The Ins and Outs of Hostels and Room Renting: How to Find Safe and Cheap Accommodations Abroad3 min read
Planning a trip can often feel overwhelming. Whether it’s the struggle of coordinating all the details or stress from all your expenses adding up, you might feel like you could use a vacation from planning your vacation.
Luckily, for many travelers, it’s possible to take some of the stress out of planning by choosing budget-friendly room accommodations like hostels, room rentals or even couches.
Here are tips for navigating hostels and other room renting options.
If you’re thinking of a hostel you’ve seen in a movie when I say the word, stop and get that image out of your head. The hostels of today are nothing like you might have seen on screen. Especially in Europe, where they’re most popular, the hostel industry has exploded in recent years. This has caused many locations to step up their game, and there are now plenty of trendy spots at budget-friendly prices.
If you’re interested in staying in a hostel, start with sites like HostelWorld.com or HostelBookers.com. Each of these sites lets you search by date and location and offers a great level of detail about the choices you’re eyeing.
Check different dates around the time you want to travel, as well as different room characteristics. See what room options are available such as how many other people can stay in the same room or if it’s for single or mixed genders. Playing around with these search categories can help you find the best deals.
It’s pretty simple to use, and I can tell you that Hostel World made life easy on my recent trip to Europe –I used it to find quality hostels in Ireland, Italy, Denmark and Spain.
Room renting might be right for you if you’re looking for a more private option that doesn’t break the bank. This can be a great way to feel more at home while traveling far from home.
Room rentals can be pricier if you’re traveling by yourself. It might put less of a strain on your wallet to split the cost with a friend or a small group you travel with. Searching on sites like Airbnb can also help you find options for renting a single room to an entire house.
I’ve had great experiences using Airbnb. My partner and I stayed in a house in Iceland where we shared the space with other couples who used Airbnb to book the other bedrooms. When I visited Liverpool, England, we were able to rent a flat to ourselves for about a week and a half at a reasonable price.
Also while in Liverpool, our host met with us and offered tips for what we should do around town. That on-the-ground advice really enhanced our experience getting a local perspective on navigating a city we only knew from reading about online.
When booking your room rental, look for reviews from previous guests. Most reviews will include at least a line or two about how the host is with guests and tourists in particular. Finding the right host can be like having a free tour guide with your room.
If you’re looking to save as much dough as you can or want to truly immerse yourself in a local culture, couch surfing might be right for you.
Sites like CouchSurfing.com encourage travelers who want to save money to stay with a local family when hitting the road. Couch Surfing has a multiple step booking process designed to ensure your security. Guests can rate and leave comments on hosts they stay with. Check for listings where the host has a detailed profile and read reviews by people who have stayed with the host before.
Whatever type of hosting experience you’re looking for, don’t wait, find your next room and get exploring!