more and more places on Airbnb it could become an introvert’s dream. For me it is. I don’t have to talk to anyone at a reception on arrival, same for leaving. And room service won’t bother me in the middle of the day.
- Sometimes checking in and out can be a huge pain in the ass.
If a host doesn’t support a self-check-in option it might be a pretty hectic experience. Especially if you’re arriving late at night. And you feel awful just asking your host to check you in late at night.
- Not convenient for a short-term stay.
Especially if you’re visiting a city just for one day (sometimes two). This applies mostly to business travel. It’s just too much hassle checking in and out within one day.
- It’s illegal in some cities.
With the unknown legal status of Airbnb in some cities and in some cases you’re being put into a tricky situation. What happens if neighbors, the police or anyone asks me who I am and what I am doing here? Should I say I’m visiting a friend or can I simply confirm I’m renting this place on Airbnb? This leads to a general feeling of trying to avoid tricky conversations with neighbors.
Hostels are the go-to option for travelers and backpackers who plan to spend very little of their time in their room and most of their time exploring. They’re also a great way to meet other travelers. Unlike a hotel, hostels are more communal in nature and that includes sharing a room with strangers (though sometimes you can get a private room if you want to pay more).
- Private rooms are just like hotels. No sharing bathrooms. No sharing (gasp!) bedrooms.
- There are amenities like a hotel! Complimentary/cheap breakfast, shampoo, etc.
- Everything is cheaper. Breakfast in the morning is either free or a couple euros.
- Communal kitchens. Meaning you can cook and store food in the fridge. Really budget friendly!
- Tons of young travelers and there are free or cheap outings.
- There are some CUTE AF hostels out there.
- HostelWorld.com exists, and people say it’s a lifesaver. SO MANY HOSTELS. SO MANY REVIEWS.
- Great advice and transportation info from the young, hip people who work there. PLUS MAPS! Both hostels had custom-made maps with tons of info for young people.
- Privacy. If you like your privacy, hostels may not be for you. Some do have private rooms, but most are dormitory style
- Noise. The hostel crowd generally skews younger, so be prepared for some noise. They’ll be loud in the common areas while they’re getting ready, and while you may get some sleep after they go out, you’ll probably wake up again when they stumble in during the early hours of the morning. Be prepared for this to happen several times throughout the night. And even if you don’t have partiers in your room – at least one person will snore.
- Some hostels are mixed, meaning a 20-year old girl could be sleeping in the same room as a 45-year old man which can make for an uncomfortable stay.
- Friends aren’t free. You gotta MAKE friends. And MAKE time to hangout with the other travelers. ALSO, the travelers that are there when you are there might suck. Put yourself out there!
- Most hostels are converted from something else (an apartment complex or a big house), so some things don’t make sense.
- You gotta book ahead of time, especially if you want a private room. You only put down a small deposit, and it’s refundable, so get it in!
- Linen fees. Eye roll. Not everywhere has them, so just be carefull.
For the sake of simplicity, I’m grouping hotels with inns and bed and breakfasts. While they differ from each other, they share a common denominator of being more traditional places that allow you to be catered to by staff.
- Perfect for a short-term stay (one or two days)
Again, this applies mostly to business travelers visiting a city just for a day or two. Check-in is extremely fast and easy, get the keys, go to your room, sleep, go to a meeting, leave. All you need is a nice bed and bathroom, that’s it. You couldn’t really care more about its furniture, decorations or any other fancy stuff.
- 24/7 reception
You can easily check-in at any time of day and don’t feel bad about yourself.
Most hotels include breakfast in the room price and their food is pretty good most of the time. This is probably my favourite part of the hotel experience.
- Room service
Everything is clean and shiny every time you come back to your room so you don’t have to think about it at all.
- It is more expensive.
If you’re comparing two similar options in terms of location, amenities, etc. hotels will be way more expensive than Airbnb.
- Lack of authentic feeling of a city
Especially if you’re staying in a chain hotel. It’s like going to a new city and eating at McDonald’s. You know what to expect and it’s more or less the same anywhere you go. But you don’t get to experience the feel of real living apartments or houses in this new city.
So, having said that I prefer to stay in a hotel if I’m visiting a city just for a day or two (and mostly for business) and Airbnb if I’m staying for a longer period or if I’m just traveling and don’t have to focus on work most of the time.