Do you ever get confused when you travel and don´t know where the hell the best place to stay is?
With so many options, many of us turn to different websites to browse reviews and let other traveler’s opinions influence our final decision. We make our reservation online and hope for the best when we arrive at our newest destination. Unfortunately, a lot of hostels or hotels are completely different than the way their online advertisements would have you believe.
In this post, we´ll discuss the pros and cons of different types of accommodations you can stay at, when you’re on the road. Each option will have its own set of benefits, depending on each traveler’s personality, budget, and personal goals. We´ll discuss hostels, hotels, staying with the locals and camping. Before you rent your next room be sure to read this entire post, it will save you lots of money and make your next trip better than ever!
Let’s go find a place to stay!
Hostels are one of the most popular places for backpackers to stay at. In them, you´ll find many interesting and bizarre travelers from all around the world. Beautiful and exotic women from the Far East, crazy drunken Australian, German, Irish, and Englishman, and laid back hippy stoners, who’s only concerns are eating the healthiest vegan foods and when the next full moon is going to be, so they can practice their midnight meditations.
Some backpackers have so much fun in these hostels, that they never leave to go and explore outside the walls of the hostel. They pass their time getting high and drunk with their new international buddies and the hostel becomes a little world within itself. It’s like a maze of movies, food, booze, games, and sex. For some, it is literally heaven on earth, but for those who want to actually see the new country that they spent thousands of dollars and countless hours on the road to visit, the hostel might not be the best choice. It would be a pity to travel so far and not learn about the local cultures and really see what each country has to offer.
Thankfully, hostels are one of the best places to get information about sightseeing, tourist attractions and many types of exciting activities. You can go on organized tours with your new friends and really have an incredible time.
If you are interested in meeting other travelers, to hear fun stories and socialize, then hostels are a great option. They are relatively affordable and usually located in the best part of the city. It’s an easy way to make new friends and lovers, while you’re on the road.
You can stay in a private room or in a dorm. If you choose the dorm option, then be prepared to share your space with total strangers. Some of these people could be messy pigs, have foul body odors, and be loud snorers or party animals. A dorm option is good for those who are very deep sleepers and on a budget. These rooms have people coming in and out at all hours and are priced less than a private room.
A private room in a hostel will be a good option if you want to meet new people, but still have your own space. Maybe you’re traveling with your wife or just met somebody new and want to be alone with this person. A private room definitely has more sex appeal than a dorm any day! If you get a private room you’ll be able to socialize with other travelers in the kitchen and common areas, but you won’t have to see the other traveler’s junk scattered all over the floor in disgusting unorganized piles.
Hotels are another great option. You could stay in the non-touristy ones that aren’t in popular neighborhoods, they will be even more affordable than hostels. I’ve stayed in hotels with a refrigerator, private bathroom, big screen television and Wi-Fi for less money than hostel dorms. Of course, these hotels are usually not advertised online and they’re not in the best part of town. But if you’re on a budget, then they are a perfect option.
In a hotel, you can get a lot of work done too. You won’t have to socialize with anyone if you don’t want to. You can stay in your room and work online or exercise. Going out to explore the new city of your choice, at your own pace. You won’t be bombarded with tourist activity offers, like if you stay in a hostel. Basically, you can do anything you want.
How to find these affordable gems?
When I travel I never make reservations. I usually show up to a city and take a cab to the hotels, just tell the driver to take you to the cheap hotels. Then I start walking around, when I see a place that looks decent, I go inside, check out the room, the bed, and bathroom. Make sure everything looks like its functioning. I ask the price, then I go and inspect at least two more hotels that are in the same area. Each place will have its own pros and cons.
Try to see which one will be quieter and further from the main street. Which is the cleanest and has the nicest staff.
If you want to be alone in the city and focus on your work then a hotel is a great option, but if you’re the type of person who likes to be around other people, then I´d say that you should probably go back to the hostel.
When you make a reservation online remember that you will have to pay for this extra service. The website you use will charge a commission for each sale. If you arrive at a hotel from right off the street, then you may have a chance to negotiate the final price. If you plan on staying for a few days or more and it isn’t a busy season, or it’s Monday -Thursday, then you can probably bring the price of the room substantially lower. When traveling in third world countries it’s more common to bargain with prices, so have fun negotiating!
Stay With the Locals
This is another one of your best options. When I traveled through Mexico. I used to stay with a lot of local families. It was an awesome experience because I got to eat delicious food like nopales (which are grilled cactus), super spicy chili peppers, and different varieties of tequila and mescal. My hosts introduced me to these new foods. They also showed me some of the best parts of town to party and scenic places to visit, where only the locals knew about.
How did I meet these friendly people?
Most, I just randomly met at a hostel or on a long bus ride. Being social and friendly goes a long way in meeting people and making new friends. Most locals are happy and excited to meet someone new and proud to show them around their city.
When living with the locals always respect their space, and try to make yourself as useful as possible. Enter their homes with gifts and use your skills and abilities to leave their home better than when you arrived. If you’re an artist then offer to make them something beautiful. They will appreciate your wonderful artwork. Craftsman can do repairs around the house, fixing odd things, and help the family to save money. By being valuable and constructive, you´ll be welcome to return in the future if you ever travel back to the same area. You´ll also feel like you’re making a difference and being productive, which is a good feeling to have.
I also met a lot of travelers who use Couchsurfing as an affordable way to find accommodation and to meet the locals, though I have never used this website myself.
Camping out in the bush is another great option for those who are adventurous and like to be outdoors. It’s cheap, fun, and a beautiful opportunity to learn about nature and analyze new environments.
You can experiment with different ways to light a fire, purify water and how to make your nights more comfortable.
Camp out at a deserted beach on a tropical island. Just don’t sleep too close to the shore, cause you could wake up soaked.
Sleeping out in the mountains is another amazing place to rest when outdoors. The pure air and abundant nature will reenergize your entire being, giving you new ideas and inspiration to continue your journey.
Camping out in the desert is another awesome choice. The quietness and peacefulness is unparalleled. It’s one of the most picturesque parts of the world. The spectacular multi-colored sunsets will impress any artist or painter.
The wilderness is one of the best places for us to visit while traveling. Just take normal precautions before entering. Be aware of any dangers, by studying and doing research on every different area you visit.
When traveling, the best thing to do is to enter as many different hotels and hostels as you can, until you find what type of accommodation is best for you. Each place will have its own style and decoration, which is also good to see, for those who are into art and design. If you’re not happy at a particular hostel and want more privacy, then just start searching for a private room in a hotel. If one hotel or city sucks, then get out and try someplace new. That’s the beauty of being a traveler, we don’t have to stay anywhere that we don’t like, we´re free to move along as we please.
Remember, sometimes the best places to stay aren’t online and are only found by arriving in a new city and exploring different neighborhoods. Observing and getting guidance from the locals will help you to make the right decision.
Cheers and Happy Travels!
Anybody know of any other cool places to stay when visiting a new city? Let us know below in the comment section!