When you go travelling, you have a lot of choices when it comes to accommodation. What you choose will depend on many factors, including who you’re travelling with, your budget and your desired level of comfort. Even once you’ve picked an accommodation type, you still need to look at ratings for certain establishments, such as the five-star system for hotels. It can be extremely confusing when you’re faced with so many options, so it’s best to know what each of them can do for you before you make your choice. Read this guide to hostels, hotels and holiday homes to figure out which one is right for you.
Hostels and Budget Hotels
Everyone should stay in a hostel at least once in their life if only to figure out if they can survive it. Some people thrive in the environment, which can be noisy and afford you little privacy, but also sociable and fun. It’s also a very cheap way of travelling, which is why it’s the accommodation of choice for backpackers. If you want some privacy and an inexpensive room, most hostels have private rooms, as well as dormitories. Some have kitchens, others have bars or cafes, and many have conveniences such as laundry facilities. But all of them are packed full of other travellers, eager to meet others.
Rented Self-catered Apartment or House
If you value your privacy and aren’t willing to even share a building with other travellers, renting somewhere more private is probably a better option for you. In most cases, this option is a lot more expensive than staying in a hostel, but it gets you your own space. This category encompasses a broad range of accommodations, from the French villas that Quality Villas Ltd provides, to homes on sites like AirBnB. You could get a house with a private pool or a serviced apartment. All the bills are covered, but you’re responsible for feeding yourself and arranging any activities. Usually, you have someone you can contact if you need any help, but for the most part, you’re on your own.
Full-board and All-inclusive Hotel or Resort
Since package holidays became popular a few decades ago, going on vacation has become much more affordable for a lot of people. In a full-board hotel or resort, you get all your meals included in the price, whereas an all-inclusive deal includes drinks too. This can be the cheapest option for many, especially couples and families who want to travel further afield. However, it does mean that you’re limited to the food and drink available in the resort or complex that you stay in. If you want to try elsewhere, you’ll be paying again for your food and beverages. Additionally, some all-inclusive resorts might be far from anywhere else.
If you want to leave yourself with some more options, you can choose to stay in a half-board hotel. Instead of getting all your meals, you get breakfast and dinner included in the price. That leaves you free to find places of your choice for lunch, as well as find nice establishments to have a drink. Some places will let you swap breakfast for lunch too if you’re not a morning person.
Some people don’t want to feel obligated to eat in or near their hotel, so they choose to pay for their room only. This can work out cheaper or more expensive than other options, depending on the calibre of restaurant you elect to frequent. You can still eat at the hotel’s restaurant if they have one, and there will often still be other facilities at the hotel. There could be a gym and spa, workroom, cafe and other services in the hotel you can use although they might cost extra, depending on the rating of the hotel.
Bed and Breakfast and Guesthouses
For something between a hostel and a hotel, you can stay at a B&B or a guest house. These establishments tend to be more intimate than a hotel but afford more privacy and comfort than a hostel. You might find yourself eating or even sharing a bathroom with other guests, but you’ll have your own room. As the name suggests, you’re provided with breakfast, but there’s unlikely to be anywhere you can get your other meals onsite. Most places do provide facilities for making tea and coffee, however, and might even have snacks available.
Own Holiday Home
Those people who have the cash to splash can look into getting their own holiday home. You can do this through a timeshare or buy somewhere independently. If you can afford a second home, there are lots of positives to owning one. When you’re not using it, you can rent it out to others. And when you do go away, you won’t need to pay for your accommodation. But it’s not something that everyone can do, and it can create a lot of work for you.
If you don’t even need the level of comfort that a hostel affords you, camping can be an extremely inexpensive way of travelling. If you have all the right equipment, pitching up at any number of campsites all over the world can be very cheap. In some countries, such as Sweden, you can even pitch your tent wherever you want, for free. Of course, if you need a bit more than an ordinary tent, there are always caravans and motorhomes. Then there’s “glamping”, camping’s more glamorous cousin. You can stay in temperature-controlled yurts, teepees and huts, complete with beds and other conveniences.
If all of these options sound boring, there are plenty of more exciting places to stay all over the world. You can stay in an ice hotel in Lapland, a Riad in Morocco or a treehouse in Costa Rica. There are many fun places to visit, whether you’re happy to sleep on a camping mat or you need a higher level of luxury. Just open your mind to the possibilities, and you’ll find adventure wherever you go.