A guide on where to stay and how to book your accommodation abroad.
You’ve got several options to choose from when it comes to deciding what accommodation you prefer to stay at whilst travelling. Chances are that if you are planning a longer adventure, you will possibly stay at every suggested accommodation option. Some will be cool, others not so much, but you will learn something new from each place. After all, it’s part of the experience. Here are some of the options you can consider.
It’s a great option for the travellers, who prefer the comfort of a spacious room and possibly even an option for breakfast. Perhaps this works for short-term travellers, or those, who organize a city break weekend. If you can afford it or you’re travelling in a group of friends or family, there are plenty of hotels to choose from. It’s so easy finding a nice one these days, all you have to do is check recommendations from other travellers or read suggestions from travel magazines and chances are you’ll find your perfect fit. Some hotels have their own charm and if you are after finding a famous one, there are quite a few hotels with history around the globe. The big cities have their own favourites, some have appeared in movies, other are named after loved locations.
Hostels are a preferred choice by many young, ambitious travellers. At first the idea of sharing a room with complete strangers can appear a bit challenging and new, but some of us have become veterans at this with time. The more you stay at hostels, the more comfortable you become with them. In most places, especially in the travel destinations, there are a number of hostels to choose from. When you do this, make sure to check out the reviews first and if you already have mapped your way around the city, see if the location of the accommodation fits your schedule.
As a rule, most hostels are cheap. This is due to the fact that in many places you pay for a single bunk bed and a late-night conversation over a cigarette or a cup of tea with a stranger, who has been backpacking around different continents in the last 18 months. Sometimes hostels are not all pretty and glamorous, but they do make the whole being abroad experience much more authentic. For the roamers who like to backpack or travel without a set arriving goal, hostels are a great place to meet friends and maybe even change the course of your travelling depending on where others are going.
Sharing a room with strangers also means that you need to be much more alert about your belongings and leaving your things when you’re not in the room. For a while they had somewhat of a bad reputation among travellers, but recently most hostels really put effort into making improvements to make sure that travellers enjoy staying there.
Besides making friends, there is another cool feature about booking a hostel – there are different types of them. You can be a part person, who always enjoys a bit of dancing and a fun company or you can be more of a slow nomad who is after a quiet time and a room with more bohemian style where you can get inspired to finally start writing your travel memoir. Whatever your goal, hostels that suit your travel style possibly already exist, you just have to do your digging and find one that suits your style.
When it comes to budgeting, much like with hotels, hostels vary in what they offer. Recently, there have been a lot of boutique hostels, which look so great, you probably wouldn’t have thought to categorise them as such. Pools and spacious gardens are also in the cards depending on what you’re going for so don’t be quick to dismiss the hostel option. You can pick and choose from places that are more expensive and offer more advantages, to smaller rooms that you only intend to come back to at night before you hit the road again in the morning. Before completing your booking, check what the property offers as not all of them will have things like WiFi, laundry and kitchen facilities, lockers available and so on. To find good hostels, you can check the booking websites online, read reviews and dig out some guidebooks for reference if you wish.
Give it a go and see how you feel about it. Hostels might become your favourite new accommodation choice.
There was a time when we perceived this word in one way, today things are different. With the rise of the Airbnb the travelling experiences changed completely. You can be pickier when choosing your place to sleep and make it all part of experiencing locations. From sleeping in a cool little farmhouse to choosing a spacious studio in a cool district or pay for a small apartment with a view, you have more options to choose from. Airbnb is the go-to option for most modern-day travellers. Regardless of whether you’re planning a short break, or a month stay, the options are there for you to pick from.
When you are booking an Airbnb, you need to go through the verification process, which often includes providing an ID identification and links to your social media platforms so that people can get an image about what kind of person you are before renting their place to you. Now, it may feel a little strange for somebody who is staying at an Airbnb for the first time, but it certainly can work a lot cheaper, especially if you aren’t travelling on your own. Much like booking any other sort of accommodation, you need to research the location of it and the recommendations. However, some Airbnb places do discounts on monthly or weekly bases. This is another reason they’ve become so popular with travellers seeking the ultimate nomadic experience.
The flexibility of Airbnb accommodations means that there is a place for people with different travel needs and budget. Do make sure to read the fine print and see if the description matches the check list provided with what you can find in the accommodation. You also need to take into consideration the extra fees that will add up to the final cost of the place before deciding whether you can afford a stay there or not. Depending on how short you are on time, check out the deals of renting an accommodation and combining it with your flight. Deals like this exist because they lower the overall price of your expenses provided that you book a good deal.
Make sure to keep your options open as not everybody will respond to you instantly. You also need to consider the differences between an accommodation of this kind and a hotel as they are quite different. In an Airbnb you will need to clean after yourself. The room is not checked or taken care of by a housekeeper, which also means that your towels and bedding won’t be changed as you might assume.
You need to take care of the place you’re staying at as you leave an impression on the hosts and this makes a difference if you decide to extend your stay or come back to the same place on another trip. Communicating with the host is an important feature and a great way to get to know a destination through the locals. There are several Airbnb apps that you can download and explore the settings so you can pick places and communicate with the hosts easily.
If you need to cancel your reservation, you need to check what are the rules of your chosen accommodation. Usually cancellations are an easy process but sometimes you need to register your intention to cancel 20 – 30 days in advance so be careful with the regulations. If the host cancels your reservation, which doesn’t tend to happen that often, Airbnb has a resolution system that is easy to use you make sure you won’t end up without a place to sleep at night.
A not-so-traditional way to make friends and get to know the area from a unique perspective is couch surfing. While it might sound peculiar to some people, lots of travellers in the travelling community love this way of living. It’s a way to make friends, share experiences and be present.
There is a certain kind of a thrill that the ones with wild hearts will get to experience when planning to go for the couch surfing option. Here’s what makes it so great:
It’s a free to use system
You get to meet new friends and share your travel stories with them
You don’t have to pay the nightly fees of a stay at hotels and hostels
Sometimes there will be a bed, not a couch
Of course, there are things that you need to take into consideration before booking your place on the couch. Think about the location of the house, whether it has good reviews, asses its safety as well. There are no essential things you need to be alerted about, but it’s important to trust your instincts when it comes to choosing the people, whose couch you’ll surf. This is very highly likely to turn into an amazing part of your experience abroad.
There are a few specifics you need to get through first before you secure your place as a “surfer”. As this is a principle where people open their homes for you, it’s important to show your appreciation. Do your bit to show them that you are grateful for their gesture. As you usually will pay a significant less amount of money, you can do something nice for your hosts like help them with their chores around the house and cook a meal. It’s a great way to make a good impression and make some long-lasting friendship with your hosts. It’s a global networking system for travellers if you think about it and a great alternative for those with more bohemian style of visiting new places.
Make sure to set up your profile, which your hosts can review before they give you their couch to sleep on. Be open and honest, show them what kind of person you are. An equal important thing is to keep the communication alive. Email and message them even after you leave, they have likely become your friends by the time you have to pack your bags and leave. Human contact, sharing stories and experiences with others and learning from one another are possibly the greatest sides of travelling – even better than seeing those places you can’t wait to set your foot at. Get to know their culture, maybe even try to learn their language if it’s a one you don’t speak. It’s all part of being a “surfer” in a new city so make sure to make the most of it.
NOMADSofORIGIN is an independent annual publication with a focus on sustainable travelling and global cultural values. Each issue features interviews, engaging articles and photo guides, which take our nomadic readers through different destinations and introduce them to local people's perspectives.
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